The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document
Operation Iraqi Freedom

For Immediate Release
October 22, 2003

Liberation Update

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 Saddam’s Brutality.


“Things are getting better in a visible way, day by day.”
--Ali al-Sharif, Iraqi restaurant manager, The New York Times, October 27, 2003


“We used to be very constricted. Now we are finally free to fulfill the duties which religion demands of us.”
--Talib Jasim al-Jassiri, Iraqi Shiite leader who is now has more freedom to practice his religion, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, October 27, 2003

“One time they [Baathist officials] fired my entire staff. I had to close. This doesn't happen anymore . . . we are free from pressure now.”
--Yossif Abod, candy store owner who was forced to fire southern Iraqis by government security officials during Saddam, The New York Times, October 27, 2003

“Before the trial was a parody. Someone would come into the court connected with the [Baathist] regime and [government officials would] say it was better not to sentence him.”
--Varrack Bassam, assistant Iraqi judge, who now enjoys freedom from the state when sentencing criminals, The New York Times, October 27, 2003

“I was being forced to serve in Saddam's army. If I'd deserted they would have tortured me. God, I hated it.”
--Ahmed al-Dhim, Iraqi date salesman, whose business is booming with the beginning of Ramadan, Christian Science Monitor, October 27, 2003

“One time they [Baathist officials] fired my entire staff. I had to close. This doesn't happen anymore ... we are free from pressure now.”
--Yossif Abod, candy store owner who was forced to fire southern Iraqis by government security officials during Saddam, The New York Times, October 27, 2003

“We feel safe when we see the patrol coming.”
--Suhab Jumaa, who serves as a live-in caretaker for an Iraqi school guarded by Coalition forces, Copley News Service, October 25, 2003

“I am happy to hear the news. Hopefully I can reach Karrada street (a busy commercial center) on the other side of the river in 15 minutes.”
--Ibrahim Abdullah, after the last closed bridge in Baghdad was opened to traffic by Coalition Provisional Authority, Xinhua News Agency, October 25, 2003

"Iraq has made many new friends in the last few days. The pledges we have had today will help us get back on our feet. They represent a huge investment by the international community in Iraq.”
--Ayad Allawi, President of the Iraqi Interim Governing Council, after receiving donations from the international community at the Madrid conference, Agence France Presse, October 25, 2003

"You can wander anywhere in Karbala today, and you will not see a rifle. Most of us have no problem with the coalition here.”
-- Lt. Col. Rassaq Abid Ali, Iraqi police chief in Karbala, Iraq, The Los Angeles Times, October 22, 2003  

“You're our heroes. You're our heroes!”
-- A crowd of Iraqis in a Baghdad tea shop, cheering for Iraqi police in search of kidnappers, Agence Free Press, October 21, 2003

“It is the first Ramadan celebrated in freedom.”
-- Sheikh al-Araji, a Shiite cleric, who, like all Shiites, was not allowed to celebrate the Muslim holy day under Saddam, Agence Free Press, October 21, 2003  

“Security has improved by 60 percent, he [Mohammed Hayawi] said somewhat arbitrarily. He makes six, maybe seven times more money than he did two months ago, selling long-banned books from Lebanon and Iran. The Americans deserve some credit, he said, but Iraqis deserve far more, their resilience honed by decades of hardship.”
-- Anthony Shadid, in an interview with Mohammed Hayawi, Baghdad bookstore owner, The Washington Post, October 22, 2003  

“Within two to six months, US soldiers should be positioned at their bases outside the cities and the [Iraqi] police would call on them if they need help.”
-- Ibrahim Junbari, aid to Iraqi Governing Council President, Agence Free Press, October 21, 2003  

“I wanted to do something good for Iraq.”
-- Tahir al-Shamri, 27, a trainee in the new Iraqi Civilian Defense Corp which will provide internal security to Iraq, Associated Press, October 20, 2003  

“We are exporting 1 million barrels [of oil] a day, and it will be double that by the end of the second quarter of next year. It will be 6 million barrels a day by the end of the decade. We have the human resources in Iraq to achieve that, and the international investment will also be there.”
-- Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, Iraqi oil minister, The Houston Chronicle, October 19, 2003  

