|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
August 5, 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.
For more personal stories of life under Saddam, visit Tales of Saddams Brutality.
VOICES OF FREEDOM
I can honestly say now that Im proud to be an Iraqi. Because of what has happened, because there is freedom here like I have not known before. Now I can talkto you, to people I could never talk to before. I am a simple man. I am just a worker. But even these simple thingstalkinggive 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
Recruitment for Iraq's post-Saddam army started on July 19, and this week, a two-month basic training course gets underway to produce its first 1,000-strong light-armoured mechanised infantry battalion.
Agence France Presse, 8/05/03
I can put my head on the pillow and sleep deeply. I can rest now.
Ayad Hosni,, a barber in Baghdad, Knight Ridder, 8/05/03
But neighborhoods in and around Baghdad, staggering from uneven electrical power and water supply, also buzz with normal summer delights. Ice-cream stands are jammed, soccer fields swirl with the dust of matches and bookstores down from the Shabandar [café] are open all hours and selling posters of imams and politicians once-reviled by the ousted regime. Booksellers grin when asked about their new reality.
Chicago Tribune, 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
I cant be optimistic or pessimistic. I dont want to say we can do it or well do it well. But the way weve suffered in the past 30 years, we will try to create a new way.
Jafar Adel Amr, at the Shabandar café in Baghdad, Chicago Tribune, 8/05/03
Iraq without its marshes is like the United States without the Grand Canyon. One of the communities that suffered the most under Saddam is the marsh Iraqis. If we're ever going to see justice done in Iraq, part of that justice is restoring these peoples' way of life. This is a matter that goes beyond the environment.
Azzam Alwash, an Iraqi exile who has returned to Iraq to restore the wetlands, Los Angeles Times, 8/05/03
The only way for me to leave was to escape the country. If I had just quite and gone home, I was afraid that the people who worked for him [Uday] would have stalked me and killed me.
Udays former bodyguard, Los Angeles Times, 8/02/03
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 dont need to ask permission.
Salim Kasim, one of Udays chief mechanics, Los Angeles Times, 8/02/03
It brings us to the future, this train.
Mohsin al Naif, watching the first train pull into Rabiyah in over a year, Associated Press, 7/31/03
Their textbooks were filled with Hussein's regime as well: Math texts substituted S and H for the variables X and Y, reading comprehension paragraphs discussed Zionist aggression and using oil as a political weapon, and other exercises promoted joining the Popular Army as an everyday activity such as buying a music cassette or acting in a play.
That is changing, as Iraqi teachers and parents team up with U.S. and international organizations to root the former Iraqi dictator out of textbooks and replace militaristic rote learning in Iraqi classrooms.
Chicago Tribune, 7/31/03
We didnt 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 dont 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
Long live great Iraq!
Iraqi students, who are no longer required to salute Saddam at the beginning of class, shouting their new salute, Chicago Tribune, 7/31/03
We want to have a real education, to be a progressive country. Education is very important to the reconstruction of our society. If you want to civilize society, you must care about education.
Al Saad Majid al Musowi, a businessman on Baghdads city council, Chicago Tribune, 7/31/03
This is where all the money wentall our money went. I am astonished and angry.
Salih Fadhil, viewing Saddams palace in Tikrit, The Daily Telegraph (London), 7/31/03
It just reminded me of how powerful Saddam was.
Mudhfar Awad, after seeing Saddams palace in Tikrit, The Daily Telegraph (London), 7/31/03
Water is returning to the Mesopotamian marshlands, turned into salt-encrusted desert by Saddam Hussein.
The Christian Science Monitor, 7/31/03
The return of water had an immediate effect on the people [the Marsh Arabs in Iraq] whom the war had freed. They are fishing again from boats that had not floated for years. Water seems to hold the promise of reviving an old way of life.
The Christian Science Monitor, 7/31/03
We have full freedom to print anything we want. The coalition doesnt 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
Volleys of Kalashnikov gunfire erupted above the dusty village of Haush al- Jinoub in southern Iraq. Children and weeping women thronged around the bus as it drew to a halt. Out stepped Thabed Mansour, frail and weary after 12 years of exile, for an overwhelmingly emotional reunion with his wife and family. Mr Mansour was one of 244 men who returned to their native country yesterday in the first formal repatriation of Iraqi refugees since the war ended.
The 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
Since Iraqs liberation, the dominant theme of Western news reporting has been the guerrilla attacks against U.S. troops. The focus obscures a larger truth: Life is returning to normal in Iraqbetter than normal, actually, because this normal is Saddam-free. All of the country's universities and health clinics have reopened, as have 90 percent of schools. Iraq is now producing 3.4 gigawatts of electric power85 percent of the pre-war level.
