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Children of war

BAGHDAD -- Thirteen-year-old Marwa never cried, even when I asked her to relive the night her parents were executed in their home. It surprised me. I wondered how she'd become so tough so quickly.

"Where were you when the gunmen came?" I asked Marwa as we sat together in a classroom in the orphanage where she now lives with her two younger sisters Alliya, 10, and Sora, 6. 

"I was asleep upstairs when I head the shots," Marwa said. "I ran downstairs and saw my mother. She was shot all over and was dead. My father was barely alive."

Her father died two days later of multiple gunshot wounds.

I swallowed hard and asked what happened after that.

"We lived with my uncle for about a year, and then came here."

"Why? Why did you have to come here?" I asked.  I hated asking the question, but it bothered me that her uncle would send the girls to live in an orphanage. I wanted to know how Marwa rationalized it. She was very matter of fact.   

"He couldn't afford to keep us, so he brought us here."

Editor's note: Read the rest of Richard's post in Blogging Baghdad and watch Nightly News tonight for more of the girls' story.