“This city in southern Iraq [Nasiriyah] saw some of the fiercest fighting of the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein. Yet today the most visible uniform here is not military, but the bright blue overalls of new municipal workers on an urban beautification project. Life, residents say, is getting better.”
-- Tyler Marshall and John Daniszewski, The Los Angeles Times, October 19, 2003  

“Nearly everywhere, Iraqis said delivery of essential services such as electricity, potable water and emergency health care is gradually improving. Gas station lines have shortened, more members of the coalition-trained Iraqi police are on the streets, courts have begun operating, and schools have reopened – many refurbished and newly equipped. Fledgling media have sprouted in many communities, and local and provincial governing councils have started work.”
-- Tyler Marshall and John Daniszewski, The Los Angeles Times, October 19, 2003  

“I hope women will have a good future in Iraq. They are tired, they are sad, they are trapped in the house . . . We have a lot of women who are educated, active, who quit college because society was so repressive. Now they are coming back.”
-- Munther Gorbas Hussein, 45, who attended a meeting of the League of Iraqi Women, a women’s rights group, with his wife, The Miami Herald, October 19, 2003

“When they say it's an occupation, I say, and why wasn't Saddam? I get frustrated with that. Every day without Saddam is a blessing. I think I can speak for Iraqis on that. Impatience is going to do us injustice.”
-- Ban Saraf, Iraqi-American who is teaching Iraqis about town hall democracy, Christian Science Monitor, October 8, 2003

“We have a circulation of 50,000 in Baghdad, another 15,000 in Basra, each edition carrying 12 pages of foreign and Arab news and eight of local news. It's good to feel like a real journalist at last.”
-- Saad al-Bazaz, editorial supervisor of the Baghdad newspaper Az-Zaman, The Independent (London) October 7, 2003

“From our perspective, we are so excited the United States went in and are trying to help the Iraqi people. The majority of Iraqis are very happy that Saddam Hussein is out of there.”
-- Basila Sulaka Graham, Iraqi Chaldean American who immigrated to the United States at the age of seven, Desert News (Salt Lake City, Utah), October 7, 2003

“Until now, we were denied mobile phones. Iraqis will welcome the chance to use mobile phones to talk to their families, friends and for business.”
-- Haider Jawad al-Aubadi, Iraqi Communication Minister, after contracts were award to cellular phone providers, Associated Press, October 6, 2003

“Praises be to God, it's finally safe to come out again.”
-- Haider Saffa, Iraqi tool salesman who is now free to speak his mind at a Baghdad café without fear of Saddam informers, Christian Science Monitor, October 6, 2003

“They've got more Iraqis out on the streets as police now, and that's making a difference. We've got to return to a normal life.”
-- Haider Saffa, Iraqi tool salesman, who now stays out until the extended midnight curfew in Baghdad, Christian Science Monitor, October 6, 2003

“Whatever bad thing you heard [about life under Hussein] multiply it by 10. Those of you who lived outside cannot possibly fathom what we went through living under his rule.”
-- Yaser, Iraqi tourism agent, Washington Post, October 5, 2003

“Before the war, the main [race horse] track in Baghdad was run as a private club by a group of Saddam's cronies. Today, the crowd is much more eclectic, some Iraqis said, with Arabs in traditional robes, Shias in Iraqi dress and men dressed like American racetrack touts milling about. One group was missing. There were no American soldiers who had been providing security at the track until recent days. Now, Iraqi policemen were watching.”
-- Micheal Hedges, The Houston Cronicle, October 5, 2003

“The streets of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul bustle with commerce. Restaurants are filled late into the night as the heat of summer abates along with the fear of crime. Schools, many refurbished with the help of Americans, reopened last week. New textbooks, cleansed of Saddam Hussein's image, are being printed. The curfew has been extended an hour, until midnight.”
--Patrick Tyler, New York Times, October 5, 2003

“Now we are savouring freedom.”
-- Rajaa al-Khuzai, member of Iraqi Governing Council, Agence France Presse, October 2, 2003

“Before we write as they tell us, now we write what we believe. I feel I am happier now. I am now really a journalist. For 27 years I was working, but now it’s very different.”
-- Nada Shawket, writer at Azaman Newspaper, FOX News, October 1, 2003

“Things are getting better day by day.”
-- Chato Mohammed, manager of Victory Theater in Baghdad, Associated Press, October 1, 2003