National Post (Canada) commentary, 7/29/03
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 forevertheyre here to help us rebuild.
Taha Bedawi, mayor of Fallujah, The Washington Post, 7/29/03
Its a chance to defend our country for our people. Its good to work with the American soldiers. They give us new training and a mutual respect.
Omar Abdullah, a recruit for Mosuls newly formed joint security group, Associated Press, 7/29/03
I want to serve a new Iraq.
Shevin Majid, a former Kurdish fighter who is now a recruit in the Mosul joint security force, Associated Press, 7/29/03
Were happy, were 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
Most Iraqis arent worried well stay too long; theyre petrified well leave too soon.
Paul Gigot, The Wall Street Journal, 7/28/03
There is a certain harmony. But you can not rebuild a city or countrya country destroyed by warin one month.
Mohammed Tahar al-Abid Rabu, a member of the Mosul city council, Agence France Presse, 7/28/03
More and more businessmen are coming to Iraq. It is a rich country and the Iraqi market is enormous. All the world wants to come and do business here.
Captain Adel Khalaf, director of the port at Umm Qasr, Agence France Presse, 7/27/03
For the first time I feel really free.
Latif Yahia, Udays former double, after hearing of Udays 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 heard about Uday and Qusay being killed and, frankly, we are happy.
Fadil Abbas, in the Sadr City suburb of Baghdad, Associated Press, 7/24/03
We felt better after the regime fell, now we are really happywe 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
If its really him, we will be so very happy. We will be able to start a new regime of Olympic sport in Iraq. OK, hes gone. We start a new life.
Jaffer al-Muthafer, an Iraqi soccer player, Los Angeles Times, 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 dont 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 Udays death, Newsday (New York), 7/24/03
On July 4, some shops and private homes in various parts of Iraq, including the Kurdish areas and cities in the Shiite heartland, put up the star-spangled flag as a show of gratitude to the United States.
National Post (Canada), 7/22/03
Mobile phones rang Tuesday morning, ushering in the cellular era for Iraqis long deprived of the latest in information technology during their isolation under the fallen strongman Saddam Hussein.
Agence France Presse, 7/22/03
Thanks to them [the U.S. army] the security is good. Without them, people would be killing each other.
Abdul Wahed Mohsen, in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, 7/22/03
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, Tikrits new mayor, The Guardian, 7/22/03
Also, some 85 percent of primary and secondary schools and all but two of the nation's universities have reopened with a full turnout of pupils and teachers. The difference is that there no longer are any mukahebrat (secret police) agents roaming the campuses and sitting at the back of classrooms to make sure lecturers and students do not discuss forbidden topics. Nor are the students required to start every day with a solemn oath of allegiance to the dictator.
National Post (Canada), 7/22/03
A stroll in the open-air book markets of the Rashid Street reveals that thousands of books, blacklisted and banned under Saddam Hussein, are now available for sale. Among the banned authors were almost all of Iraq's best writers and poets whom many young Iraqis are discovering for the first time. Stalls, offering video and audiotapes for sale, are appearing in Baghdad and other major cities, again giving Iraqis access to a forbidden cultural universe.
National Post (Canada), 7/22/03
We dont know who are those people who say that. They are outlaws. They just want to make problems.
Abdul Wahed Mohsen, on anti-U.S. sloganeering in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, 7/22/03
The Americans are giving the Iraqis the space to get our affairs in order.
Sheikh Khalid Al-Nuami, a representative on the Najaf ruling council, Agence France Presse 7/21/03
We are flying with happiness since Saddam is gone.
Zahar Hassan, in Iraq, Agence France Presse, 7/21/03
Theres more opportunity, more chances to earn money.
Um Khalid, on life in post-Saddam Baghdad, The Christian Science Monitor, 7/21/03
There is a lack of security, but psychologically, things are better, because freedom is nice.
Ali Shaban, in Iraq, The Christian Science Monitor, 7/21/03
Let the Americans stay, they protect us. I dont see them hurting anyone.
A mother living in Baghdad, The Christian Science Monitor, 7/21/03
Before it was all about Saddam and his followers. Now there are different topics.
Hassan Ali, on the Iraqi newspapers, 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
[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 Udays lions at the Baghdad zoo, The Washington Post, 7/21/03
But the shock for a first time visitor to Iraq is that the destruction committed by Saddams tyranny is so much worse than advertised.
The most horrible damage on Iraqis was inflicted by Saddam himself. The Americans who are giving their lives to stop his Middle East Stalinism will end up saving many more lives.
