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Surviving Saddam

Bnar Talabani is the President of Cardiff University MedSoc. She was born into a Kurdish family in Kirkuk.

Read her story here:

“I have always been honest about my past, and whatever the audience, my story has always been well received. Britain is my home – it’s where I grew up. Although Kurdistan has played a huge part in my life and I love going back to see my father and our old home, my true home is here in the UK.”

When Bnar heard that the US was set to invade Iraq in 2003, she remembers having mixed feelings: whilst hopeful that Saddam could finally be removed, she was naturally also concerned about her family who still lived there.

“The fall of Saddam was something my family had always dreamed of, and having been through so much, the prospect of realising this dream made us so happy.

“I can’t convey in words the gratitude that I feel towards each and every soldier that has fought, or is currently fighting, in Iraq, especially those who have given their lives,” Bnar says.

While she speaks enthusiastically about the British soldiers, Bnar has clearly lost a lot of faith in the British press as a result of their coverage of events since the invasion. She remembers, with evident anger, their reporting of Saddam’s execution in 2006.

“He was portrayed as a victim when, believe me, he was anything but a victim. His trial was probably the fairest Iraq has ever seen: during his regime, trials were unheard of, and those held were inevitably flawed.

“The frightening thing is, living here in the UK and being subjected to such sympathetic media coverage, I think I’d be inclined to feel sorry for him if I hadn’t witnessed first-hand what he was capable of. He was portrayed as a martyr, which really disappointed me.”

When she graduates, Bnar hopes to give something back to her birth-country by setting up better links between the UK and Iraqi healthcare systems.