“She was supposed to draw a line through a photograph of Saddam to show the printer what to remove. But when she put her pen at the corner of the picture she couldn't bring herself to make the line. I said, ‘Don't be afraid, bring the line down.’ She went halfway and stopped. I ordered her again, and finally she made it all the way. She looked up and said, ‘I can't believe I was able to do that.’”
-- Fuad Hussein, an advisor to the Ministry of Education helping Iraqi teachers edit textbooks for the new school year, New York Times, October 1, 2003

“We used to teach our kids and our students to have a double face policy. That is to say that when we whisper to each other we talk the truth, but when we talk, we talk something different.”
-- Iraqi, FOX News, October 1, 2003

“I will seek the presidency of the republic and there is nothing that can deny me this.”
-- Emmanuel Baba Dano, better known as “Ammo Baba” (Uncle Baba), a famous Iraqi soccer player and coach, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, October 1, 2003

“Suffocated by years of military dictatorship and UN sanctions, Iraq's movie industry is staging its first post-war come back with a feature film shot amid the rubble of Baghdad and the US-led occupation.”
-- Rouba Kabbara, Agence France Presse, October 1, 2003

“The future, I think, is brighter,”
-- Jaber Bustan, an English teacher who’s salary rose from $13 a month to $180 after the fall of Saddam, Associated Press, October 1, 2003.

“We want the exercise to teach students and teachers that the days of fear are finished.”
-- Fuad Hussein, an adviser to the Ministry of Education, who has been supervising the de-Baathication of textbooks, New York Times, October 1, 2003

“The lessons would be so boring and stupid, but we had no choice. Anyone who laughed would be punished.”
-- Rand Amir, a fifth grade student in Iraq whose classmates celebrated Saddam’s fall by ripping out pictures of Saddam from their textbooks and throwing them out the window, New York Times, October 1, 2003

“When we taught about bacteria in biology class, we explained that Saddam brought antibacterial soap and drugs into Iraq. Whenever his name was mentioned, it had [to] be followed with ‘God protect him and keep him our president.’”
-- Nada al-Jalili, an elementary-school teacher at the Tigris School for Girls in Baghdad, New York Times, October 1, 2003

“We are beginning all over again with the athletes, with the youth. We are doing our best to rebuild sports in Iraq, and it will take time. But you will see.”
-- Ah Hassan, Iraqi Olympic track and field coach, Newsday, October 1, 2003

“Iraqis are very eager to read and express themselves and it is very good for Iraqis to have more than one newspaper to express what they want to say.”
-- Iraqi newspaper employee, FOX News, October 1, 2003

“No one else helped us, only the Americans. I want to say thank you to so many people across an ocean. We shall take good care of this school.”
-- Mahmud Al-Jaburi, Iraqi police General, Associated Press, October 1, 2003.

“It is not ideal, but then it was not ideal in Saddam’s time. Psychologically, we are much better today.”
-- Mahdi Jasim Moosa, hospital director in Al-Yarmuk, Time, October 1, 2003

"I used to think that if a boy didn't come to class day after day I should just have him expelled. But maybe there's a reason he is not coming that I should look into, like his parents making him work."
-- Khaled Hinaidi, a young teacher from Diwaniyah, Iraq, after attending American seminar on new instructional methods, Christian Science Monitor, September 29, 2003

"When we were in prison we could only think of survival. But now Saddam has gone, we have democracy in place of dictatorship and I am proud to be playing my part. Like a new school term, it's a fresh start for all of us."
-- Khairiya Hatim, Iraqi town councilor who was imprisoned at the age of six because her family belonged to a banned opposition party, Sunday Telegraph (London), September 28, 2003

"For the sake of my father and all the others whom Saddam killed, we are trying to make a better Iraq. After 35 years of tyranny, it is not easy and there are many problems, but I think the future will be bright."
-- Kahiriya Hatim, Iraqi town councilor, Sunday Telegraph (London), September 28, 2003

"At the age of six, Khairiya Hatim became one of Saddam Hussein's youngest political prisoners, jailed with her whole family for four years in a desert camp for their allegiance to a banned opposition party. Twenty-one years later, she is one of the faces of the new Iraq, a town councillor in a country where unmarried young women normally play little part in public life."
-- Philip Sherwell, Sunday Telegraph (London) September 28, 2003

