Appreciative Reflection – Writer, Radio Host, and Blogger
Ayad Rahim and I met in a Middle Eastern history course at Ohio University in Athens. At
the time, I was married to a Palestinian man and wanted to know more about the culture.
Ayad migrated from Baghdad to Cleveland in 1971 at the age of nine. As Clevelanders, we
had a lot in common. We bonded over coffee and have been friends for 25 years. He
studied history and political science as an undergrad, and journalism in graduate school.
Ayad assisted author Kanan Maklya on his book Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny,
Uprising and the Arab World (1993). It was a groundbreaking book, which juxtaposed the
cruelties in Iraq and the Arab world, against the reactions of Arab intellectuals -- essentially,
their silence to those cruelties, thus acquiescing to them. He contributed to the book Iraq
Since the Gulf War: Prospects for Democracy (1994) and the report Crimes Against
Humanity: The Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy in Iraq. In addition, Ayad was
research coordinator at Harvard’s Iraq Research and Documentation Project for four years.
He’s also published work in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston
Globe, London Guardian, and Jewish Quarterly while writing extensively about the Middle
One can get a sense of Ayad by viewing a video of him as a panelist at Case Western
Reserve University Law School where he is providing powerful, candid personal context
about the atrocities committed against Iraqis and the subsequent media coverage of the
trial of Saddam Hussein, after his ouster from power. The video is lengthy, but worthwhile
to hear Ayad passionately exposing the brutality of Saddam Hussein -- from chemical
warfare cocktails to ecocide. Click the following link to watch the panel video (September
2009, featured 9:07 minutes in) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcLrxBBHUoA).
Ayad discusses his freelancing arrangement with The New York Times blog “Day to Day in
Iraq” (2006). He notes, “I was one of four participants. That blog was because I went to
Baghdad for six months in ’04 and ’05 and I had a blog going called ‘Live from Baghdad.’
The only thing we lined up before were reports for the Fox affiliate in Cleveland. I was doing
them weekly. They paid $200 each time. I was doing five-, 10-minute reports for them by