October 3, 2002
THE PRESIDENT NEXT DOOR:Is Iraq's next leader living in Endwell?: Prominent Iraqi expatriate on list to replace Saddam (TODD MCADAM, October 3, 2002 , Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin)
"I left Iraq because I didn't want to be involved in the politics of Iraq," said Mukhlis, an emergency room physician who works in Steuben County. "Leadership is something I wouldn't seek. I wouldn't want to explore that avenue."
He says that today. But tomorrow, he points out, might be different as long as he could bring democracy to the country.
"If I can achieve the Bill of Rights in Iraq, that would be the ultimate goal," Mukhlis said Wednesday.
Neighbors said they knew Mukhlis was from Iraq. They knew Saddam killed his father. Other than that, he was just a good neighbor.
"The only time you hear anything out of Hatem is when he's in his little sports car," said Carl Silvernail.
Mukhlis, 52, came to Endwell in 1985 after a couple of years in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. He spent six years in London, as well. He has built a tidy life in a quiet suburb, commuting to and from his job daily. Mukhlis' eldest son recently became an Eagle Scout, Silvernail said.
If Mukhlis is a quiet neighbor, he's also a caring one.
"He was very good when my husband went to the hospital with a heart attack," said Lura Switzer, another neighbor. And when husband Richard came home, the Mukhlis family would shovel the driveway so he didn't strain his heart.
"They're real good neighbors," Richard Switzer said. "They pretty much keep to themselves until you need them."
It's humbling to pause for a moment and realize of just how many of the world's nations it might be said that their natural leaders live in America. Most remarkable is that this is particularly true of our enemies--Cuba, Vietnam, China, Iraq, Germany, etc.. It's little wonder these places are such backwaters when the best of their men and women are now our neighbors and fellow citizens. Posted by Orrin Judd at October 3, 2002 12:14 PM