"The cascade of bad news from Iraq leaves a returning visitor unprepared for a small surprise here: Compared to six months ago when the war ended, the Iraqi capital is cleaner and more orderly.… Electricity in the city remains spotty, but it is now on more than off. There are still lines at gas stations, but they are shorter. Stores are stocked with goods, and restaurants that used to close at dusk for fear of bandits now stay open until 9. … The U.S. military is less visible than six months ago. There are occasional army patrols, and there is a huge military presence out of sight at the airport and in other encampments. But this looks less like a city under occupation."
-- Mary Beth Sheridan, The Washington Post, September 28, 2003

"The U.S.-led coalition has rushed to introduce changes in the education system, with the idea that it will help create democracy in post-war Iraq. Teachers’ salaries were increased almost immediately after the war to about $160 a month – a small fortune for those used to earning $15 a month, plus daily tips from students looking for higher grades."
-- Vivienne Walt, The Toronto Star, September 28, 2003

"The U.S. Army for the first time Saturday gave Iraq's provisional government responsibility for patrolling a stretch of the country's borders – a sensitive, 210-mile region of forbidding desert frontier between Iraq and Iran. The transfer was significant … the border is a popular crossing point for illegal Iranian pilgrims en route to Shiite holy sites, raising fears that al-Qaida or other terrorists could sneak through in disguise."
-- Patrick Quinn, Associated Press, September 27, 2003

"Kirkuk, a multi-ethnic city of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Assyrians that is 150 miles north of the capital, may be the U.S. military's greatest Iraq success story. Attacks on soldiers are rare, violent crime rates are low and Iraqis have worked with Americans to restore basic services to pre-war levels."
--Knight Ridder Newspapers, September 26, 2003

"We love the Americans here. They have done many good things. Kirkuk [Iraq] is a stable city."
--Mustafa Adna, 18, a Turkmen fruit vendor, Knight Ridder Newspapers, September 26, 2003

"They [American forces] are dealing with people in a good way."
--Fatah Mohammed, 47, Knight Ridder Newspapers, September 26, 2003

"Evidence is emerging that Iraqis are beginning to profit from the lifting of sanctions after the US-led war by discovering the pleasures of health and beauty products and activities which until recently were prohibited."
-- The Daily Telegraph, September 25, 2003

"Now we make the decisions. Before the war, Saddam Hussein's relatives were untouchable."
--1st Lt. Basel Misfer, Iraqi police, Christian Science Monitor, September 24, 2003

"We [are] happy ... because when we switch on the television you never see Saddam Hussein. That's a big happy for the Iraqi people."
--Talib, an Iraqi who works for the state tobacco company, FoxNews, September 24, 2003

"Our Iraqi people continue in their life because the life not stop because the war."
--Anham, bride who no longer needs Baath party approval to get married, FoxNews, September 24, 2003

"If it wasn't for the American Army, Iraq would be very bad. The strong would eat the weak."
--Rakad Mijbil Rakad, staff sergeant in the new Iraqi Army, Christian Science Monitor, September 23, 2003

"Since Baghdad collapsed you see so many young men out playing soccer. When Saddam Hussein was in power, the young men were forced into the army or into other state things. He imposed himself on even the tiniest things in our lives. He's gone and we have more space in our lives, and the boys find freedom to play what they love."
--Ibrahim Khalil, an Iraqi soccer coach, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2003

"It's all changed since the war. We play with full freedom now."
--Mohammed Haider, youth soccer player, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2003

"For security and peace, I want the coalition army to stay. There will be even more chaos if they leave."
--Tahsin Sady, artist and factory worker, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2003

"I tried to play soccer under Saddam's regime. But if you didn't have the right relatives or friends you were kicked out of the soccer clubs. That’s how it worked."
--Mohammed Abdul Amir, youth soccer player, Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2003

"This is one of my happiest days. Now we have a government of ministers. We do not have to fear."
--Muhyi K. Alkateeb, Governing Council Secretary, September 4, 2003

"The Americans did us the biggest favor of our lives, so we can say nothing against them. I gave them flowers when they entered the city."
--Qais Abbas Hassan, Iraqi ironsmith, The Washington Post, August 28, 2003

"Iraqis are these days pursuing Saddam to revenge themselves on him and on his gruesome deeds. They want to avenge their dignity, which Saddam and his henchmen wanted to deny indefinitely."
--Al Watan (Iraq) newspaper editorial, August 26, 2003

