Monday, April 07, 2003
ONE IRAQI'S TESTIMONY
This morning I had the happy opportunity to go to a family celebration, and to catch up with a Baghdadi family's views. My cousin's wife, who is in her late 30s, was born in Baghdad, and at such family events I usually end up discussing Arabic with her father, a kind and gentle man who was grew up in that city and left it as when already an adult.
The father told me he simply couldn't understand the Germans and Russians: why were they supporting Saddam Hussein? Saddam had destroyed Iraq, and imprisoned its people. They had no freedom, and were suffering terrible tyranny. He had murdered thousands upon thousands of people: people who were living, breathing, feeling, happy people. They had been treated like animals. How could this be? How could people behave like this? And how could the West support this dreadful man and protect him in this way? Didn't they care anything about the people who were being murdered by Saddam's regime?
He also told me that although he seldom speaks Arabic these days (though I heard him conversing with family members), he listens to the Arabic service of the BBC. Without my prompting him, he said that he also couldn't understand how the British could be broadcasting such lies against their own forces. The BBC service is dominated by Egyptian Muslim fundamentalists, he told me. Can't they find any moderate Arabic-speaking broadcasters who could present fair coverage? He wanted to write to the British government, but, well, he just didn't know how. But how could this be? How could this be?
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