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Because Each Life Is Precious: Why an Iraqi Man Came to Risk Everything for Private Jessica Lynch Hardcover – October 17, 2003
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
“Genuinely riveting.” (Newsweek)
“A remarkable story.” (Wall Street Journal)
About the Author
Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaif is a 33-year-old Iraqi attorney who plunged into the middle of the biggest story of the recent war in Iraq: the rescue of Pvt. Jessica Lynch. Granted asylum in the U.S. in April for his extraordinary act of courage, Mohammed is now employed by The Livingston Group, a lobbying firm in Washington, DC. He resides outside the city with his wife, Iman, and their six-year-old daughter, Abir.
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In addition to giving us the details of Mr. al-Rehaief's part in saving Jessica Lynch, a story that has all in's and out's of any first-rate suspense novel, roughly a third of the book is about the author's life before Jessica Lynch--his childhood, adolescence, marriage, his hatred of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. "In adolescence I grew more subversive. I'd make fun of Saddam's crooked mouth, mimicking him before my friends. Or we'd find an empty classroom at recess, load spitballs onto rubber bands, and fire away at the president's picture." Always known as a "long tongue," the author was always getting both himself and his family in trouble. A thirty-three-year-old Shiite from Nasiriya, Mr. al-Rehaief is an expert in kung fu, a skill that saved his life on more than one occasion. Though trained a a lawyer he no longer practiced as he says in a country where there is no law. Although from an affluent family, the author learned early on from his beloved father that "there is no shame in being poor" and "each life is precious." Mr. al-Rehaief is a very fluent storyteller with a good sense of humor. While a Muslim, he is not a fanatical fundamentalist and admits that he has never been able to fast an entire month for Ramadan. In a word, he's someone you'd want to invite to a dinner party.
Mr. al-Rehaief, now in the United States with his wife and his daughter, whose hospitalization in Iraq is just one of the many horric experiences he describes, says that when he made the decision to live in the U. S., he felt as if he were "going home." And finally in this decent and good man's own words: "I read everything I can about Jessica's progress. When the hospital released her to her home in West Virginia, I felt like we had won all over again. More than anything, I wish her a full and happy life. . . Finally, I regret nothing. I would risk it all again to help her, without thinking twice."
Welcome home, Mr. al-Hehaief.
It's an adventure story, history, humor, sociology, a spiritual journey, and a patriotic work all together (it'll make you proud to be an American).
Mr. Al-Rehaief has done more single-handedly to redeem the Arab culture than all of the rest combined.
Update: On April 29, 2003, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced that Mohammed Odeh al Rehaief, his wife, and their 5-year-old daughter had been granted humanitarian asylum in the USA.
Said Lynch's father: "The man is an angel."