Living With Fear - And Without Necessities

For many middle cass families in Iraq, water and electricity are luxuries that are all too rare.
It's hard to envision a better Iraq when a good day simply means the kitchen faucet turns on.

For Majida, her husband Salah and their three children, running water and electricity are luxuries that are all too rare, reports CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Katie Couric.

"You know water is everything. You need it," Majida says.

"Yesterday, we didn't have a drop of water," says Salah, who adds that the family sometimes goes days without it.

When the water comes, it's often contaminated. It made their baby son sick twice.

"We are living like before 100 years," Majida says.

They say the fear they live with every day will only get worse if U.S. troops leave because terrorists will step up their attacks.

"I think they will kill all the people," Majida says. "I can't stay home alone. Maybe they will kill me."

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This is life for Iraq's well-educated middle class. Majida worked as a veterinarian and Salah is a reporter on Baghdad radio. But because journalists are targets, he tells his neighbors he works for a computer company. Regardless, the money he earns isn't enough for his family to follow the tens of thousands of fellow Iraqis who are fleeing every month.

Salah says he stays in Iraq because if he leaves, he will have no money and he is afraid that he wouldn't get another job.

"I'm very stuck," Salah says. "If I had enough money, tomorrow, I'd get my family out of Iraq."

Instead, they're in their four-room Baghdad apartment - which, without air conditioning, is no sanctuary from the sweltering, triple-digit heat. But they don't dare allow their two older boys, Ali and Sha'ab, to go outside.

"We have kidnappings," Majida says, "and they want money to pay ... lots of money in dollars [for the children]. We can't let them go out."

Majida says terrorists target Americans in particular and any Iraqis who deal with them. She says if insurgents found out they were doing this interview, they would be beheaded.

Majida says they are willing to talk to CBS News because they want other people to know how people in Iraq live.

"We are good people, and we want our children to live in peace," Majida says.

Towards the end of our visit, the electricity randomly comes on, which seems to temporarily brighten their spirits. Like so many Iraqi families, they are making do. They live day to day for their family, including baby Aman - whose name means peace and security, which at this point, is all they can hope for.

"We left our dreams because now we can't do anything," Majida says. "Only survive."