Amid bombings, Iraqi family celebrates a wedding and good grades
The Methboub family, which the Monitor has followed for a decade, has reasons for hope after dark days during which a son was wrongly imprisoned and a daughter's marriage collapsed.
They don't need to turn on the TV or walk down the rickety narrow staircase of their modest Baghdad apartment to learn the news: Car bombs have been exploding in this family's district of Baghdad again, their percussions felt everywhere.Skip to next paragraph
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Yet behind their apartment's battered metal door – its paint worn off, and peppered with screw holes from cheap latches and locks that have failed – the family of widow Karima Selman Methboub has reasons to celebrate.
Through nearly eight years of American occupation, insurgency, civil war, and, before that, Saddam Hussein's oppressive rule, all eight children have survived.
IN PICTURES – The Methboubs: An Iraqi family through the war years
Dramas have at times been acute, of course, as the Monitor has recorded since it first met the Methboubs in late 2002. Among them are a son who was wrongly imprisoned and tortured for 2-1/2 years and a daughter whose marriage ended in abuse and divorce.
"Every day I thank God to be released from all these problems," says Mrs. Methboub, the devout Shiite matriarch who has shepherded her family since her husband died in a 1990s car accident.
A wedding this week
Like so many Iraqis, Methboub has done so with grace, laughter, and a steadfast determination not to let the chaos outside get the better of her struggling family.
So today there are many reasons to hope, from promising educations for three daughters to decent jobs for her sons.
That renewal may best be symbolized by the room they repainted and prepared for oldest son Mohamed and his bride-to-be, who were wed on March 22.
It is a sanctuary with a carved wooden bedroom set – made in China – with matching chests of drawers, a tall wardrobe, and an expansive mirror.
Methboub, who is now sharing her bedroom with three daughters to make room for the new couple, shows it off proudly.
Two daughters at university
They huddle around a gas heater in the living room, where the fabric of this family has been tightly woven through shared challenges and a biting humor.
Daughter Hibba is bursting to talk about her studies at the University of Baghdad. She misses high school but enjoys playing basketball and studying psychology.
"I am happy now, and dream of when I graduate to be a psychologist's assistant," Hibba says.
Why psychology? "It's very good to know the personality of people."
That earnest answer is too much for older sister Fatima, who snidely interrupts: "You should understand your own personality first!"
Fatima's sharp-tongued ways mark a rebound from the tough days after her marriage fell apart a couple of years ago, but Methboub steps in to stop the squabbling.
"She's too smart," the mother says of Hibba, who is held up as an example for her young cousins. Hibba gives a telling look to the needling Fatima, and says the important thing is understanding behavior.
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