Wall Street Journal, 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
Before, I would not even say hello to them [Iraqi army officers]. We are all equal now. This is justice.
Husham Berkal, an enlisted soldier in the former Iraqi army, USA Today, 7/21/03
When I heard on the radio that the Baathists had seized power I was not surprised. I was hoping it would make the situation better but, well, you can see. I have hope that things will get better now, that the new government can get rid of all the problems.
Abdul Karim al-Qaissi, a pharmacist in Baghdad, on the anniversary of the Baath Partys seizing power, Agence France Presse, 7/17/03
But I blame the Baath [for problems with security and infrastructure]. Its not the Americans fault. I like the Americans.
Nuri Mansour, in Baghdad, Agence France Presse, 7/17/03
Iraqis were living a good life. We had security, jobs, people were getting paid. People used to get on and would help each other
Nuri Mansour, reflecting life before the Baath Party overthrew the Iraqi government in 1968, Agence France Presse, 7/17/03
During the Baath Partys time we didnt see 1,000th of Iraqs wealth come to us.
Yasua, an Iraqi man in Baghdad, Agence France Presse, 7/17/03
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
The residents of glorious Fallujah suffered from the confiscation of freedom and the absence of justice under the dictatorial regime.
A statement released by the League of Fallujah Residents, Agence France Presse, 7/16/03
The Governing Council is a step towards building a free, democratic Iraq.
Iraqi newspaper Al-Zawra, 7/15/03
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 womens rights, humanity, unity and freedom.
Raja Habib al-Khazai, 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 Saddams 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
This is a great day. Its unbelievable.
Yonadam Kanna, an Assyrian Christian on the Iraqi Governing Council, Associated Press, 7/13/03
Its a hard situation. But now that Saddam has fallen, its 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
The building of a new Iraq shall remain among the first priorities of the good Iraqi people. It will require the participation of all Iraqis from all political and social strands who are willing to help accomplish this historic task.
Mohammed Barhul Uloom, an 80-year-old Shiite who has returned to Iraq to serve on the new Governing Council, AFX News, 7/13/03
Saddam is gone, hes history, hes never coming back.
Mohammed Barhul Uloom, at the first meeting of the new Iraqi Governing Council, Agence France Presse, 7/13/03
In our view, political life must not be based on ethnic, religious or sectarian considerations.
Adnan Pachachi, former Iraqi foreign minister and current member of the Governing Council, Agence France Presse,
Farther down the block [in Baghdad], a new Internet cafe just opened three weeks ago$3 an hour buys you a satellite link on a computer that runs Windows, and a shortcut to Yahoo! E-mail is already on the desktop.
Winston-Salem Journal, 7/12/03
He [Saddam] occupied Iraq for 25 years. Its 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
My optimism grows ten-fold every day. Weve got a wonderful and brilliant future in front of us.
Fadil Emara, a shopkeeper in Baghdad, Agence France Presse, 7/12/03
In Saddams time, the mere act of pointing at somethinga building, a personrisked attracting the attention of a secret policeman. Now people freely jab their index fingers on the streets. To a visitor returning, its something of a shock.
Associated Press, 7/12/03
Its a dream for me to participate.
Afrah Abas, an Iraqi archer competing in the 42nd World Archery Championships, Associated Press, 7/12/03
We have been celebrating the Iraqi revolution and the fall of the kingdom every year. Today we combined the celebration with the fall of the second monarchythe dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
Aladdin Sabih, an Iraqi living in the Czech Republic, Czech News Agency, 7/12/03
Cutting through all the barriers of religion, culture, war and economics are stores filled with hundreds of pairs of high-heel pumps, clunky platforms and spiked heels in scores of styles. Other stores with similar numbersbut fewer stylesof men's and children's shoes are open for business.
Winston-Salem Journal, 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
In Baghdad, Shiite Muslim tribes from central and southern Iraq met for the first time to discuss how they, as the country's religious majority, could help create a united Iraqi nation.
The New York Times, 7/08/03
We will be happy to get rid of Saddams face and this useless money.
Hillal Sultan, an Iraqi moneychanger, Agence France Presse, 7/08/03
We cant 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
This guy [Uday] had nothing to do with journalism but he saw it as a powerful way of trying to control the minds of the Iraqi people. He knew very well that most journalists were not supportive of his father. By day they did their jobs quietly.
By night many worked against the regime.
Saad al-Bazzaz, former head of Iraqi state television and current editor of the Azzaman Daily, 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
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
During the days of the old regime, only members of the Baath used to benefit and got what they wanted. This council has nothing to do with any regime because all of them are intellectuals and chosen by the people.
