Full Circle- Escape from Baghdad and the Return
Saul Silas Fathi
|About the Author||
Mr. Fathi was born to a prominent Jewish family in Baghdad, Iraq,on May 8, 1938. At age 10 he escaped from Baghdad through Iran and eventually reached the state of Israel. There he lived from 1948 to 1958, first in Kibbutz Ma'Anit, then in Rehovoth, Israel. He enrolled at the Israel Airforce Academy of Aeronautics, a 4-year program, where he earned his high-school diploma and learned a profession. He began writing a diary at age 11. In 1958 he left Israel and worked his way to Brazil, were he lived for two years and worked as electrician. Within six months Mr. Fathi had his own multi-employee business. In 1960 he came to the US on a student exchange visa to Columbia University. In the evenings, he attended the New School of Social Studies for American history and public speaking and studied sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
After 8 months in New York, that same year, Mr. Fathi volunteered to serve in the US Army for three years; having been promised a college education and US citizenship at the conclusion of his duties. After Basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia, he was sent to helicopter school at Fort Bragg, NC and had enrolled at the University Of Virginia. Within a few months Mr. Fathi received orders to report to Oakland ,CA; he was en route to service in the Far-East, specifically in South Korea. There he remained for a period of 16 months as chief electrical technician with the 1st Cavalry Division, 15th Aviation Company. The Division was later ordered to Vietnam; (eventually sustaining nearly 80% casualty levels); he was sent back to the US. Mr. Fathi studied for his exams at the University Of Virginia, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree for electrical engineering.
There followed an impressive career with several major companies, including three fortune-500's as high-level executive in high-tech enterprises. Later he founded and managed three high-tech companies over a 20-year period, with moderate success, one of which was acquired by a publicly-traded company. Mr. Fathi retired in 2003 and began writing his autobiography following his mother's accidental death in Israel.
Mr. Fathi lives in Long Island, New York, with his wife Rachelle. He has three US-born daughters, Suzanne, Sandra and Sharon, and one granddaughter, Danielle.
|Publisher||Xlibris Corporation (January 30, 2006)|
|Number of Pages||
I was born in Baghdad, Iraq on May 8th, 1938 to a prominent Jewish family. My father, having won a scholarship from the Iraqi government (then controlled by the British), was sent to Bombay University, India, to study civil engineering.
Upon completion of a 5-year program, he returned to Basra (Iraq) and worked on the development of the Iraqi railroad system. He met my mother on her visit to her brother (who worked for my father), and was married within six months.
Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to head the railroad system in Iraq and was moved to Baghdad. We lived in an opulent section of Baghdad, on the same street where two of Iraq's most recent Prime Ministers lived. We grew up playing with their children.
Then came World-War II. The Pro-Nazi opposition attempted a coup of the government, which brought back the British Army to suppress it. In the meantime, to placate the populace and induce them to join in the revolt, the leaders encouraged a three-day free-for-all looting and rampage, and anything they could do to Jews, Christians and Kurds, including killing and hanging.
Then came the formation of the Jewish state, Israel, in Palestine in 1948 (the British having withdrawn from Palestine) and the subsequent attack in an effort to eradicate the Jewish settlers and regain control of Palestine. The Arabs were defeated and the state of Israel came into being.
Among the defeated Arab forces were the Iraqi army (which never signed the U.N. sanctioned armistice agreement), and returned to Iraq humiliated. Again, they took their wrath on the minority population of Iraq, especially the Jews, accusing them of aiding and spying for Israel. More public hanging followed, which I witnessed at age 10. On that "subversive" list, were all the wealthy and prominent Jews of Iraq (who trace their roots to the Roman expulsion form their homeland some 2,500 years earlier). On that list, my father's name eventually appeared.
A while later, my father contacted the Zionist Underground Organization and arranged for me and my younger brother, Yeftah, to be smuggled out of Iraq. Much intrigue and many months later, we crossed by boat and on foot into Iran (which was sympathetic with the state of Israel and the plight of the Jews) and ended up in a 'concentration camp' in Tehran, Iran, where children from around the world, but particularly from Europe, were concentrated, and later air lifted to Israel. We lived in a kibbutz. For a period of 2 years, we were separated from our parents. They didn't know whether we survived the journey; (nor did we know if our family survived).
After living in Israel for approximately 10 years, I left (1958) on 'a short vacation' and ended up in Brazil, where I lived for 2 years. I then came to the U.S. (1960) on a student visa, attended Columbia University and classes at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Eight months later, having run-out of money, I joined the U.S. Army. Six months later I was sent to Korea to serve with the 1st Cavalry Division (1960-63). This was Kennedy time. Later, Johnson ordered the 1st Cavalry to Vietnam, where it sustained nearly 80% casualties. As far as I know, I am left with only one army buddy (John H. Stacy, Oklahoma). (The movie Apocalypse Now, starring Marlon Brando, depicted that division.
There followed approximately 35 years of working in the U.S., marriage, three daughters, and a grandchild. Then came the September 11, 2001 terror act against the United States. I applied and volunteered to work for the F.B.I. (counter-terrorism) and have since retired. Someday, I intend to return/visit Baghdad, and see what has transpired since I left 55 years ago. So far I am unable to obtain a visit visa to Baghdad.
My book, the Return to Baghdad chronicles my journey from birth until today. The last chapter of the journey will circle back to my roots and cover my return to Baghdad (real or imaginary), visiting places, taking hundreds of photos and searching for my birthplace. It will end in one of these scenarios:
1. A successful visit to Baghdad and return to the U.S. 2. Deciding to stay, live and die (of old age) in Baghdad. 3. I get caught and accused of spying for the U.S. and Israel, and get executed by a firing squad, (assuming Iraq gains its
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|Author Contact Information||
Saul Silas Fathi 27 Broadlawn Drive, Central Islip, NY 11722, Tel (631)-232-1638
|Award for Mr.Fathi||http://militarywriters.com/awards.htm|
|Review by William H McDonald||
You will never in your life read another book quite like
this one, by Jewish author and US Army veteran, Saul Silas Fathi. His
autobiography, "Full Circle - Escape from Baghdad and the Return" takes the
reader to places and events that one may only get to know about from small
glimpses on The History Channel or in some old National Geographic Magazines.
This guy has lived a life that would make a great movie.
He was born into a well to do Jewish family in Baghdad in 1938, which in that part of the world presented some very real dangers. The book shares with us his early years and how he was smuggled out of Iraq at 10 years of age and eventually ended up in Israel. He studied at the Israel Air Force Academy of Aeronautics and then worked his way to South America. This long out of the way journey eventually takes the author to New York to study where he ends up joining the US Army and was shipped off to Korea to join up with the First Cavalry Division. The book goes on to chronicle his exploits and personal adventures including becoming a top level executive for several large high-tech companies.
His book deals with having his family being falsely accused of treason against the Iraqi government and of being labeled a Zionist and Communist. Those labels alone were more than enough to cause them to be concerned for their safety, in addition to just being a Jew in a Muslim country.
This book deals with the hardships and persecution that this Jewish man faced in his lifetime. In the face of all that the author lived through and what he learned about life, his personal outlook and drive to succeed are a real tribute to his inner strength and character. Reading this book will inspire you and entertain you as well. The author has lived a full life and his book allows you to experience it through his memories.
2005 Distinguished Honor Award!