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Falafel king hails deposition

No celebration banners are flying at the Falafel King counter inside the Winter Street Food Court. No extra signs have been posted, no special deals on falafels featured. Business is going on as usual.

 

But since last Sunday's news of Saddam Hussein's capture, everything has changed for owner Kadhim Alzubaidy.

"Everything's over," he said. "I am happy here, but 24 hours a day, Iraq is on my mind. Now we move on and we're going to have a wonderful life. Iraqis and Americans working together."

Alzubaidy, 35, an Iraqi immigrant, was in line at a Dunkin' Donuts in Rhode Island when he first saw the tattered images of the man who forced him from his country in 1991. After a loud celebration in the store, Kadhim dropped off coffee to his girlfriend and raced straight to Boston to celebrate Hussein's capture with his two brothers.

Kadhim knew from a visit home in August as well as through frequent phone calls to family and friends in Iraq that the uncertainty of Hussein's fate added a troubling caveat to April's fall of Baghdad.

Last month, when Alzubaidy bought tickets to return home to Iraq this Friday, his mother tried not to let on that she was nervous to have him in Iraq, where Saddam could return at any moment.

It wasn't until his jubilant call to her last Sunday that she admitted that only now, with the threat of Hussein's return really gone, could her son's visit be a complete celebration.

Besides the relief for his friends and family in Iraq, Kadhim says that watching Sunday's events unfold has lifted something from his shoulders and made him feel safer than he has during his previous nine years in Boston.

After a trip home in August, Kadhim said he had returned from a different Iraq then the one he had left years before, but people still worried about the return of their deposed leader.

On Friday, when Kadhim begins his month-long vacation to his hometown right outside Najaf, he will be entering yet another Iraq -- one that is absolutely free from the shadow of Saddam Hussein.

While Kadim is away, his brothers will keep the Falafel King going

CHRISTOPHER JANIEC

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