"Iraq used to be a developed country, and it will be again. It's a very rich country."
-- Sami Thami, acting director of Islam Bank in Baghdad, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2003

"Before the war people were nervous. They didn't know the future. Now they feel it's time to buy."
-- Noel Jonan, manager of an appliance store in Baghdad, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2003

"I was quite afraid. Now we can offer much more, and so people buy more."
-- Mohammed Kassim, who now sells once-banned movies and CDs at his Baghdad shop, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2003

"I'm satisfied that Iraq will change into a free economic market."
-- Humam Shamaa, a Baghdad University economics professor, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2003

"We have no experience in this, governing a democracy. It's a little like raising a child. But we can do it."
-- Nasir Chaderchi, member of the Iraqi Governing Council, The New York Times, August 12, 2003

"Saddam is gone. His prisons and palaces are gone. Look at all the happy faces of the people."
-- Song sung by Iraqis greeting relatives returning from exile, The New York Times, August 11, 2003

"Now we have freedom in all ways. But the freedom has its own limits."
-- Abdul Rahman al-Murshidi, a comic actor in Iraq, The New York Times, August 10, 2003

"The day they buried Uday Hussein was the day Iraqi football rose again. High in the mountains of southern Saudi Arabia the nation whose players had been tortured for years by Saddam's psychotic son have rediscovered their pride, dignity and ability not only to win again but also to play without fear."
-- The Independent (London), August 10, 2003

"It is as if a great weight has been lifted from us. No more terror in our players' eyes. No more returning home to pain and humiliation if our boys are defeated. Now we are free to play the game all Iraqis love as we would wish."
-- Ali Riyah, an Iraqi sports journalist and former torture victim, The Independent (London), August 10, 2003

"Under Uday we lost all contact with the football world. He did not allow courses for referees or coaches, no books to help us. Now we are free again and must look to the future."
-- Najah Hryib, president of the new Iraqi Football Federation, The Independent (London), August 10, 2003

"We have not yet decided on the day, but it will probably be at the beginning of October. We will start by mid-October for sure."
-- Hatim Attila al-Rubayi, deputy president of Baghdad University, on resuming classes, Al-Bawaba, August 10, 2003

"Me, I love the Americans."
-- Atheer al-Ani, who runs a video store in Baghdad, The New York Times, August 8, 2003

"Sometimes I think the only reason I survived was to tell people what happened. It has been a long time, but I think now I can be happy. Saddam is in the dustbin of history, and the black cloud has gone from the Iraqi sky."
-- Wais Abdel Qadr, survivor of the chemical attacks on Halabja, The Washington Post, August 7, 2003

"Saddam wanted to kill us all, but now he's gone and the Americans have come to bring us law and democracy."
-- Jamil Azad, owner of a tea shop in Halabja, The Washington Post, August 7, 2003

"Halabja was once a beautiful and historic place. We had famous poets, and we took many heroic stands. When Saddam fell, everyone here fired shots in the air."
-- Jamil Abdulrahman Mohammed, mayor of Halabja, The Washington Post, August 7, 2003

"We can't just fight the US because they are American; the people must give them a chance. Before the war, we couldn't have the internet, satellite TV or sat phones. There is all this technology in the world that we have been denied."
-- Mohammed Suphi, an Iraqi interpreter for the Americans, The Age (Melbourne), August 7, 2003

"In the 35 years that he ruled, Saddam poisoned Iraqis about the US. The Americans have been here for only four months ... The Kuwaitis worked with the US for 13 years to fix their war damage ... so we have to be patient."
-- Omar al-Captain, an Iraqi interpreter for the Americans, The Age (Melbourne), August 7, 2003

"Sometimes, when they [neighbors] see me, they think I am a ghost. They look and say, 'You live!'"
-- Dr. Ibrahim al-Basri, Saddam's former physician who was imprisoned for 13 years after refusing to join the parliament, The Boston Globe, August 7, 2003

"I am fighting for democracy. I am going to do my best. I am not afraid of any person. The only one I'm afraid of is God."
-- Ibrahim al-Jaafari, first president of the Governing Council, Chicago Tribune, August 7, 2003

"We suffered 35 years. Now the best job is done, there is no more Saddam Hussein and his regime."
-- Yonadam Kanna, leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and member of the Governing Council, Christian Science Monitor, August 7, 2003