Angham Fakher, a hospital employee in Najaf, speaking about the new 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 cant imagine what you will discover.
Majed al-Ghazali, who now dreams of setting up a childrens music school in Iraq, Associated Press, 7/07/03
U.S.-U.K., Liberators of Iraq from Saddams Terror.
A banner hanging outside the entrance to central Suleimaniyah in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, 7/05/03
We feel liberated. Were very very happy.
Dana Mohammed, manager of a fast food restaurant in Suleimaniyah, Chicago Tribune, 7/05/03
Ive been like a blind man during Saddams time. Look at my hair. Its already turning gray, and I dont even know how to get on a plane at the airport yet. I havent done anything. Now the future is very different. Im free. I can travel, and no one will follow or arrest me.
Dana Mohammed, a 19-year-old Iraqi, 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
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
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 Baghdads Al-Alwiya Childrens Hospital, Agence France Presse, 7/03/03
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 Baghdads Al-Mustansiriya University, Agence France Presse, 7/03/03
The pictures of Saddam Hussein have been stripped from the yellowing walls of Baghdads cafes where men still getting used to the idea of life without his regime sit and discuss the New Iraq.
Agence France Presse, 6/27/03
A thousand thanks to Bush!
Abdel Karim Hassan, in Basra, The New York Times, 6/27/03
Iraqis are enthusiastically embracing the possibilities of a free media after years of heavy censorship. Alongside these do-it-yourself radio and TV stations, dozens of newspapers representing every kind of political viewpoint are suddenly available.
[Sami] Qaftan said he is preparing an Iraqi version of the 1960 drama The Confused Sultan, by Egyptian author Toufic al-Hakim. The story revolves around a leader who is given a choice between using the rule of law or the sword to prevent his people from criticizing him. Qaftan said the plays obvious parallels to Saddam Husseins regime made it impossible to stage until now.
Associated Press, 6/25/03
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
Liberated from 35 years of stilted official TV glorifying Saddam Hussein, Iraqis are snatching up satellite dishes by the thousands. Cartoons, fitness programs, movies and commercials are flooding into Iraqi living rooms. These days, in fact, when a favorite show comes on, Iraqis on rooftops yell to neighbors to alert them.
Associated Press, 6/25/03
Were like the blind who have been offered the gift of sight.
Mahabat Ahmad, an Iraqi who recently acquired satellite television, Associated Press, 6/25/03
Theyre buying them [satellites] like they buy bread. They say theyre buying freedom.
Mohammed al-Mulla, a worker at an Iraqi electronics store, Associated Press, 6/25/03
They [the news staff] never had a chance to do their own stories. There was no room for creativity. Ahmad al-Rikaby of the Iraqi Media Network, Associated Press, 6/25/03
Iraqis are emerging from decades in which all information was used as a mechanism of control. With official news sources tightly managed by Hussein's son, the Mukhabarat, or secret police, monitored and disseminated jokes and rumors using agents from its legendary Fifth Squad.
The Boston Globe, 6/25/03
I couldnt show it to people in the past because of the regime. Now I hang it up to show respect.
Abbas Fadel, who displays a picture of his brother, tortured and murdered by Saddam, Knight Ridder, 6/24/03
Please, find out all of Saddams crimes and let the whole world know about the reality of Saddam. He is the evilest man that I ever saw.
Basima Hamid, whose husband was hanged by Saddam for studying to be a sheik, Knight Ridder, 6/24/03
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
This is a new sense of freedom for us. We are not in a very secure society yet, but at least we can say whatever we like.
Firas Behnam, in Baghdad, Knight Ridder, 6/23/03
Saddam Husseins regime had banned free e-mail and live chat. Free e-mail would have dissuaded people from signing up for subscriptions to Iraqi Internet service providers. Now Iraqis are free to use the Internet as they like.
Knight Ridder, 6/23/03
As all industries are frozen, the Iraqis are now importing all kinds of things to make money. We are also no longer afraid that some official will force us to become partners and take part of our revenue.
Muhsin Saadoun, operator of a taxi company and importer of cars in Baghdad, Agence France Presse, 6/22/03
It was very expensive for Iraqis to buy cars and so the country was full of very old cars. The Iraqis now want to enjoy new cars.
A salesman in Iraq, Agence France Presse, 6/22/03
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
Interviews with dozens of Iraqis suggest that there is one force that unites them: an almost messianic belief in demokratiya.
The New York Times, 6/22/03
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
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
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. Im 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
Dr. Mowafak Gorea, director of the newly named Thawra Hospital in Baghdad (it used to be Saddam Hospital), believes the radical Shiites may get the attention, but everyone from Communists to Christians to unemployed engineers is doing the same thing: venting after decades of tyranny so suffocating that parents couldnt speak freely at home for fear their children might repeat something damning at school.
