For Immediate Release
April 25, 2003
News accounts are painting vivid pictures of the joy and relief of free Iraqis, who are living without fear of Saddam's brutality and beginning to enjoy freedoms unknown for decades. These voices have been silenced for too long, but now they are heard inside Iraq and around the world.
VOICES OF FREEDOM
"It is a happy day for us because we can pray freely. It has been a long time."
Mohamed Ghalib, Associated Press, 4/25/03
"A 30-year-old secretary in Baghdad named Lina Daoud ponders what lies ahead. Her words come out as pastel bubbles: We want a happy future, we want technology, we want freedom, we want everything.'"
"Its a sight one old leatherneck said he will never, ever, ever forget: a man bent and wizened by age, pushing a wheelchair through the streets of a small town in Iraq. In the wheelchair was an extremely bent, aged old woman, barely able to keep her balance in the rickety contraption. As Marine Lt. Gen. Earl B. Hailston, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces for U. S. Central Command, passed by in his Humvee, the Iraqi couple caught his eye. Both gave a thumbs up, and the old woman started blowing kisses. Its something that will never leave my mind.'"
Washington Post, 4/25/03
Stars and Stripes, 4/25/03
We are free to do things that were forbidden before.
Ahmed Rubai, who sells previously banned satellite dishes, Wall Street Journal, 4-24-03
The long-oppressed Saudi Shiites would have been heartened by their Iraqi counterparts' new-found freedom to practice their religious rituals. This will encourage them to press for their own rights.
Saudi Arabian human rights activist Abdul Aziz al-Khamis, Agence France Presse, 4-24-03
It was like a dream. We heard the bombs falling and I thought: 'We will die here.' But God gave me a new life.
Annis Mohammed Saboowalla, Associated Press, 4-24-03
We couldn't talk about all this under Saddam, we couldn't look for our relatives who had disappeared or we would disappear too, says one man, sliding his thumb across his throat. Being a relative of a prisoner meant your women could be raped, your houses destroyed and all your belongings confiscated, so most people kept quiet.
An Iraqi man, Financial Times (London), 4-24-03
With the end of Saddam Hussein's rule, hundreds of thousands of Shi'ites from across Iraq were free to take part in this year's pilgrimage unhindered by the security forces who once outnumbered and arrested them. As they entered the shrine to pray, women kissed its marble walls and great wooden doors. As they exited, men bowed deeply towards the shrine before turning their backs. Shi'ites estimate that hundreds of thousands, some say several million, have reached Karbala.
The Australian, 4-24-03
We used to be executed or thrown in jail forever for doing this when Saddam Hussein was in power.
Alaa al-Sarraf, in a procession, Reuters, 4-23-03
This week marked the first time in nearly 30 years that Iraq's majority Shi'a Muslims could pray without fear of reprisal or execution by the government, and more than 1 million people flooded the holy city of Karbala to pay homage at the shrines of Hussein and Abbas, two of the most holy places for Shi'ites.
The Boston Globe, 4-23-03
This is the first time here for me. It is as if I am waking from a nightmare.
Mohammed Jabal, in a procession, Reuters, 4-23-03
We're still awaiting our freedom, but this is the first taste of it.
Adnan Abdel-Mohsin, Washington Post, 4-23-03
crowds seemed to explode with fervor over their newfound freedoms. Long processions from Baghdad and cities in southern Iraq Samawah, Nasiriyah, Najaf and Basra paraded through the streets, waving green, black and red banners. Many stopped every few minutes to break into chants, beating their chests or foreheads in a ritual known as lutm.
Washington Post, 4-23-03
As in many lower-class parts of Iraq, some residents said U.S. President George W. Bush had the right idea in wanting to rid Iraq of Saddam. For two decades, the lower classes have been impoverished to the point where they felt they had nothing to lose.
Victoria Times-Colonist (Canada), 4-23-03
Bush gives us freedom. He is giving us a future.
Abbas Ibrahim, Victoria Times-Colonist (Canada), 4-23-03
For decades, we were used to watching ourselves. Now you can think with words. But to talk loudly and to think loudly takes time. Freedom needs practice, and it takes practice to be free.
