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Iraq: On the Road to Karbala

By Jane ArrafCorrespondent / February 17, 2009



Reporters on the Job: This might just be the best job in the world. Reporters in the field tend to think that. I certainly felt it during the past few days as I witnessed Sunnis helping Shiites (read the Monitor's story here), and asked dozens of strangers what they were praying for in their pilgrimage to Karbala, Iraq.

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It was extraordinary to think of millions of Iraqis, with millions of prayers articulating what they most wanted and needed or were most grateful for in their lives.

There was the woman who dreamed of teaching information technology but had to settle for home economics in a girl’s school because she was in a wheel-chair. There was the young man who had just graduated with a science degree who needed a job and his brother-in-law who was grateful that his wife had survived cancer. There was the middle-aged woman who had never married because she stayed home to take care of her mother. She’s now praying to find a husband to protect her.

Each with a different prayer but all united in their belief that if they suffered and sacrificed – and walked through bombs if need be – their prayers would be closer to being answered.

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