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 Iqraa bookstore in Baghdad, Associated Press, 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
Saddam would not allow us here; he would slay whoever came here. Its 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
I should have freedom to wear or not to wear the veil. I dont 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 Baghdads city hall, The Washington Post, 6/17/03
In a nation where the secret police often used threats against family members to blackmail citizens, many people didnt want to extend their families and give Saddams agents even more leverage over their lives. But now on Thursday evenings, hotels across Baghdad are pulsing with the beat of traditional drums and the shouts and songs of relatives welcoming honeymooning couples.
USA Today, 6/17/03
We are happy about the American occupation because it got rid of Saddam Hussein. But after all these years, Iraqi people need to understand democracy, and that it must come in stages.
Noor Hadi, and engineering instructor at Baghdad University, Chicago Tribune, 6/15/03
It was only an Arabic ten-pin bowling competition, but last week's tournament in the Gulf emirate of Qatar marked Iraq's first foray back into the international sporting arena since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein two months ago. Mahmood Abbas, the country's leading taekwondo coach, cannot wait to follow suit. Now, for the first time for nearly two decades, Iraqi players and trainers have no need to fear beatings or imprisonment if they fail to secure a high finish in an international competition or if one of their team-mates defects on an overseas trip.
London Daily Telegraph, 6/15/03
At least we are free. Iraq is dark, but free. Soon we will have both freedom and lights. This will be a very happy day.
Firas Sulieman, an Iraqi taxi driver, World Magazine, 6/14/03
"We are like newborn children. We are very, very happy."
Ali Hashem Jasim, in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, 6/13/03
"Bands of impoverished villagers upstream had cut the levees that Hussein built expressly to destroy Iraq's sprawling wetlands. Unshackled for the first time in years, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were now refilling thousands of acres of dry marsh."
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. Its 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
"In a country where the slightest criticism of Saddam's personality cult was treated as treason, and public adoration led to promotions and other rewards, almost no one dared to speak the truth him for more than 33 years. It took the sight of American tanks rolling through their cities to get many Iraqis talking freely about Saddam's reign."
Associated Press, 6/12/03
"We're trying to show the world that Iraqis have a great culture."
Hisham Sharaf, directing the Baghdad Symphony Orchestra in its first performance since the war, Agence France Presse, 6/12/03
"People want to see the truth about Saddam. Saddam always talked about his faith and what he was doing for the country, but the reality was different."
Ali Zowrayi, former torture victim who now sells copies of Saddam's home movies, 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 am Ahmed Hassan. Five members of my family were executed. I came here in order to help this neighborhood."
Ahmed Hassan, giving his candidacy speech for the district-wide council in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, 6/12/03
"Ibrahim Kadhim. I could not be appointed a teacher because I was not a member of the Baath Party so I worked as a merchant. I'd like to work on this committee to help set aside the past."
Ibrahim Kadhim, giving his candidacy speech for the district-wide council in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, 6/12/03
"The last few years have been a struggle for Iraq's leading boy band, the not unmemorably named Unknown To No One. Forced to rehearse in their car and record birthday greetings for Saddam Hussein rather than the love ballads they favor, the band members had difficulty finding their voice. But after the U.S.-led war that ousted Saddam, things are looking up."
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
Every day I buy a different paper. I like them all.
Ali Jabar, 28, picking up a Kurdish daily newly available in Iraq, Washington Post, 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
Newspapers are not the only forum being used to express political views in postwar Iraq. The walls of the capital once decorated with portraits of Saddam Hussein have become a battleground for competing ideas. They even show a sense of humor. In Baghdad this week, the following was neatly written in marker on the back of a double-decker bus: Very urgent, wanted: New president for Iraq.
Washington Post, 6/8/03
Things have changed. Theres not the same fear. I didnt see my future here before. Now, maybe I do.
Ardelan Karim, who unsuccessfully attempted to flee Iraq four times after escaping Saddams executioners, The New York Times, 06/05/03
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
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
"It is a good beginning. The people will feel better when their bellies are filled. They will calm down. They will see what is possible. Thank you, George Bush. Thank you, America.
Kissan Bahjet, distributing a new shipment of rations to his fellow Iraqis, The Washington Post, 06/02/03
I never allowed myself to live all these years. Every day I thought, now theyre 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
For the first time in Iraq, democratic processes are put in place to elect government officials. Democratic elections are a new phenomenon in todays 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
God willing, the guilty will be punished.