Poet Mohammed Thamer, Washington Post, 4-22-03
For two-and-a-half decades, the religious spectacle unfolding in Iraq was unknown. The country's Shiite majority, brutally repressed by Saddam's Sunni-dominated cabal, was nominally permitted to make the pilgrimage, but given little freedom to do so in practice
. If pilgrims managed to make the journey at all, they did so under a cloud of secrecy and fear. And yet, this amazing story of religious freedom reborn has largely been ignored. Instead, the front pages of newspapers have been dominated by transient stories of looting and unrest.
The National Post (Canada), 4/22/03
I cannot believe I am here today openly celebrating. The government used to shoot us when we tried in the past.
Hamid Muhammad, New York Times, 4/22/03
I walked all the way from Al Hendia to Karbala. I am so excited I am able to visit Hussein (revered son-in-law of Muhammad) now without fear.
Mona Ibrahim, New York Times, 4/22/03
We were prohibited from visiting these shrines for a long time by the Baath Party and their agents. This year we thank God for ridding us of the dictator Saddam Hussein and for letting us visit these shrines.
Abed Ali Ghilan, Associated Press Television News, 4/22/03
To the south of Baghdad, thousands of Shiite Muslims converged on two of Iraq's holy cities, exercising religious freedom long denied them under Saddam.
Associated Press, 4/22/03
We are happy because we can follow our religion and Saddam Hussein is gone.
Ziat Haddi, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), 4/22/03
Chanting and singing, hundreds of thousands of Shiite Muslims from across Iraq walked toward the holy city of Karbala on Monday, freely making a pilgrimage that had been banned by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, 4/22/03
I say thank you (U.S. President George W.) Bush and thank you (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair. Whatever the reason, if it wasnt for them, Saddam and his sons would be still around for another hundred years.
Mohsen Abdul Ali Zubei, Agence France Presse, 4/22/03
More than 1 million Shiites have been marching to Karbala, eager to reach the shrine in time for today's mass rites. They have marched, as tradition prescribes, because their annual season of mourning has come to an end. And this year, they have marched because they could. This is the first time in decades that Iraq's Shiites have been free to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad.
Orlando Sentinel 4/22/03
"We need a natural life, a democratic life, like in any other country
when I came into Baghdad, I saw the ruins, but I also saw something else: freedom. We can be free."
Asad Quasi, a militia member, Washington Post, 17 April 2003
"Iraq has just emerged from a nightmare that lasted 35 years. The problems that Iraq has suffered under the rule of Saddam's regime cannot be eliminated in one or two days. Iraqis must hold several meetings until they agree on what they deem appropriate for the establishment of an interim government representing all Iraqi factions and capable of preparing a permanent constitution top be submitted to the people through a public referendum before the nature of [the next] government could be agreed. This requires a long time."
Muhammad Bahr-al-Ulum, Egyptian Radio, 16 April 2003
"I am ready to help. Thank you for liberating Iraq and making it stable, I hope we have a very good friendship with the United States."
Iraqi General Mohammed Jarawi to US Colonel Curtis Potts after signing the surrender in western Iraq, Gold Coast Bulletin (Australia), 16 April 2003
"A good leader can bring many things to Iraq. I can see democracy happening in Iraq because they are good people. They may take some time getting used to it, but I can see it happening."
Tahani Hanna, 18 year old Iraqi expatirate, The Standard (St. Catharines) 16 April 2003
"The people of Iraq do not want Islamic rule. For 35 years we have lived with no freedom, and these religious leaders are not offering us freedom."
Taleb, Theater Director in Nasiriyah, London Daily Telegraph, 4-16-03
It was a great day
I never thought I would have this freedom.
Lt Sadeq Abdul Mohsen, deserted from Iraqi 63rd Infantry Brigade, Newsweek, 4-21-03
I can't express my feelings. All I feel is joy. This is the first time I've seen this (Shiite celebrations) for 30 years. Saddam forbade everything. He forced us underground.
Sami Abbas, a Shia at the holy shrine of Kadhimiy, Washington Post, 4-16-03
"I was afraid when I saw my city again, I would die of happiness
this is the first day of my life."
Ahmed Yassin Hamakarim upon return to Kirkuk, which his family had fled 15-years ago, U.S. News and World Report, 4-21-03
"'Under Saddam, we were not allowed to have beards,' as he fondly rubs a week's growth of stubble on his chin. 'This was just one more rule against the Shiite.'"
