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Voices of Freedom: 100 Liberation Quotes

"I can honestly say now that I'm proud to be an Iraqi. Because of what has happened, because there is freedom here like I have not known before. Now I can talk-to you, to people I could never talk to before. I am a simple man. I am just a worker. But even these simple things-talking-give me hope."
Khalid Nemah, an Iraqi taxi driver, Chicago Tribune, 8/05/03

"Iraqis are very thirsty to learn what is happening outside of Iraq."
Abbas Darwish, owner of a Baghdad shop that sells newspapers, The New York Times, 8/05/03

"You never knew who was sitting next to you. In the past no one would dare to just speak out. Now everybody is talking. About federalism, about a monarchy. ... I think our aims are just one, to eliminate persecution for anyone ever again."
Jafar Adel Amr, a tool salesman in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, 8/05/03

"Freedom is much sweeter. I can get up in the morning and decide whether I want to shave or not; if someone in my family is sick, I can stay home with them. I don't need to ask permission."
Salim Kasim, one of Uday's chief mechanics, Los Angeles Times, 8/02/03

"We didn't believe these things, but we had to say them. Saddam was there in all the books, even the math books."
Ghada Jassen, a fifth grade teacher in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, 7/31/03

"We don't want patriotic education anymore. Nothing about war. We want flowers and springtime in the texts, not rifles and tanks."
Dunia Nabel, a teacher in Baghdad, Chicago Tribune, 7/31/03

"We have full freedom to print anything we want. The coalition doesn't interfere in our work but, of course, we have our own red lines."
Ishtar el Yassiri, editor of the new satirical Iraqi newspaper Habez Bouz, Financial Times (London), 7/31/03

"It is like the soul coming back to the body."
Ibrahim Abdullah, a refugee returning to Iraq, The Times (London), 7/31/03

"The tension is reducing every day. We are seeing a change. People are starting to realize that the soldiers are not here to occupy Fallujah forever-they're here to help us rebuild."
Taha Bedawi, mayor of Fallujah, The Washington Post, 7/29/03

"It's a chance to defend our country for our people. It's good to work with the American soldiers. They give us new training and a mutual respect."
Omar Abdullah, a recruit for Mosul's newly formed joint security group, Associated Press, 7/29/03

"We're happy, we're rid of Saddam Hussein; the torture and executions of 35 years are over. We should wait to see what the Americans will do."
Ahmed Abdel-Sahib, in Najaf, The Washington Post, 7/28/03

"There is a certain harmony. But you can not rebuild a city or country-a country destroyed by war-in one month."
Mohammed Tahar al-Abid Rabu, a member of the Mosul city council, Agence France Presse, 7/28/03

"For the first time I feel really free."
Latif Yahia, Uday's former double, after hearing of Uday's death, Agence France Presse, 7/26/03

"The Iraqi people have got rid of two of the biggest criminals in history. Their victims and the sons of their victims, who lived for 35 years under oppression, are feeling proud and happy."
Muwaffak al-Rubaiei, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council, Agence France Presse and Reuters, 7/25/03

"We are more free nowadays. My father gave me the full freedom to marry whom I choose."
Raina Nuri, a woman in Baghdad, Christian Science Monitor, 7/25/03

"We felt better after the regime fell, now we are really happy-we have been freed from our nightmare."
Alaa' Kathem, an Iraqi soccer player who had been punished for losing games, Financial Times (London), 7/24/03

"Iraq is now free from torture. Free from Uday."
Amu Baba, a legendary soccer star in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, 7/24/03

"We feel safer now because we used to hear lots of stories about girls. We were so afraid to go out in case Uday saw us."
Farrah, a 15-year-old Iraqi girl, Newsday (New York), 7/24/03

"My father died because of Saddam. I don't want to speak about the reasons. But I was so happy. I was at home when I saw it on the TV. I woke up my aunts and told them the good news. I used to hate those guys so much and so I felt so at ease in my heart."
Osama Zaid, a distant cousin of Uday, after learning of Uday's death, Newsday (New York), 7/24/03

"Even the blind can see what Saddam Hussein did, taking Iraq into so many wars and doing little even for this town, no sports club, no decent hotels."
Wail al-Ali, Tikrit's new mayor, The Guardian, 7/22/03