An elderly Iraqi man at the site of a mass grave, The Daily Telegraph (London), 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
I want to watch all of the world, all channels in the world. I want to watch freedom.
Mohammed al-Khayat, an Iraqi who just purchased his first satellite dish, The Baltimore Sun, 04/26/03
Freedom means that Saddam is no longer around.
Firas al-Dujaili, an Iraqi doctor, Associated Press, 5/29/03
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
No one knows what freedom means. When [we] were born, we opened our eyes to Saddam and everything was forbidden. Our life was all about fear.
Salima al-Majali, a citizen of Iraq, Associated Press, 5/29/03
All we have known is war, war and war. Everything was forbidden.
Suad al-Saham, a Shiite Muslim in Iraq, Associated Press, 5/29/03
I couldnt 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 Kirkuks new mayor, The New York Times, 5/29/03
What Naheda Muhammad Nage did to the textbook she uses to teach social studies here was just as dramatic as the toppling of Saddam Hussein statues or the looting of Saddam Hussein palaces that took place after the American-led invasion of Iraq. Ms. Nage used a pen to cross out passages that focused on Mr. Hussein, the Baath Party he represented and his many supposed achievements. It was an act that could have led to her death just a few months ago.
The New York Times, 05/28/03
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 Womens 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
Chosen by representatives of the various ethnic groups in town, the council meets twice a week to discuss everything from what to do with unexploded ordnance lying around town to what to do with the remaining Baathist functionaries. Trade with Syria has been reopened, schools are functioning, and police are patrolling together with the Americans.
Description of the city of Mosul, Christian Science Monitor, 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 towns new judges, The Washington Post, 5/21/03
The Iraqi people tried but failed to remove Saddam Hussein for 35 years. It was a difficult task, and we thank the Americans.
Sayyed Bashir al-Musawi, an Iraqi cleric in northern Baghdad, The Dallas Morning News, 5/20/03
Every day in Iraq a few more newspapers start publishing, taking advantage of the first freedom of speech most Iraqis have ever known.
The Times (London), 5/20/03
Now, for the first time, we can say what we want. We keep writing about the ex regime.
Fuaad Ghazy, editor of the new Iraqi newspaper The News, The Times (London), 5/20/03
Weve 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
"There is more freedom and more openness. ...we can express ourselves freely and without threats."
Ali al-Fatlawi, a former Iraqi government reporter who now writes for the independent Iraqi newspaper Assaah, Associated Press, 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
"Good, good, good."
Iraqi children called as they ran up to U.S. troops, Christian Science Monitor, 5/19/03
"We love you."
An Iraqi citizen in Mosul, speaking to L. Paul Bremer III, the new U.S. civilian administrator for Iraq, Los Angeles Times, 5/19/03
"As change settles over Iraqi society, one of the quieter shifts in the nuts and bolts of life is happening in school. Across the country, teachers are discarding portions of history books, abandoning patriotic education classes, and in some cases taking down flags."
The New York Times, 5/19/03
"We can say anything we want in public. Now were free."
Safaz al Hellou, an Iraqi teenager, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/19/03
"Some people say we issued declarations against the Americans. But they are lying. We want to thank the coalition troops. We want them to demonstrate the rebuilding. We will give them a chance to do that."
Ali Rubaii, a representative for one of the four most powerful clerics in Iraq, Washington Post, 5/15/03
"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
"The Iraqi teams used to produce the champions of Asia in many sports. They have declined since the arrival of Uday. Now we want to rebuild them with the help of the international community."
Sharar Haydar, president of the newly formed Free Iraq Olympic Group and one of Uday Hussein's former torture victims, The Guardian (London), 5/15/03
"For the residents of Baghdad, choosing what to read, watch or listen to is no longer such a simple affair. Following the collapse of the old regime, and a temporary media void, there are now dozens of newspapers on offer around the capital and in other major cities across the country." BBC, 5/14/03
"It was not the usual start to a new school term. Open your books and turn to page four, the teacher instructed the pupils sitting in the gloom of an unlit classroom. Obediently they flicked through the pages until they reached the familiar photograph of a smiling Saddam Hussein standing in front of an Iraqi flag. Now rip it out, the teacher said, to the astonishment of her pupils."
The Times (London), 5/14/03
"They couldn't leave one job for another without having both a letter from their old employer releasing them from their job and another letter from their new employer accepting them. It blows their minds when we tell them they should just do what they want, they don't need our permission or anybody else's to change jobs."