Feraz Hasan, Iraqi merchant, Toronto Star, 4-16-03
As I drove into Basra, an ebullient crowd on a truck was dragging a statue of Saddam Hussein through the streets. When people saw me pull out my camera, they began cheering and whacking Saddam's face. Thank you, Mr. Bush, one called out in English, and it was delicious to watch this celebration of newfound freedom."
The Gazette (Montreal, Canada), 4-14-03
Storming the Al-Salam Presidential Palace, the looters marveled bitterly at Saddam's life of luxury as they passed shards of crystal from chandeliers and shattered mirrors. That's how our pharaoh lived, said one man, who would not give his name. Look how he lived when we couldn't even get bread, said another."
Washington Post, 4-14-03
British soldiers relaxed with citizens at a nearby Iraqi home. Sitting Indian-style on Oriental rugs, they ate with local men and women and passed around wallet-sized photos of their English children.
Scripps Howard News Service, 4-14-03
Now people throw flowers at the few Warrior armored vehicles still patrolling the streets and men, women and children gathered along roadsides make peace signs and thumbs-up signals at passing soldiers, shouting Hello and Thank you in English."
Birmingham Post, 4-14-03
It's all very interesting. The images of the statue are amazing. It's a new era in the Arab world, and we're happy to see that. We hope there will be new democracy in the Arab world
yes, the war was worth it.
Ahmad, 40, watching events unfold in Kuwait, Agence France Presse, 4-14-03
(Selma Dakhel) wants her 10-year-old girl, Nadine, to learn something other than to chant I love Saddam at school, she said. We want freedom and a government chosen by the people. We will have democracy in our new time.
Chicago Tribune, 4-14-03
A lot of people from here have been taken away and tortured. We are very happy that Saddam is gone. We will cooperate with the British and the Americans.
Najim Abdullah Ahmed, near Tikrit, The Guardian, 4-14-03
Oh my God, I feel free to live. I have hoped for this day for so long.
Hussain Thain, in Canada for two years, The Guardian (Charlottetown), 4-14-03
I'm happy, Iraq is free and Saddam is gone.
Ali Al-Hajavi, 17, The Canadian Press, 4-13-03
Smiling citizens crowded every street around the American positions. There was a constant stream of people willing to give information and loudly condemn Saddam. American soldiers who a day before had been in close combat were now basking in the cheers and applause, their arms tired from returning friendly waves.
There were women and children in the crowds, but only the men did any talking. They would say the word Saddam and spit. Or run up to U.S. soldiers and shout 'George Bush good.'
The American people, particularly the movie stars against us being here, need to see this. These people need us. Look how happy they are.
Sergeant Reuben Rivera in Iraq, Time, 4-14-03
The downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime, metaphorically incarnate in the toppling of his statue in Firdos Square in Baghdad, filled me with hope. If the regime were still in power, I would not have had the courage to contribute even these few lines under my name to The New York Times. Although I am a self-exiled Iraqi who has lived in Beirut for the past two decades, I have family and friends in Iraq and I had every Iraqi's dread that Saddam Hussein's security apparatus could sweep down on them at any moment.
Hussain Abdul-Hussain, New York Times, 4-11-03
I now feel very free; I know that I'll be able to sleep now. Saddam Hussein assassinated my brother in 1977 he was hanged in prison for insulting the president. It was August 5, 1977, and since then my family has been punished by the security services. Saddam's Iraq was a dictatorship of torture, war and terror. So today is the first day I can speak.
Salim Jaffar, Sydney Morning Herald, 4-11-03
"Over the years, the Baath Party has urged family members to write pro-Saddam slogans such as Yes, Yes, to the leader Saddam Hussein! on the walls of their house. The family balked, prompting the local Baath Party officials to paint the slogans themselves. This week, one of the first steps the family took was to scrape the slogans off.
Los Angeles Times, 4-11-03
There was no justice under Saddam. He could do with us what he liked. The regime robbed the people."
Akkbal Abdulwahab, a teacher, Financial Times, 4-11-03
We are still scared but we are happy. Thank God this has happened and the Americans have come. Saddam gave us nothing.
Maysoun Raheem, The Advertiser, 4-11-03
As long as (Saddam) is gone, who cares if he is dead or in Paris?
