Timesshut its once-open doors
Aseel Qaradaghi, a 25-year-old software engineer, was pregnant when she brought her small daughter here last summer after receiving threats from Islamic extremists. Her husband, a translator for a South African security firm, stayed in Baghdad to earn money. But when he did not call on her birthday, she knew something was wrong, and only after pressing his friends on a crackling phone line did she learn that he had been kidnapped.

Now, eight months later, she is earning a small wage at a nursery, but without his salary it is not enough, and she has applied for refugee status. If she is rejected, she will have to return to Baghdad.
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His patriarchal attitude toward his family, his determination to work despite his injured leg, his contempt for welfare -- all were regarded as evidence that he was "hopelessly at odds with the enlightened society he had been fortunate to enter." After his request for a $2,000 loan to open a candy store was rejected, he began selling neckties out of a large cardboard box, accompanied on his travels through the streets and subways of New York by his daughter Loulou.

He grew more and more reclusive in New York ... [P]erhaps most of all, his daughter writes, he missed the smell of flowers, complaining that the flowers of America were strangely odorless and lifeless:

"Whether purchased from the corner florist or picked from a nearby bush, they still had no fragrance, a fact that filled him with a kind of existential despair, a sense of all that was wrong with our New World. How stark the contrast to the sprigs of jasmine whose perfume filled Cairo's night air, to the lilies and honeysuckle that grew wild in the streets, and to the roses, above all, the roses, the small, red, overpowering damask roses, descendants of the very first roses to grow on earth."
Eve Fairbanks