The region of Kurdistan covers portions of four different countries; Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq and its population is just under thirty million - making it the largest single ethic group in the world that doesn't have its own state.
Ayub Nuri is a Kurd, born and raised in Halabja - a town in Iraq that is very close to the border with Iran. Halabja means "the wrong place" and in the eighties it was. In fact, it was one of the most dangerous places on the planet. The Iran-Iraq War killed and injured hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians. Young Ayub Nuri did not escape the violence.
"When I was four years old, in 1983, an artillery shell landed near my family's farm. One piece of shrapnel destroyed my right knee. One piece hit my grandmother - she died six months later. So I was a victim of Saddam Hussein's brutality and belligerence."
On March 1988 Saddam Hussein ordered Iraqi planes to drop gas canisters on the town of Halabja. Five thousand Kurdish-Iraqi citizens died in the chemical attack. It's not surprising that in 2003 - Ayub Nuri, then twenty-four years old - welcomed George Bush's Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"We believed that Iraq would become like an American colony - the 51st state of the United States.That was my expectation."
Ayub, who taught himself English, became a translator for many of the international journalists who travelled to Iraq.
"The beginning of the Iraq war was the beginning of my journalism career. When I started as a translator, hanging out with so many journalists, I began buying my own satellite phone and a computer and writing - doing what they did."
Ayub became a successful freelance reporter. In 2006, he received a scholarship to study journalism at Columbia University in New York city. He later moved to Toronto where he taught Middle Eastern Affairs at George Brown College.
See Ayub Nuri talk about his experiences in the war.
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