Sgt. Mark Hadsell, describing some Iraqis difficulties with freedom after living in a under Saddam Hussein, Scripps Howard News Service, 5/14/03
"Trained under the old government that put Uday Hussein, one of Saddams sons, in charge of the Union of Journalists, the reporters and editors of Al Azzaman are used to being forbidden to use certain words, like democracy, or to examine certain issues, like the oil industry. Almost every day, someone asks Mr. (Saad) Bazzaz if it is all right to criticize some public figure or another."
New York Times, 5/13/03
"The Americans did not come just to help the Kurds. (Still) it's great to be free."
Ryzgar Azhi , in an Erbil tea house, New York Times, 5/13/03
"This is the happiest moment we all felt. Its 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
"It is best the USA removed this criminal man (Saddam)."
Sheik Al-Bo Aiesa Muzahin Ali Kareem, a clan leader who turned over weapons in a gesture of good will, Associated Press, 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
"We want to know everything, not just about Iraq but about the whole world. Sales are very good. What was prohibited is wanted."
Amir abu Abdullah, an overnight dish salesman whose shop is his battered 1982 Chevrolet Celebrity, Los Angeles Times, 5/9/03
"The first time in my whole life I've seen such things. I feel free."
Yasir Abdul Razaq, 20, said while watching British news, Israeli news and a program from Abu Dhabi about lions, Los Angeles Times, 5/9/03
"In Iraqs heady new atmosphere of freedom, political parties have launched newspapers, radio stations and small private armies. They are scrambling to woo voters with promises of democracy, prosperity and free phone calls to relatives abroad. After three decades of official repression, a cacophonous jumble of long-dormant ideologies has come tumbling out into the daylight of the countrys unshackled political marketplace."
Chicago Tribune, 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
"Ihssan Wafiq Samarrai's greatest hopes now, he said, are to publish and to travel. Iraq's downtrodden writers and poets, who have endured a quarter-century of censorship and surveillance, could board a big ship, like Noah's Ark, he suggested, for a six-month trip around the globe. Even another desert, he said, would be a welcome change."
Washington Post, 5/8/03
"I have to be back in the country. It is an exciting time."
Widely read Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef, who has been exiled in London, USA Today, 5/8/03
"We cover local religious activities in the city and nearby provinces as far as we can. But we hope to improve and widen our coverage to include all such activities across Iraq. We need such productions. The Iraqis have been deprived over 35 years from watching religious programs."
Hassan Aday, Karbala TV channels religious program producer, Abu Dhabi TV, 5/7/03
"Watching the armed men stride past her bread stall, 60-year-old Lulwa Alwan gave a toothless smile. They are welcome, she said as she flattened balls of dough with both palms. A 30-year resident of the area, Alwan said during Saddam's regime, police would stay on the periphery of the (Hayyaniyah) housing area and avoid walking through a crime-ridden neighborhood altogether. They were afraid, she said, sniffing dismissively. We hope these soldiers will stay here for a long time."
Associated Press, 5/7/03
"It wasnt the fall of Baghdad. It was the rise of Baghdad."
Hasem Ali, 52, an Iraqi in London, Los Angeles Times, 5/7/03
"The exiles remember their tears and laughter, the festive phone calls and frantic channel-surfing to confirm their dream come true. And many recall the thought that raced through their minds with the strange speed of that statue tumbling down: Time to go home."
Los Angeles Times, 5/7/03
"[Schools] will have to change all the subjects. They were about only Saddam."
Abdul Kareem, a professor in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, 5/6/03
"We are happy, so happy. For us, this is the real meaning of freedom."
Basim Hajar, coauthor and director of a play criticizing Saddam Husseins regime performed in a building where -- before the war -- only works sanctioned by the government were allowed. Los Angeles Times, 5/5/03
"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
"Officials with the Iraqi National Team said they hoped to begin training soon for the Olympic qualification games to be held next month in Damascus, Syria. About 200 athletes and other sports officials planned a demonstration (May 5) in Baghdad to drum up support for an Iraqi sports federation to replace the one headed by Saddam Hussein's son, Uday. Uday is said to have tortured and killed athletes who failed to win or performed worse than expected."
New York Times, 5/5/03
"This is the first step on the road to democracy. I promise I will be a faithful soldier."
Ghanam al-Basso, newly elected as Mosuls mayor in Iraqs first vote since Saddam Hussein was ousted, New York Times, 5/5/03
"This is something I just cant forego. Ive been waiting for this moment for at least 30 years."
Fawaz Saraf, an Iraqi in Virginia who is headed to his homeland to help rebuild, Washington Post, 5/4/03
"I think they suffered a lot, and they lost a lot when Saddam came to power. They lost their country. They lost their comforts. They felt so powerless, and they saw such intense suffering by the people who couldnt leave the country. Its so important for him to rebuild it."