"We are flying with happiness since Saddam is gone."
Zahar Hassan, in Iraq, Agence France Presse, 7/21/03

"There's more opportunity, more chances to earn money."
Um Khalid, on life in post-Saddam Baghdad, The Christian Science Monitor, 7/21/03

"[Uday] was a bad man, and he used to beat the soccer players if they lost a game. I think he used to treat the lions better than the people."
Mussab Ismas, a 13-year old boy, viewing Uday's lions at the Baghdad zoo, The Washington Post, 7/21/03

"Let the Americans stay, they protect us. I don't see them hurting anyone."
A mother living in Baghdad, The Christian Science Monitor, 7/21/03

"He [Uday] was a sick man, and he kept lions and tigers just to show his manhood, to show everyone that he cared more about animals than people. But he amputated their claws, and he took away their freedom, just like the people."
Alaa Karim, a Baghdad zoo employee, The Washington Post, 7/21/03

"I can see that the American soldiers are free. In our old army, we were always under pressure and strict military orders. There was tough punishment."
Raad Mamoud, a former Iraqi soldier, USA Today, 7/21/03

"I hope Iraq comes back strong. I am in favor of the new government."
Uday Kadhu, a Baghdad car salesman on the Iraqi archery team, Agence France Presse, 7/16/03

"In our opinion, the most significant thing about the formation of the transitional Governing Council is that it includes important personalities that are known to the masses and that represent the different political, national, democratic and progressive forces, as well as independent political organizations and religious denominations."
Iraqi newspaper Al-Manar, 7/15/03

"I felt that we had gone back to the year 1930. I feel that Iraq has started back from zero. We have wasted 75 years waiting to taste freedom."
Hadid al-Gailani, after the Governing Council announced the abolition of Baathist holidays, The Boston Globe, 7/14/03

"I helped deliver thousands of Iraqi babies, and now I am taking part in the birth of a new country and a new rule based on women's rights, humanity, unity and freedom."
Raja Habib al-Khaza'i, the director of an Iraqi maternity hospital and a member of the Governing Council, Associated Press, 7/13/03

"The formation of this council which represents all sectors of Iraqi society is the birth of democracy in the country. It is better than Saddam's government of destruction and dictatorship."
Razzak Abdul-Zahra, a 35-year-old engineer in Baghad, Associated Press, 7/13/03

"The establishment of this council represents the Iraqi national will after the collapse of the dictatorial regime."
Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, a Shiite cleric on the Governing Council, Associated Press, 7/13/03

"It's a hard situation. But now that Saddam has fallen, it's OK. We can wait for the future now."
Muhammed Abdul al Sudani, the night watchman at a school in Baghdad, Baltimore Sun, 7/13/03

"Iraqis are looking forward to this day. They have been dreaming for so many years to have a government run by not only one man."
Sherwan Dizayee, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, Los Angeles Times, 7/13/03

"He [Saddam] occupied Iraq for 25 years. It's not important that the Americans are here. What is important is that they got rid of Saddam Hussein. Now I feel free."
Fadil Emara, a shopkeeper in Baghdad, Agence France Presse, 7/12/03

"I want to help my country to make a new life, to get human rights, and also to get modern life, especially because we are a rich country."
An Iraqi translator for the Allied forces, The New York Times, 7/08/03

"We can't train staff fast enough. People are desperate here for a neutral free press after 30 years of a totalitarian state."
Saad al-Bazzaz, editor of the Azzaman Daily in Baghdad, The Independent (London), 7/08/03

"The Americans did a very good thing when they crushed Saddam for the Iraqis."
Khither Jaafar, a member of a Shiite party outlawed by Saddam, Los Angeles Times, 7/08/03

"U.S.-U.K., Liberators of Iraq from Saddam's Terror."
A banner hanging outside the entrance to central Suleimaniyah in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, 7/05/03

"We as a council were chosen by the people. God willing we will work to achieve the hopes and wishes of the people."
Mohammed al-Assadi, a representative on the new Najaf City Council, Associated Press, 7/07/03

"We were like a tightly covered pot which no one knew what it contained. Now that the cover has been removed, you can't imagine what you will discover."
Majed al-Ghazali, who now dreams of setting up a children's music school in Iraq, Associated Press, 7/07/03