An elderly man in Iraq, The Advertiser, 4-11-03
Iraqis watched with an amazement they dared not express before Wednesday's tumultuous collapse, as the dictator's aura of power faded to something akin to that of a petty thief on the run. It was as though they had awakened from a long, troubling sleep.
The Age (Melbourne), 4-11-03
We don't consider the presence of American soldiers as an occupation. They came to free us from injustice, tyranny and slavery. Under Saddam Hussein, our lives had no value, no sense.
Diya Abdul Hussein, Agence France Presse, 4-11-03
If the Americans are restoring our liberty they are welcome, and if they respect our dignity they can stay as long as they choose.
Agence France Presse, 4-11-03
We are one again. Finally, we are one. I am 50 years old, but my life just started today.
Kareem Mohammad Kareem, Associated Press, 4-11-03
We've been up all night watching TV, but we're not tired. We're too excited to sleep. I wanted them (his daughters) to see this historic day. This is the day of our freedom.
Ali Il-Sayad of Dearborn, Mich., The Australian, 4-11-03
This is a moment I was looking for all these years; it's like a dream coming true.
Ridha Jawad Taki, Orlando Sentinel, 4-10-03
I'm from Halabja," said Kafya Aziz, watching as a crowd swelled in Governor's Square. I escaped the chemicals, but my son and husband did not. I'd like to cut Saddam to pieces for all he's taken. I'm happy today. I'm too old, or I'd be dancing.
Los Angeles Times, 4-10-03
Firecrackers popped. Women wearing bright dresses and new lipstick walked arm in arm on the sidewalks as children, some sitting in the laps of their cigar-smoking fathers, smiled amid a joy they were too young to comprehend.
Los Angeles Times, 4-10-03
I'm so glad for victory. We've suffered much. As you see, I am not normal. I was in Saddam's prison, and then they forced me to fight on the front lines of the Iran-Iraq war. I was shot in the spine and cannot walk. This is the first day of my happiness.
Taha Hamma Mamrashid, Los Angeles Times, 4-10-03
We have just been saved. You know what this day means to me? It means never having to be afraid of another chemical attack. It means never having to fear my children's future.
Halala Osman, Wall Street Journal, 4-10-03
Now my son can have a chance in life.
Bushra Abed, Washington Times, 4-10-03
I saw it with my own eyes. People in Baghdad were dancing in the streets and burning Saddam's pictures and no one was firing at them. That was proof to me that Saddam is over.
Taher Hassan, Sulaimaniyeh shopkeeper, Wall Street Journal, 4-10-03
Today is a clear lesson for dictatorships in the Arab world. I think they should start looking for ways to change their people's lives.
Mohammed al-Jassim, editor of Kuwaiti newspaper al-Watan, Washington Times, 4-10-03
We discovered that all what the information minister was saying was all lies. Now no one believes Al Jazeera anymore.
Ali Hassan, Associated Press, 4-10-03
Today, though, Adnan was a happy man, so happy that he could barely restrain his excitement. He was finally freed from a prison in downtown Basra, after British troops entered the city and drove the remaining defenders away. And as he took a small group of American journalists on a tour of the hospital, he enthusiastically led a crowd of fellow ex-prisoners, their families, friends and passersby in the first rendition of a pro-American chant that any of us have so far heard: Nam nam Bush , Sad-Dam No (Yes, yes, Bush, Saddam No). They chanted and danced, filling one of their former cells in a spontaneous celebration.
It's like a birthday. We're ready to make a new Iraq.
Ibrahim Al-Mansori, a 31-year-old butcher from Basra, New York Times, 4-10-03
We have waited many years for this. Saddam is evil and he has gone. He killed Muslims, his own people and stole our money to buy palaces and cars and guns. He must pay the full price.
Abal Malam Al Fussah, a student in Basra, The Sun, 4-10-03
Man, I am very excited, every Iraqi person is very happy. We feel like we are reborn again. No more Saddam regime, no more of the Ba'ath Party. We are very happy, now we have got earth to go back to. We love America and we love Iraq too. This is like heaven for me right now.
An Iraqi American, Channel NewsAsia, 4-10-03
People, if you only knew what this man did to Iraq. He killed our youth. He killed millions.
