IMPACT
05/10/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Rafraf Barrak: Iraqi Translator Saved By An American Journalist

When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Don Teague was sent to cover the story by NBC News. There, he met Rafraf Barrak, a young Iraqi woman and devout Muslim who had never been outside Baghdad in her life.

She had been raised to believe, in her words, that all Americans are evil. When the war started, her family of 12 lost their jobs, and despite her family's skepticism of westerners, Barrak's English-speaking skills made her perfectly suitable for a job as a translator. NBC hired her and she was suddenly working close, and in very dangerous conditions, with an American journalist.

Barrak grew to love her job and the people she worked with, and this closeness with Americans drew the ire of Iraqi insurgents. Within months, she was a target. Teague and Barrak believed that she would eventually be killed if she were not to escape from Iraq. After a call to his wife, Teague offered Barrak a place to stay in the U.S. It was quite a move and one her parents resisted at first. Barrak explains that her mother would have strongly disapproved had her life not been in danger.

This story of friendship, despite deep-seated prejudices, is described in the book "Saved By Her Enemy," written by Teague and Barrak, and available now through Howard Books. The story is also told eloquently on DarynKagan.com.