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Hugh and the Iraqi matchmaker.

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Eddie Mair | 16:56 UK time, Tuesday, 29 September 2009

He writes: "After six years of violence, Iraq has an estimated one million widows, with seven million children without fathers.There is still some conservative religious resistance to widows getting married again. Under Saddam Hussein, Iran-Iraq War widows received a pension, and often free homes. This helped them remain independent. But that safety net has disappeared.

Hanaa Edwar, an Iraqi women's rights activist. She questions the assumption that widows would be better off re-marrying.

Hana Badrani, at the Ethar Foundation in Baghdad. It supports widows and their children - and helps find them new husbands.

Roba, aged 7, listening to her own voice on my sound recorder. Her father - a policemen - had been shot dead three days earlier. When she was told it was time to go home, her delight turned to intense, violent distress. A year later, I gave her a copy of this photo - the delight re-appeared on her face.

A happy Baghdad scene (below). This week I met a widow who told me that sometimes, when their children meet a man they've never even met before, they want him to give them a hug.

Two years ago, I met a woman and her 3-year-old daughter Sara. Her mother told me about her husband - shot dead at random in the street.
After her Mum had finished telling her story, Sara looked up at me and said, "Please stay with us"."


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