Paul Batou

About the Author
Paul Batou, a native Iraqi artist, received a degree in pharmacy in 1982 from the University of Baghdad. While in school, Paul worked and was inspired by many teachers and artists studying at the University. In 1980, he had his first art show in Baghdad. During his years spent in Baghdad, Paul placed his art in several galleries, learned to play the guitar, and was forced into service during the Iraq-Iran war as a medic. In 1989, he fled Iraq with his family and moved to Los Angeles. In the United States, Paul continues to create art and write poems that inspire all those close to him.

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Baghdad Morning in New York (10/18/07)
I am a native Iraqi "Assyrian-Chaldean." This poem is from my book "MY LAST THOUGHTS ABOUT IRAQ."

My village was burned in 1961 with an act they called "Ethnic Cleansing." I was two years old at that time when both my father and mother witnessed the event. There will always be that clear picture of us running and hiding to survive etched into our memories. Eventually, my parents sent us to the west to live among Christian in peace and freedom.

As we all know, 9/11 continues to be a huge threat to our freedom. I was watching the news in California that morning with my mother; I told her in Aramaic, "See what the Islamist radicals did to our city!" She looked at me for a moment and said, "They have followed us to our new home." For her, my reply was a poem called "Baghdad Morning in New York," to honor all those who died in that event, all who sacrificed their lives to save others, and everyone who continues to rebuild our country after that event.

Finally, I wrote that poem to honor all the Iraqi Christians who are dying in Iraq today because of their beliefs as well as all those who escape their homelands searching for peace.
At eyeshot,
Such threads of gloomy fog
in a coal black sky.
They claim to be God's knights