An elderly man in Baghdad beating Saddams portrait with his shoe, Los Angeles Times, 4-10-03
As night fell, residents throughout Baghdad exuberantly embraced a new sense of freedom after decades lived in fear of an oppressive regime. While U.S. troops and tanks moved throughout the city, the citizens of Baghdad danced in the streets, waving rifles, palm fronds and flags. Shouts of traitor, torturer and dictator rang out in reference to the Iraqi president.
USA Today, 4-10-03
It was dangerous, it was impossible, to say, Down with Saddam. But we have lived 35 years with the Baath Party. Today I am very free and I can talk. And I say, Thank you, Mr. Bush.
Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2003
I haven't seen such exhilarating scenes since the implosion of the Soviet empire in the late 1980s. What we have witnessed is something that the Iraqi people wanted the world to know, and that is they are glad to be rid of the loathsome dictator, Saddam Hussein.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Agence France Presse, 4-10-03
"Now my son can have a chance in life."
Bushra Abed, Washington Times, 4-10-03
"I saw it with my own eyes. People in Baghdad were dancing in the streets and
burning Saddam's pictures and no one was firing at them. That was proof to me
that Saddam is over."
Taher Hassan, Sulaimaniyeh shopkeeper, Wall Street Journal, 4-10-03
"In the most visible sign of Saddam's evaporating power, the 40-foot
statue of the Iraqi president was brought down in the middle of Firdos
Square. Cheering Iraqis, some waving the national flag, scaled the statue
and danced upon the downed icon, now lying face down. As it fell, some
threw shoes and slippers at the statue....'I'm 49, but I never lived a
single day,' said Yusuf Abed Kazim, a Baghdad imam who pounded the
statue's pedestal with a sledgehammer. 'Only now will I start living.
That Saddam Hussein is a murderer and a criminal.'"
Washington Post online, 4-9-03
It confirms why we're here. This regime, all it does is honor itself. They build these huge lavish living quarters for the select few, but the rest of the country lives dirt-poor.
Lt. Col. Rock Marcone, USA Today, 4-8-03
The unit's interpreter, Khuder al-Emiri, is a local hero, a guerrilla leader who was forced to flee
in April 1991 after leading a failed uprising against Saddam Hussein. Word of Mr. Emiri's arrival spread through town by way of children's feet. Their hero was with the Americans and the crowd believed the marines' intentions were good. They began to chant in English. 'Stay! Stay! U.S.A.!'
New York Times, 4-8-03
The euphoria nearly spilled over into a riot. Children pulled at the marines, jumped on their trucks, wanting to shake their hands, touch their cheeks. A single chicken hung in the butcher's window and still the residents wanted to give the Americans something, anything. Cigarette? Money?
New York Times, 4-8-03
You are owed a favor from the Iraqis. We dedicate our loyalty to the Americans and the British. We are friends."
Iraqi Ibrahim Shouqyk to Marines, New York Times, 4-8-03
For years we have lived oppressed lives here. Sunday was a day we had prayed for and now we are free of Saddams rule.
Qusay Rawah, a student in Basra, Daily Mirror, 4-8-03
The whole Iraq will be happy if the news about Saddams death is confirmed.
Hussein Al-Rekabi, Iraqi exile of 30 years now in Kuwait, Arab News, 4-8-03
For some, it was a day to hand flowers to British soldiers stationed in armored vehicles at a traffic circle or to gawk at British troops patrolling the city on foot beside their armored vehicles. For others, it was a day to vent rage at icons of the former authority.
Washington Post, 4-8-03
"The reception that we received by the Iraqis have been mainly positive. Many children have come up to me wanting to hold my hand. Many of the British troops have been kissed by the children as theyve gone by. Now, a few people have motioned to go back or to leave but theyre certainly in the minority."
Travis Fox, washingtonpost.com, 4-7-03
The Marines here are still concerned some Iraqi fighters remain. Keep away from the area, scream the loud speakers in Arabic. It is for your security. The coalition forces will not hesitate to shoot you. But hundreds ignored that, surging forward to greet the Marines with an emotional celebration in this predominantly Shia Muslim town.
CNN Correspondent Bob Franken, 4-7-03
"The closer the marines got to Baghdad, the warmer their reception. Troops soon encountered cheering crowds, with some people giving the thumbs-up sign. You go to Baghdad, and then I am free, an Iraqi man told one soldier."
