On Marienstrasse Summary

After evening prayers one cold, rainy night, an older man and a younger man stand in the doorway. Hammad blows on his cupped hands for warmth, watches a woman bicycling by, and prepares to listen to the old man’s story.

Fifteen years ago he had been a rifleman in the Shatt al Arab as he watched thousands of shooting boys pouring across the mudflats. Many were weaponless; many of those who had rifles were so small they were overwhelmed by their heavy weapons. He was a member of Saddam’s army and the boys were martyrs for the Ayatollah’s cause. They seemed to rise from the earth, and he shot at them and watched them fall.

Hammad is nothing more than a casual acquaintance with this man, a baker who had...

(The entire section is 949 words.)