"We feel liberated. We're very very happy."
Dana Mohammed, manager of a fast food restaurant in Suleimaniyah, Chicago Tribune, 7/05/03

"I can feel it inside. All Iraqis are feeling freedom. This is a good start of a new Iraq."
Saniya al-Raheem, a 56-year-old housewife in Baghdad, Agence France Presse, 7/03/03

"It was a cruel system. We were living under terror and we all suffered from it. It was for our own survival not to talk about politics. We could not even discuss our personal problems openly."
Balkis Al-Shamary, a clerk in an Iraqi shop, Agence France Presse, 7/03/03

"During the Saddam years, we did not even have hopes. We were living only to survive. Now I have lots of dreams and hopes."
Hansam Hassan, a pediatrician at Baghdad's Al-Alwiya Children's Hospital, Agence France Presse, 7/03/03

"I like free discussions. I talk about these issues with my families and friends. This could never happen during the Saddam years."
Maha Abrahim, owner of a wedding dress shop in Baghdad, Agence France Presse, 7/03/03

"A thousand thanks to Bush!"
Abdel Karim Hassan, in Basra, The New York Times, 6/27/03

"When I see my female students, I see hopes in them. They will have more opportunities to travel and learn and have more control of their lives."
Bushra Jani, a professor at Baghdad's Al-Mustansiriya University, Agence France Presse, 7/03/03

"The Americans liberated the Iraqi people from a despotic regime from which they suffered a lot. The Iraqi people could not change that regime with their own hands or overthrow it with their available means. The Americans came and solved this problem quickly and easily and in a way that gladdened the Iraqis."
Baghdad Al-Balat, an Iraqi newspaper, 6/18/03

"It gives me an immense sense of hope. Being here and seeing so many other people here signifies that, despite everything, life goes on."
Shafeeq al-Mahdi, an Iraqi playwright at a performance at the al-Rashid Theater in Baghdad, Associated Press, 6/25/03

"I will run for mayor. Because we have freedom."
Dhirgham Najem, a 23-year-old busboy in Najaf, The New York Times, 6/22/03

"They're buying them [satellites] like they buy bread. They say they're buying freedom."
Mohammed al-Mulla, a worker at an Iraqi electronics store, Associated Press, 6/25/03

"This is the first time we as Shiites can represent ourselves and talk with a loud voice. They never let us express our feelings."
Akil Dair, a part-time student at Baghdad University, The New York Times, 6/21/03

"Look at Saddam here, they have painted his eyes. Now he cannot see anymore. We also tore all his pictures from our textbooks. I only left one portrait on my math textbook as a souvenir, but I put mascara on his eyes and colored his lips in red."
Salam, a 10-year-old boy pointing to an old mural of Saddam in Baghdad, Agence France Presse, 6/21/03

"Owning or selling such songs was punishable by a one-and-a-half year prison sentence under Saddam. After being oppressed for 35 years, we are now scrambling to grab these songs, to which we listen with impunity."
Ahmad, whose shop in Baghdad is selling large amounts of previously banned Shiite music, Agence France Presse, 6/18/03

"This is the freedom exhibition. I'm flying now."
Mohammed Rasim, a 29-year-old Iraqi artist who was finally able to show his paintings in an exhibit once Saddam fell, Associated Press, 6/18/03

"We are so glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein."
Habid Khanger, who waited to marry until Saddam fell and his policies ended, USA Today, 6/17/03

"Why call us occupied? We are liberated."
Mohammed Hanash Abbas, co-owner of Iqra'a bookstore in Baghdad, Associated Press, 6/17/03

"Saddam would not allow us here; he would slay whoever came here. It's freedom now!"
Salah Maadi Khafaji, an Iraqi swimming in a part of the Tigris that had been off limits to ordinary Iraqis, Los Angeles Times, 6/17/03

"America has shown us compassion we never had from Saddam or fellow Arabs."
Attallah Zeidan, co-owner of a small bookstore in Baghdad, Associated Press, 6/17/03

