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Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani Makes Appearance on CNN

CNN anchorwoman interviews Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani, left.

July 15, 2004 — A partial transcript of the CNN Interview with Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani which aired on Tuesday afternoon, July 13, follows.

CNN: From dictatorship to war. Iraq has had its share of misery. Now one Iraqi born professor in the United States is trying to improve life in his homeland by sending the gift of knowledge. The doctor teaches biology at Alabama's Jacksonville State University. He joins me now to talk about his effort. What a pleasure to have you here.

Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani: Pleasure all mine, thank you.

CNN: Let's talk about first why you came to the U.S. back in the '70s.

Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani: I came for my graduate education. My B.S. was from Baghdad University. I came to finish my Ph.D. and I went to Oklahoma State University. So I got my Ph.D. in '88.

CNN: Something very interesting happened while you were here. A man by the name of Saddam Hussein came into power and you said -- I don't think I'll be going back to Iraq?

Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani: No, no. As a matter of fact, the day I left he assassinated my second cousin. He was in the government and he claimed -- he justified his action. But we are still in pain for his loss. Yes, I decide I will not go to Saddam's -- if he is in power. And so far we got rid of him, thank God. We believe -- we feel very good about that.

CNN: You stayed here in the United States. You got married. You had a family.

Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani: Yes ma'am.

CNN: You have been talking about your family. Wonderful family, that is. But you still kept in touch with your family in Iraq. What was life -- I mean you talked about your relatives being assassinated. It must have been a difficult time all these years. Here you are in the United States. What was your family telling you about life under Saddam?

Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani: It is miserable life. There is no future. He block every avenue for success of the individual. He control everything. There is no room to improve. From the education to health, and time for him to go. I'm glad what happened. We got rid of him.

CNN: You were in the United States of course, getting a chance to have an education. You now have a Ph.D. You are teaching biology. The students love you from what I hear.

Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani: Thank you.

CNN: You decided to give back. You saw what happened to the library at the Baghdad University. Tell me what you decided to do.

Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani: Well when I saw after the conclusion of the ground war we lost a lot of libraries and I know the fact before that, Iraq was suffering from a lack of material, textbook material, because I was in Jordan in 2001 . . .

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