"I did not think this day would come. It is a great thing."
-- Sadiq Al Mosawy, an exile returning to Iraq from Australia, Herald Sun (Melbourne), August 6, 2003

"Baghdadis now freely surf the Internet and send e-mail without a government official pacing behind them."
-- The New York Times, August 5, 2003

"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, August 5, 2003

"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, August 5, 2003

"I can put my head on the pillow and sleep deeply. I can rest now."
-- Ayad Hosni, a barber in Baghdad, Knight Ridder, August 5, 2003

"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 [cafe] 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, August 5, 2003

"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, August 5, 2003

"I can't be optimistic or pessimistic. I don't want to say we can do it or we'll do it well. But the way we've suffered in the past 30 years, we will try to create a new way."
-- Jafar Adel Amr, at the Shabandar cafe in Baghdad, Chicago Tribune, August 5, 2003

"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, August 5, 2003

"Iraq is now free and the hawza [or religious school] in Najaf enjoys a free environment like never before, where we can discuss anything and new ideas will certainly flourish."
-- Ayatollah Seyed Hassan Khomeini, grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, The Wall Street Journey, August 4, 2003

"He's a bad guy who has been suppressing his people for 35 years. He needed to go."
-- Nizar A. Zhaiya, who recently returned to his native Iraq, Associated Press, August 4, 2003

"I used to serve sick people, but when I discovered my country was sick I came to politics. I hope to see my country treated, so I can return to a hospital and put my stethoscope back on."
-- Ibrahim al-Jafari, current president of the Iraqi Governing Council, Associated Press, August 4, 2003

"If Saddam had stayed in his seat, we would have gone to a third or fourth war. He made us go from war to war."
-- Omar Hussein al-Azawi, an Iraqi soldier who lost his legs in the invasion of Kuwait, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 3, 2003

"For the first summer in several years, Iraqis ages 12 to 14 are not attending military-style boot camps that Saddam Hussein used as indoctrination into his oppressive machine."
-- Chicago Tribune, August 3, 2003

"We have to be ashamed that we allowed children to go through that [Saddam's summer camps]. But we had no choice, only to go along."
-- Zayneb Waleed Babab, a teacher at an Iraqi orphanage, Chicago Tribune, August 3, 2003

"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."
-- Uday's former bodyguard, Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2003

"Freedom is much sweeter. I can get up in the morning and decide whether I want to shave or not; if someone in my family is sick, I can stay home with them. I don't need to ask permission."
-- Salim Kasim, one of Uday's chief mechanics, Los Angeles Times, August 2, 2003

"It brings us to the future, this train."
-- Mohsin al Naif, watching the first train pull into Rabiyah in over a year, Associated Press, July 31, 2003

"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, July 31, 2003

"We didn't believe these things, but we had to say them. Saddam was there in all the books, even the math books."
-- Ghada Jassen, a fifth grade teacher in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2003

"We don't want patriotic education anymore. Nothing about war. We want flowers and springtime in the texts, not rifles and tanks."
-- Dunia Nabel, a teacher in Baghdad, Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2003

"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, July 31, 2003

"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 Sa'ad Majid al Musowi, a businessman on Baghdad's city council, Chicago Tribune, July 31, 2003

"This is where all the money went-all our money went. I am astonished and angry."
-- Salih Fadhil, viewing Saddam's palace in Tikrit, The Daily Telegraph (London), July 31, 2003

"It just reminded me of how powerful Saddam was."
-- Mudhfar Awad, after seeing Saddam's palace in Tikrit, The Daily Telegraph (London), July 31, 2003

"Water is returning to the Mesopotamian marshlands, turned into salt-encrusted desert by Saddam Hussein."
-- The Christian Science Monitor, July 31, 2003

"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, July 31, 2003

"We have full freedom to print anything we want. The coalition doesn't interfere in our work but, of course, we have our own red lines.

