Friday, May 27, 2005

Iraq - Harley Davidson to the rescue

It's nice to see a story of normal life in Iraq.

BAGHDAD -- When he belches around Baghdad's old quarter on his spotless Harley Davidson, Kadhem Sharif, a power-lifting champion sporting wraparound sunglasses, makes for an unlikely sight.

And the 53-year-old is fully aware that his passion for one of the most recognizable symbols of the American way of life is not to everybody's liking in post-war Iraq.

But his garage is a carbon copy of any Harley aficionado's den in the United States, complete with posters of naked "babes on bikes".

And his collection of 40-plus motorbikes provides a condensed history of 100 years of national turmoil.

"This Norton was built in 1914 and became part of the escort of King Faisal, Iraq's first monarch," says Sharif as he proudly gives a tour of his modest garage.

About half of his motorbikes are Harleys. "I was 12 when I sneaked out on my father's Harley for the first time. I bought my first one eight years later, a 1966 Fatboy," Sharif recalls.


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