U.S. News and World Report, 4-14-03
"We shall never forget what the coalition has done for our people. A free Iraq shall be a living monument to our people's friendship with its liberators."
Hojat al-Islam Abdel Majid al-Khoi, Wall Street Journal, 4-7-03
"Ameericaah? a little girl asked a Marine who had entered her village and taken a defensive position as others began to search homes. The streets were deserted. People peered around their gates. The Marine smiled, wiggled his fingers in the girl's direction and her fear and that of the rest of the townspeople melted. Within minutes people had left their houses and began to shake hands with the Marines. Liberation from the strictures of the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had come for a nameless village just a few miles from downtown Baghdad.
United Press International, 4-7-03
When some (Iraqi paramilitaries) fled, civilians from the nearby Shia Flats slum poured onto the streets in support of the British attack. Some shouted and cheered, greeting the British soldiers with waves, thumbs up and smiles. Other surrounded and attacked the fleeing Fedayeen Saddam forces.
Washington Times, 4-7-03
Believers (should) not to hinder the forces of liberation, and help bring this war against the tyrant to a successful end for the Iraqi people
. Our people need freedom more than air (to breathe). Iraq has suffered, and it deserves better government."
Ayatollah Ali Mohammed Sistani, Wall Street Journal, 4-7-03
The cool, cement walls were welcome relief from the blistering afternoon heat. The colonel walked across a worn rug and sat at the far end of the room, next to the community patriarch, an old man who stayed mostly silent. The patriarch's eldest son, 63-year-old Said Brahim, served as ambassador. We are so happy to see the Americans forces, Mr. Brahim told a Marine translator.
Detroit News, 4-7-03
Hundreds of people poured out to welcome and shake hands with the soldiers. Women in chadors hovered in the background, as soldiers talked and joked with civilians and let some boys look through their gunsights. A jubilant crowd of about 100 Iraqis surrounded two British tanks near a Saddam mural and cheered the soldiers inside, giving one soldier a small bunch of yellow flowers.
Associated Press, 4-7-03
"Ayatollah Ali Mohammed Sistani is...the undisputed A'alam al-ulema (the
most learned of the learned) of the mullahs who minister to the religious
needs of Shiites, 60 percent of Iraq's population. This week he will
resume lectures, banned by the Saddam regime for seven years, at the
oldest Shiite seminary.
"....[T]he ayatollah said he had advised 'believers not to hinder the
forces of liberation, and help bring this war against the tyrant to a
successful end for the Iraqi people....Our people need freedom more than
air [to breath]. Iraq has suffered, and it deserves better government.'"
Op-Ed by Amir Taheri, Wall Street Journal, 4-7-03
"As dusk fell yesterday evening, only a small girl dressed in rags could
be seen on the streets of Jazirah al-Hari. She approached a [British]
tank standing guard at one end of the village, and said: 'My parents will
not come, but we need water.' The tank driver leant down and gave her a
bottle of water. 'This is why we've come, isn't it?' he said."
The Daily Telegraph (UK), 4-1-03
"U.S. troops [are] getting a very warm welcome from the local Shia
population. Now naturally, the Shiites...have no love lost for the Iraqi
leader President Saddam Hussein. They have been very repressed by him in
the past. And obviously...what they believe to be a continuous presence
that they can count on, interest from the U.S. troops is something that
they are quite happy to see."
Ryan Chilcote, CNN correspondent, 4-2-03
"Hundreds of Iraqis shouting 'Welcome to Iraq' greeted U.S. Marines who
entered the town of Shatra....'There's no problem here. We are happy to
see Americans,' one young man shouted. The welcome was a tonic for
soldiers who have not always received a warm reception despite the
confidence of U.S. and British leaders that the Iraqi people were waiting
to be freed from Saddam Hussein's repression. 'It's not every day you get
to liberate people,' said one delighted Marine."
The Independent (UK), 4-1-03
"'Saddam has given us nothing, only suffering,' said Khalid Juwad, with
his cousin, Raad, nodding in assent. Mr. Juwad said he had four uncles
who were in Hussein's jails, and he said he had deserted from the Iraqi
Army three times in recent years. 'If the Americans want to get rid of
Saddam, that's O.K. with me,' he said. 'The only thing that would bother
me is if they don't finish the job. Then Saddam will come back, like he
did in 1991.'"