"I should have freedom to wear or not to wear the veil. I don't want to let these people dictate my thoughts. I am an educated woman. I am a religious woman. I know my duties to God."
Kawkab Jalil, a woman in Baghdad who decided to take off her veil, The Washington Post, 6/17/03

"When I leave my job at night, I am very happy, very proud about myself. We must help the Americans, and show them our traditions."
Suhair Karmasha, the first Iraqi woman to work with the Americans at Baghdad's city hall, The Washington Post, 6/17/03

"We are like newborn children. We are very, very happy."
Ali Hashem Jasim, in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, 6/13/03

"We broke the dams when the Iraqi army left. We want to teach our children how to fish, how to move on the water again."   
Qasim Shalgan Lafta, a Marsh Arab and former fisherman who helped restore the water to the Iraqi wetlands that Saddam had destroyed, Chicago Tribune, 6/13/03

"Before, we saw Saddam on one channel, then we saw Saddam on another channel. When the signal went off, we'd hear Saddam. Even in our dreams, we heard his voice. It's better than before."
Tahir Sadeq, an Iraqi hotel manager, The Washington Post, 6/13/03

"Before, we couldn't speak. Before, we couldn't live. But life has changed from bad to best in Sulaymaniyah. I hope everyone in Iraq can live like us soon."
Abdul Karim, a 70-year-old Iraqi, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6/12/03

"The name of Saddam had a value among us, but now, I do not love Saddam. I feel I have been deceived. I am shocked to hear about his crimes against our people."
Yaaser Akram, an 11th-grade student in Baghdad, Associated Press, 6/12/03

"I want to know the secrets of Saddam. Before, we couldn't even say his name, and now we can know the truth."
Abdul, who bought a copy of one of Saddam's home movies, Associated Press, 6/12/03

"I have no more fear now. From the moment Iraq was liberated I felt as though my two sons had been brought back to me."
A woman whose 17-year-old son, Sardar Osman Faraj, was executed in Iraq in 1985 and another was killed by unknown assassins in 1992. Los Angeles Times, 6/8/03

"It's a big change. We used to get central instructions from the Ministry of Information. Now we no longer do. Azzaman is independent. It lets the readers learn and decide the political currents."
Abdel-Majid, of the Azzaman newspaper in Iraq, Washington Post, 6/8/03

"Things have changed. There's not the same fear. I didn't see my future here before. Now, maybe I do."
Ardelan Karim, who unsuccessfully attempted to flee Iraq four times after escaping Saddam's executioners, The New York Times, 06/05/03

"We are all very happy and comfortable. This is the freedom we want."
Yizmak Askander Abu, a teacher in Rassalin, The Times (London), 06/05/03

"I never allowed myself to live all these years. Every day I thought, now they're going to come and take me. I was always waiting."
Nasir al-Husseini, 22, who survived a mass execution at age 10, The New York Times, 06/01/03

"Freedom means that Saddam is no longer around."
Firas al-Dujaili, an Iraqi doctor, Associated Press, 5/29/03

"This is like a dream for us. The Americans liberated us and gave us our freedom. We hope they stay to protect the minorities like us."
Emir Farooq Saeed Ali Beg, a member of the formerly persecuted Yazidi tribe, The Times (London), 06/05/03

"For the first time in Iraq, democratic processes are put in place to elect government officials. Democratic elections are a new phenomenon in today's Iraq. True democracy appears with the absence of dictatorships and tyranny."
The Iraqi newspaper Al Naba, 06/01/03

"...[T]he Iraqi people are too happy that Saddam is gone. Too happy."
Salim, a citizen of Baghdad, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 06/01/03

"We are so happy, not just for the contract, but to work again in our country with our people and our equipment to help rebuild our country."
Loay Ibrahim Al-Saied, an Iraqi engineer whose company received a contract to construct a highway bypass, PR Newswire European, 5/30/03

"Freedom means to travel, to get the job I want, to study in the college I want."
Ahmed al-Samarai, a citizen of Iraq, Associated Press, 5/29/03

"I couldn't teach the students the truth. I was unable to tell them that we were ruled by a dictator. If I did, my neck would be on the line."
Wijda Khalidi, an Iraqi schoolteacher, Associated Press, 5/29/03