" Ishtar el Yassiri, editor of the new satirical Iraqi newspaper Habez Bouz."
-- Financial Times (London), July 31, 2003

"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), July 31, 2003

"It is like the soul coming back to the body."
-- Ibrahim Abdullah, a refugee returning to Iraq, The Times (London), July 31, 2003

"Since Iraq's 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 Iraq-better 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 power-85 percent of the pre-war level."
-- National Post (Canada) commentary, July 29, 2003

"The tension is reducing every day. We are seeing a change. People are starting to realize that the soldiers are not here to occupy Fallujah forever-they're here to help us rebuild."
-- Taha Bedawi, mayor of Fallujah, The Washington Post, July 29, 2003

"It's a chance to defend our country for our people. It's good to work with the American soldiers. They give us new training and a mutual respect."
-- Omar Abdullah, a recruit for Mosul's newly formed joint security group, Associated Press, July 29, 2003

"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, July 29, 2003

"We're happy, we're rid of Saddam Hussein; the torture and executions of 35 years are over. We should wait to see what the Americans will do."
-- Ahmed Abdel-Sahib, in Najaf, The Washington Post, July 28, 2003

"Most Iraqis aren't worried we'll stay too long; they're petrified we'll leave too soon."
-- Paul Gigot, The Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2003

"There is a certain harmony. But you can not rebuild a city or country-a country destroyed by war-in one month."
-- Mohammed Tahar al-Abid Rabu, a member of the Mosul city council, Agence France-Presse, July 28, 2003

"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, July 27, 2003

"For the first time I feel really free."
-- Latif Yahia, Uday's former double, after hearing of Uday's death, Agence France-Presse, July 26, 2003

"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, July 25, 2003

"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, July 25, 2003

"We heard about Uday and Qusay being killed and, frankly, we are happy."
-- Fadil Abbas, in the Sadr City suburb of Baghdad, Associated Press, July 24, 2003

"We felt better after the regime fell, now we are really happy-we have been freed from our nightmare."
-- Alaa' Kathem, an Iraqi soccer player who had been punished for losing games, Financial Times (London), July 24, 2003

"If it's really him, we will be so very happy. We will be able to start a new regime of Olympic sport in Iraq. OK, he's gone. We start a new life."
-- Jaffer al-Muthafer, an Iraqi soccer player, Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2003

"Iraq is now free from torture. Free from Uday."
-- Amu Baba, a legendary soccer star in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2003

"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), July 24, 2003

"My father died because of Saddam. I don't want to speak about the reasons. But I was so happy. I was at home when I saw it on the TV. I woke up my aunts and told them the good news. I used to hate those guys so much and so I felt so at ease in my heart."
-- Osama Zaid, a distant cousin of Uday, after learning of Uday's death, Newsday (New York), July 24, 2003

"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), July 22, 2003

"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, July 22, 2003

"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, July 22, 2003

"Even the blind can see what Saddam Hussein did, taking Iraq into so many wars and doing little even for this town, no sports club, no decent hotels."
-- Wail al-Ali, Tikrit's new mayor, The Guardian, July 22, 2003

"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), July 22, 2003

"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), July 22, 2003

"We don't 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, July 22, 2003

"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 July 21, 2003

"We are flying with happiness since Saddam is gone."
-- Zahar Hassan, in Iraq, Agence France-Presse, July 21, 2003

"There's more opportunity, more chances to earn money."
-- Um Khalid, on life in post-Saddam Baghdad, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2003

"There is a lack of security, but psychologically, things are better, because freedom is nice."
-- Ali Shaban, in Iraq, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2003

"Let the Americans stay, they protect us. I don't see them hurting anyone."
-- A mother living in Baghdad, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2003

"Before it was all about Saddam and his followers. Now there are different topics."
-- Hassan Ali, on the Iraqi newspapers, The Christian Science Monitor, July 21, 2003

"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, July 21, 2003

"[Uday] was a bad man, and he used to beat the soccer players if they lost a game. I think he used to treat the lions better than the people."
-- Mussab Ismas, a 13-year old boy, viewing Uday's lions at the Baghdad zoo, The Washington Post, July 21, 2003

"But the shock for a first time visitor to Iraq is that the destruction committed by Saddam's 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, July 21, 2003

"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, July 21, 2003

"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, July 21, 2003

"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 Party's seizing power, Agence France-Presse, July 17, 2003

"But I blame the Baath [for problems with security and infrastructure]. It's not the Americans' fault. I like the Americans."
-- Nuri Mansour, in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 17, 2003

"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, July 17, 2003

"During the Baath Party's time we didn't see 1,000th of Iraq's wealth come to us."
-- Yasua, an Iraqi man in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 17, 2003