New York Times, 3-31-03
"We've been waiting for you for 10 years. What took you so long? said
an Iraqi man who, along with more than 500 others, surrendered near the Rumaila
oil fields. Many had written such phrases as U.S.A. O.K. on their
arms or hands. Some even tried to kiss the hands of the nervous young Marines
Ajami Saadoun Khlis, whose son and brother were executed under the Saddam regime, sobbed like a child on the shoulder of the Guardians Egyptian translator. He mopped the tears but they kept coming. You just arrived, he said. You're late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand. We came out of the grave.
The Guardian, 3-22-03
As Iraqi Americans reach out to their relatives in Baghdad and Basra,
in Kirkuk and Irbil, some are hearing words they never thought possible: Iraqis
are speaking ill of Saddam Hussein. They're criticizing him out loud, on the
telephone, seemingly undeterred by fear of the Iraqi intelligence service and
its tactics of torture for those disloyal to the Baath Party regime. I
was shocked, said Zainab Al-Suwaij, executive director of the American
Islamic Congress, a nonprofit group in Cambridge, Mass., that promotes interfaith
and interethnic understanding. It's very dangerous. All the phones are
tapped. But they are so excited.
Los Angeles Times, 3-24-03
Me and my husband, an old man, have to stay at home because we
are afraid. We want the American government to remove Saddam Hussein from power
and kick these soldiers out of these hills.
Fatma Omar, San Francisco Chronicle, 3-24-03
We're very happy. Saddam Hussein is no good. Saddam Hussein a
Abdullah (only identification available), as he welcomed U.S. troops in Iraq
Associated Press, 3-21-03
I have been waiting for this for 13 years. I hate him more than American
government because I told you the Iraq government killed many people from Iraq.
They just put (my brother) in jail for a year. After this, they killed him because
he don't want to go to the army because his brother is American citizen, and
his brother lives in United State.
Ayid Alsultani, WFIE-14 television station in Evansville, Indiana, 3-24-03
(The trip) had shocked me back to reality. (Some Iraqis)
told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were
willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody
tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the
world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists.
Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a
huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams
as bodies got chewed up from foot to head.
Kenneth Joseph, anti-war demonstrator who traveled to Iraq with Japanese human
shield volunteers, UPI, 3-21-03
I was shocked when I first met a pro-war Iraqi in Baghdad - a taxi driver
taking me back to my hotel late at night. Don't you listen to Powell on Voice
of America radio? he said. Of course the Americans don't want to bomb civilians.
They want to bomb government and Saddam's palaces. We want America to bomb Saddam.
The driver's most emphatic statement was: All Iraqi people want this war.
Perhaps the most crushing thing we learned was that most ordinary Iraqis thought
Saddam Hussein had paid us to come to protest in Iraq. Although we explained
that this was categorically not the case, I don't think he believed us. Later
he asked me: Really, how much did Saddam pay you to come? Daniel Pepper in
an article I was a naive fool to be a human shield for Saddam,
Sunday Telegraph, 3-23-2003
As US forces push deep into Iraq, farmers and remote villagers are greeting them with white flags and waves. But the ground forces, backed by massive artillery and air support, are encountering pockets of resistance from Iraq's military. One man, about 30, yesterday ran from a field towards a US convoy shouting insults about Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Other men and boys stood in fields waving white flags. In keeping with the local Muslim custom, no girls or women appeared from their houses.
Lindsay Murdoch in southern Iraq, The Sun-Herald, 3-23-2003
.The return of the Americans to Safwan was also an occasion for hope, even if mixed with wariness. Saddam finished! shouted another young [Iraqi] man, who gave his name as Fares. Americans are here now. His friend, Shebah, added, in broken English, Saddam killed people.
Washington Post, 3-23-03
Coming into Basra as part of a massive military convoy, I encountered a stream of young men, dressed in what appeared to be Iraqi army uniforms, applauding the US marines as they swept past in tanks.
BBC reporter, 3-22-03
"Ajami Saadoun Khlis, whose son and brother were executed under the Saddam regime, sobbed like a child on the shoulder of the Guardian's Egyptian translator. He mopped the tears but they kept coming. 'You just arrived,' he said. 'You're late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand. We came out of the grave.'"
