The Prospect Interview #144: I was Saddam’s prisoner
A personal story of identity, family, and narrowly avoiding disaster
In 1990, when he was just nine years old, Prospect’s Sameer Rahim joined his parents and sister for a holiday to Iraq. A family summer trip quickly turned into an international diplomatic fiasco. As Saddam Hussein was then facing international condemnation for the Kuwait War, Sameer and his family were taken as so-called “human-shield hostages”: Britons kept within Iraq as bargaining chips. In a personal essay for the current issue of Prospect, Sameer remembers his time cooped up in a Baghdad hotel—and reflects on what the experience has taught him about the many sides of national identity.
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