Magda Cabrero, Sarafs wife, 5/4/03
"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
"Before, so many books were forbidden -- anything that didnt agree with the regime. Which means practically everything that was ever printed!"
Imad Saad, a teacher selling books at a Baghdad street market, Los Angeles Times, 5/3/03
"Now, everyone is talking and talking and talking, without worrying, and without stopping. About absolutely everything."
Mohammed Hishali, Café proprietor in Baghdad, Los Angeles Times, 5/3/03
"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 Husseins 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
"You tell Mr. Bush I think he must be a Muslim for what he did for us.... This is God's land. Everyone deserves it. Every Christian, every Jew and every Muslim needs to live in peace -- and eat from God's gifts -- not from Saddam Hussein's hands." Abdul Razak al Naami, a sergeant in the Iraqi army until the Americans arrived, Knight Ridder, 4-29-03 "Saddam and his birthday were a black cloud over Iraq. We all want peace and freedom. He deprived us of these things."
Moayed al-Duleimi, Associated Press, 4-29-03
"Today is a day of happiness for me, because we got rid of him. He destroyed us. We ask God that he never returns, because we are happy and -- God willing -- things will be better."
Munhal Taleb, Associated Press, 4-29-03
"After the war, we will see our country change for the better, with freedom."
Jamila Jorj, a teacher in Baghdad,Washington Post, 4-29-03
"The resumption of school in Baghdad is the clearest sign of hope for the future that many Iraqis have had in years."
Washington Post, 4-29-03
"We had an open process of discussion among Iraqis that has made me really optimistic about the future. We heard a wide spectrum of views. This (political meeting) is something Iraqis have not been able to do in 45 years."
Feisal Istrabadi, Washington Post, 4-29-03
"Until this year, the birthday of Saddam required joyous, staged public festivals for the leader of the 35-year, iron-fisted regime. We would pretend we were happy, but on the inside we were sad."
Abdul Razak al Naami, Knight Ridder, 4-29-03
"Iraqi people have a double personality. One is me when I am in front of people related to the Baath Party, the secret services, the family of Saddam; I support them. Otherwise they would definitely put me in the jail or execute me. Among friends, people I know I can trust, I tell them what I really feel. Most Iraqis have that double personality."
Shafiq Qadoura, Newsday, 4-29-03
"The soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division received a much-needed and entirely unexpected treat when, after months of waiting, their convoy finally reached Baghdad: the sight of a Toyota filled with eight gleeful Iraqis, all waving and cheering. Then came thousands of other Iraqis, in cars and alongside the road, who hailed the U.S. Army troops as the Humvees passed through the city. The soldiers had missed most of the war after Turkey denied their division passage into northern Iraq from Turkish soil."
Los Angeles Times, 4-29-03
"America is like a new friend. I just met him. I must give him a chance."
Haidar Ali al-Assadi, New York Times, 4-28-03
"Freedom has been inside us all along. But until now we haven't practiced it."
Hamed Hussein, Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), 4-28-03
"We are here hopefully to put down the structure or agree on the skeleton of a government. We are here to represent Iraqi women, who have in the past played very little role in Iraqi politics."
Delegate Zainab al-Suwaij at a political meeting in Baghdad, 4-28-03
"The people today after they were liberated from Saddam want security and stability. People want real participation. I am participating in this conference because those who are concerned with Iraqi issues must hear the voice of the people."
Delegate Hussein Sadr at a political meeting in Baghdad, 4-28-03
"Coming home after years abroad, Iraqis hugged and kissed as the gathering began. In Baghdad? one delegate asked another in disbelief. Yes, in Baghdad, the other replied."
Associated Press, report of political meeting in Baghdad, 4-28-03
"Whenever we had those elections for president, everyone voted for him 100 percent. And today nothing will happen, and this will prove that none of us liked him, not a one."
Hussein al-Khafaji, an Iraqi air force colonel, Associated Press, 4-28-03
"Saddam was a criminal, a dictator, and fascist. I thank the Americans a lot -- we praise them for ending Saddam, with Gods help."
Khalid Rahim Hussein, Christian Science Monitor, 4-28-03
"On one patrol this week, a boy tending his father's small grocery grabbed Air Force Technical Sgt. Keith Westheimer's notebook and wrote a message in broken English, hoping someone with clout would see it: People Iraqi in Mosul need king leader of Mosul. People Iraqi very happy because Americans are here. Thank you. Karim Salah, 17 years old."
"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.'"
Washington Post, 4/25/03
"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.'"
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 guarding them.
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 butcher.
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 find.'"
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 have freedom."
ABC World News Tonight, 3-21-03