The Guadian, 3-22-03
As hundreds of coalition troops swept in just after dawn, the heartache of a town that felt the hardest edges of Saddam Hussein's rule seemed to burst forth, with villagers running into the streets to celebrate in a kind of grim ecstasy, laughing and weeping in long guttural cries.
Oooooo, peace be upon you, peace be upon you, peace you, oooooo, Zahra Khafi, a 68-year-old mother of five, cried to a group of American and British visitors who came to the town shortly after Mr. Hussein's army appeared to melt away. I'm not afraid of Saddam anymore.
New York Times, 3-22-03
"We've been driving since dawn today in southern Iraq, and so far we've come across scores of Bedouin herdsmen. We've been greeted by friendly greetings of inshallah and salaam aleikum
we've seen both women and men waving greetings and shouting greeting to the U.S. troops.
Radio Free Europe correspondent Ron Synovitz, 3-21-03
"They told me that Saddam Hussein is not allowing anyone to leave Baghdad. I don't fear the Americans. I was in Baghdad in the war in 1991 and I saw how surgical an operation it was. Saddam Hussein has persecuted everyone except his own family. Kurds, Arab Shiites, Turkoman - everybody has suffered. But our country was a rich country and we can be rich again.'
Financial Times Information, 3-21-03
"These are US Marines being greeted if not with garlands, with hand shakes by residents of the town in the deep-south corner of Iraq.
CBS News, 3-21-03
"One little boy, who had chocolate melted all over his face after a
soldier gave him some treats from his ration kit, kept pointing at the
sky, saying 'Ameriki, Ameriki.'"
Associated Press, 3-21-03
"Milling crowds of men and boys watched as the Marines attached ropes
on the front of their Jeeps to one portrait and then backed up, peeling
the Iraqi leader's black-and-white metal image off a frame. Some locals
briefly joined Maj. David 'Bull' Gurfein in a new cheer. 'Iraqis!
Iraqis! Iraqis!' Gurfein yelled, pumping his fist in the air...
"....A few men and boys ventured out, putting makeshift white flags on
their pickup trucks or waving white T-shirts out truck windows....'Americans very good,' Ali Khemy said.
'Iraq wants to be free. Some chanted, 'Ameriki! Ameriki!'
"Gurfein playfully traded pats with a disabled man and turned down a
dinner invitation from townspeople. 'Friend, friend,' he told them in
Arabic learned in the first Gulf War.
"'No Saddam Hussein!' one young man in headscarf told Gurfein. 'Bush!'"
Associated Press, 3-21-03
"Iraqi citizens were shown 'tearing down a poster of Saddam Hussein'
and Dexter Filkins of The New York Times was interviewed, saying that
Iraqis he had seen were 'hugging and kissing every American they could
NBC Nightly News, 3-21-03
"Here was a chance to stop and I clambered down, eager to get a first
word from an Iraqi of what he thought of this whole affair. 'As salaam
alekum,' I said in the traditional greeting, then ran out of Arabic and
quickly added, 'Do you speak English?' No go. But with a fumbled
exchange of gestures we slowly managed to communicate. Thumbs up for
the American tanks, thumbs down for Saddam Hussein. Then he pointed
north into the distance and said 'Baghdad.'"
"A line of dancing Kurdish men, staring directly into the mouth of the
Iraqi guns less than a mile away, defiantly burned tires, sang
traditional new years songs and chanted, 'Topple Saddam.'
"March 21 is the Kurdish New Year....And bonfires have long been a
symbol of liberation in this part of the world. 'We're celebrating
[Nawroz] a national holiday,' said Samad Abdulla Rahim, 22. 'But today
we also celebrate the attack on Saddam.'
"Many expressed hope that deadly fire would light the night sky over
Baghdad in the days ahead, bringing an end to the Kurd's epic 30-year
struggle against Hussein and his Baath Party. 'I can't wait for the
U.S. planes to come and liberate Kirkuk,' said Shahab Ahmed Sherif, a
33-year-old Kurd who had fled the oil-rich city four days earlier."
Copley News Service, 3-21-03
Unidentified Iraqi man: "Help us live better than this life. Let us
ABC World News Tonight, 3-21-03