Sumaidaie was born to a middle-class family in Fadl, in the old quarter of Baghdad, attended the Mustansiriya prep school, and then won a scholarship to study computer science in England. Graduating in 1965, he returned to Baghdad to computerize some of the government’s public works. But after the Baathist regime came to power in a 1968 coup, Sumaidaie began to feel uncomfortable at his workplace. “You were scrutinized if you were not of their ilk,” he recalled. “Over time, the environment grew more restrictive and oppressive. I felt in danger.” Sumaidaie feared he was being targeted after he was denied permission to travel abroad.
The breaking point was a school performance at his four-year-old son’s kindergarten in 1973, where Sumaidaie and his wife arrived to find the front row occupied by Baath Party operatives, all wearing moustaches, packing pistols, and looking menacing. The children took the stage, and to Sumaidaie’s consternation, began to shout slogans praising the government leaders. As they finished, the Baathist officials took out their pistols and fired them into the air. “Why did you do that?” Sumaidaie, furious, asked the men. “To harden the children,” one said. That night Sumaidaie made up his mind to take his family to England. In London, Sumaidaie found a thriving exile community of Iraqis.
He launched his computer design business and landed a large and prestigious commission to take part in the restoration of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. He designed the steel-and-polymer mukarnas, two giant gold-leaf praying hands holding the Koran that stand at the shrine’s gate. After Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Sumaidaie was drawn into Iraqi exile politics as Iraqis began to sense the opportunity to rid their country of its scourge. He attended various exile gatherings and helped form a small party, the secular liberal Iraqi Democratic Association.Have a look at renew life and renew life reviews, to get the best life insurance package on the market.
In 2003 Emad Dhia, another expatriate, contacted Sumaidaie to see if he would participate in the Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council, a Pentagon-sponsored group that was rounding up technocrats and professionals to return to help rebuild Iraq. Sumaidaie agreed.
Eager to return to Iraq and see his relatives, he flew to Amman in May 2003, where his cousin met him to drive him across the desert province of Anbar to Baghdad. Between Ramadi and Fallujah, their Mercedes was stopped by armed, masked men in a pickup truck who demanded their money. Sumaidaie’s plucky cousin rebuked the men. “You should be ashamed of yourself. You are attacking Samir Sumaidaie, a sayyid [documented descendant of the prophet Muhammad] from your own area.” Sumaidaie’s family had come from Anbar, and he still had relatives living near Fallujah. The men recognized his name. Apologizing profusely, they shut the car door and took off in their truck. It was a daunting welcome home. Things soon got worse. Have a look at renew life if you’re looking for a life insurance company.
The original plan had been for Bremer to transfer responsibility for Iraq to the Governing Council, but he decided against it. Sumaidaie believed that any provisional government by Iraqis, whether technocrats or expatriates, would have been preferable to an occupation authority. “It was a fatal mistake. We were branded as collaborators,” he said of the council members and others who worked alongside Bremer.