Coastal Empire Man Lived Under Saddam's Reign

Now that Saddam Hussein is in custody, many Iraqis are celebrating, especially those who live right here in the Coastal Empire. Asad Gozeh lived under Saddam's brutal reign for more than 30 years. He even survived several gas attacks. This morning, he woke to the exciting news of Saddam Hussein's capture. He says it's been a day he's waited for ever since he was a small child.

"I have few friends left that I can share the memories with. It was a tough life to be in the mountains and fighting Saddam for 10 years," said Gozeh.

Gozeh was born in Northern Iraq. He was a young boy when Saddam took power and remembers the horror of seeing his friends and members of his family die from the chemicals Saddam and his loyalists inflicted. "I've personally suffered seven direct attacks from him," explained Gozeh. "I'm going to live with the symptoms of gas for the rest of my life."

After he was evacuated to the United States by American troops, the capture of the brutal dictator was something Asad had been dreaming about for years. He says he sympathizes with many American families who have loved ones in the country he used to call home. "Every mother, every father, every brother and sister was worried that one day they knock on the door and your loved one will be taken away and you'll never see them again, so the American family saw a little bit of what the Iraqis have been through over the past 35 years."

Even thought Asad says it will take years for Iraq and it's people to heal from the wounds inflicted by Saddam, he says this has been a nightmare his people can finally wake up from. "He's alive still and he will see that everything he built will be destroyed and dismantled and their will be a new peaceful Iraq."

Asad Gozeh works at Fort Stewart as a civilian. He has helped teach soldiers Arabic and cultural skills to try to develop better communication between troops and the Iraqi people.

To learn more about Asad Gozeh's experiences in Iraq, view his articles with the Kurdish media.

Reported by Nicole Teigen,