The following is an excerpt from PETER SCHWARTZSTEIN | August 9, 2017 | Newsweek.com |
It’s been 12 years since Omar Hassan Majed fled Baghdad, but it sometimes feels as if he never left home.
Hustling from room to room at his oncology clinic in Amman, Jordan, he jokes with the Iraqi nursing staff and drinks tea with the resident anesthesiologist, a childhood friend. And many of his patients are Iraqis. By the time he stops for dinner at an Iraqi grill—at the corner of Mosul and Basra streets—he’s gone hours without seeing a Jordanian.
“It sounds bizarre, I know, but there are so many Iraqi doctors here,” Majed says. “It makes me wonder if there are any still in Iraq.”
Since the 2003 U.S. invasion, Baghdad’s intellectual and cultural elite has left its turbulent homeland, fleeing violence, persecution and an economy with fewer and fewer good jobs. Tens of thousands have moved to the U.S., where many have enjoyed considerable success. Over half a million others—including many of the country’s most educated people—have moved elsewhere in the Middle East. And their numbers have increased since the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) conquered up to 40 percent of the country in 2014.
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