After fleeing Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Dlawer Ala'Aldeen, has used his position as a doctor to help other Kurdish people. Rusheng Chew speaks to him about his commitment to human rights
To all extents, Dlawer (Del) Ala'Aldeen seems like your stereotypical academic--unassuming, keen on his research, and a string of letters after his name. But there is more than meets the eye to this 42 year old professor of clinical microbiology at Nottingham University.
Del is an Iraqi Kurd, which is the reason for many of the major choices he has had to make. Until not so long ago, the now deposed president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was engaged in “systematic genocide of the Kurdish people, as well as wanton denials of human rights in Iraq,” as Del puts it.
Military service was compulsory for Iraqi youth. Back in 1984 this meant only two choices for the newly graduated pro-human rights doctor from the University of Al-Mustansiryia: “Either I joined the army, in which case I would have had to fight against my own people, or I left.” Del chose the