Heartland Iraqi-American Watches Saddam's Regime Crumble

Heartland Iraqi-AmericanNative Watches Saddam's Regime Crumble
By: Wes Wallace

Salah Shakir (rhymes with 'shocker') hasn't lived in Baghdad for years, but he makes frequent trips there to visit his family. The Iraqi native now lives in Southern Illinois and is the Dean of Information Technology at Rend Lake College.

After seeing the people of Baghdad topple a prominent statue of Saddam Hussein, Shakir shares their enthusiasm for freedom. "Today is a new start for Iraq, and seeing them free, doing what they wanted to do, it's exciting," he says.

Shakir and his wife both have close family who live near recent targets of allied bombing. Shakir says his family lives three blocks from a military complex, and his wife's relatives are very close to the building that was destroyed, where Saddam was thought to have been hiding.

Restoring electricity, beginning reconstruction, and starting a new government are all things that Shakir says need to happen sooner than later. He also adds, "Most people in Iraq hope Saddam is alive, so they can watch what happens to him once he's found."