"I cannot describe how I am glad. After so many years of dictatorship, we have chosen our own leader."
Kemal Kerkuki, after participating in the election of Kirkuk's new mayor, The New York Times, 5/29/03

"Now that Iraq is free, we are demanding freedom and equal rights that Iraqi women have always been deprived of."
Eman Ahmed, member of the Rising Iraqi Women's Organization, Associated Press, 5/21/03

"I can tell you all these things now because we are free. Before, we lived like exiles in our own country."
Suhaib Abbas Majeed, an Iraqi medical student, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/21/03

"This is the first time in our lives we have experienced democracy. It is a beautiful thing. Everyone is excited. Everyone is here. ...Not complaining. Coming to vote."
Rabaab Mahmoud Kassar, a female attorney in Najaf who participated in the election of the town's new judges, The Washington Post, 5/21/03

"We've been living in jail for three decades. Now, we are free. Help is coming. Day by day, life is for the better."
Saddam Agil, grandfather of five and resident of Basra, USA Today, 5/20/03

"Before we used to commemorate the day hidden at home, we were afraid of Saddam's agents who were everywhere and spied on us. Today I feel happy."
Faithela Asam, an Iraqi Shiite, on publicly celebrating the birthday of Mohamed for the first time in decades, Agence France Presse, 5/19/03

"We are a free voice that does not belong to any party. We wanted this channel to be free and speak in the name of all Iraqi people."
Khalil al-Tayar, director of the new Karbala Television station, Associated Press, 5/19/03

"Most Iraqis did not know what freedom was, but have shown they prefer it after finding it now. Most Iraqis do not know what democracy is, but they will certainly love it once they taste it."
Amir Taheri, Al-Sharq al-Awsat, 5/19/03

"We can say anything we want in public. Now we're free."
Safaz al Hellou, an Iraqi teenager, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/19/03

"This is the first attempt for us to run our town by ourselves. We are ready to rebuild our town, and we are ready to rebuild our country."
Najim Abed Mahdi, a chairman of the Umm Qasr interim town council, The Guardian (London), 5/15/03

"This is the happiest moment we all felt. It's a primordial feeling -- this tyrant coming down."
Yussra Hussen, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/12/03

"I am happy that Saddam is gone. The teachers told me to love Saddam. My parents told me he was a bad man."
Dina, 7, U.S. News & World Report, 5/12/03

"We are not fighting anybody. We will not raise our weapons because freedom is within our sight. We want an Iraqi government that represents all Iraqis. Sunni and Shia Muslims, Kurds, Turcomans and religious minorities -- they will have their rights in this land."
Returned Iraqi exile Ayatollah Hakim, speech to Iraqis in Najaf, London Daily Telegraph, 5/12/03

"(April 9th was) a good day for all Iraqis. The people of Iraq want democracy. They lived without it for 35 years. It was like Russians under Stalin."
Ministry Engineer Ghassan Yassin, 53, Victoria Times-Colonist (Canada), 5/11/03

"Beautiful, beautiful. Not Iraqi TV. Not Saddam Hussein TV. Beautiful."
Akhbal Ibrahim Rashid watching her satellite dish-equipped television, Los Angeles Times, 5/9/03

"All my life I have been escaping. So I have dreamed of freedom, of traveling abroad, of feeling life the way all young people do. Maybe now I will."
Mohammed Khadum, 28, in Baghdad, Washington Post, 5/8/03

"You cannot imagine what it means for us to be here on this national stage, where everything we stand for was forbidden. Now it is ours."
Oday Rashid, an Iraqi musician and documentary filmmaker, Los Angeles Times, 5/5/03

"I saw the world for the first time. I saw where we were. I saw presidents and cities and people from everywhere! The whole world!"
School Principal Bushra Cesar, after buying a satellite TV dish, New York Times, 5/4/03

"We will keep on somehow. Now we have the most important thing that we need. There is no one to stop us from saying anything we want onstage."
Basim Hajar, coauthor and director of a play criticizing Saddam Hussein's regime performed in a building where -- before the war -- only works sanctioned by the government were allowed. Los Angeles Times, 5/5/03

"Before, if I had sold this, they would have cut my head from my body."
Imad Saad, selling a copy of an opposition-run paper, Los Angeles, 5/3/03

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