"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, July 16, 2003

"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, July 16, 2003

"The Governing Council is a step towards building a free, democratic Iraq."
-- Iraqi newspaper Al-Zawra, July 15, 2003

"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, July 15, 2003

"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, July 14, 2003

"I helped deliver thousands of Iraqi babies, and now I am taking part in the birth of a new country and a new rule based on women's rights, humanity, unity and freedom."
-- Raja Habib al-Khaza'i, the director of an Iraqi maternity hospital and a member of the Governing Council, Associated Press, July 13, 2003

"The formation of this council which represents all sectors of Iraqi society is the birth of democracy in the country. It is better than Saddam's government of destruction and dictatorship."
-- Razzak Abdul-Zahra, a 35-year-old engineer in Baghdad, Associated Press, July 13, 2003

"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, July 13, 2003

"This is a great day. It's unbelievable."
-- Yonadam Kanna, an Assyrian Christian on the Iraqi Governing Council, Associated Press, July 13, 2003

"It's a hard situation. But now that Saddam has fallen, it's OK. We can wait for the future now."
-- Muhammed Abdul al Sudani, the night watchman at a school in Baghdad, Baltimore Sun, July 13, 2003

"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, July 13, 2003

"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, July 13, 2003

"Saddam is gone, he's history, he's never coming back."
-- Mohammed Barhul Uloom, at the first meeting of the new Iraqi Governing Council, Agence France-Presse, July 13, 2003

"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, July 13, 2003

"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, July 12, 2003

"He [Saddam] occupied Iraq for 25 years. It's not important that the Americans are here. What is important is that they got rid of Saddam Hussein. Now I feel free."
-- Fadil Emara, a shopkeeper in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 12, 2003

"My optimism grows ten-fold every day. We've got a wonderful and brilliant future in front of us."
-- Fadil Emara, a shopkeeper in Baghdad, Agence France-Presse, July 12, 2003

"In Saddam's time, the mere act of pointing at something-a building, a person-risked attracting the attention of a secret policeman. Now people freely jab their index fingers on the streets. To a visitor returning, it's something of a shock."
-- Associated Press, July 12, 2003

"It's a dream for me to participate."
-- Afrah Abas, an Iraqi archer competing in the 42nd World Archery Championships, Associated Press, July 12, 2003

"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 monarchy-the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein."
-- Aladdin Sabih, an Iraqi living in the Czech Republic, Czech News Agency, July 12, 2003

"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 numbers-but fewer styles-of men's and children's shoes are open for business."
-- Winston-Salem Journal, July 12, 2003

"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, July 8, 2003

"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, July 8, 2003

"We will be happy to get rid of Saddam's face and this useless money."
-- Hillal Sultan, an Iraqi moneychanger, Agence France-Presse, July 8, 2003

"We can't train staff fast enough. People are desperate here for a neutral free press after 30 years of a totalitarian state."
-- Saad al-Bazzaz, editor of the Azzaman Daily in Baghdad, The Independent (London), July 8, 2003

"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), July 8, 2003

"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, July 8, 2003

"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, July 7, 2003

"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, July 7, 2003

"We were like a tightly covered pot which no one knew what it contained. Now that the cover has been removed, you can't imagine what you will discover."
-- Majed al-Ghazali, who now dreams of setting up a children's music school in Iraq, Associated Press, July 7, 2003

"U.S.-U.K., Liberators of Iraq from Saddam's Terror."
-- A banner hanging outside the entrance to central Suleimaniyah in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2003

"We feel liberated. We're very very happy."
-- Dana Mohammed, manager of a fast food restaurant in Suleimaniyah, Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2003

"I've been like a blind man during Saddam's time. Look at my hair. It's already turning gray, and I don't even know how to get on a plane at the airport yet. I haven't done anything. Now the future is very different. I'm free. I can travel, and no one will follow or arrest me."
-- Dana Mohammed, a 19-year-old Iraqi, Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2003

"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, July 3, 2003

"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, July 3, 2003

"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, July 3, 2003

"During the Saddam years, we did not even have hopes. We were living only to survive. Now I have lots of dreams and hopes."
-- Hansam Hassan, a pediatrician at Baghdad's Al-Alwiya Children's Hospital, Agence France-Presse, July 3, 2003

"When I see my female students, I see hopes in them. They will have more opportunities to travel and learn and have more control of their lives."
-- Bushra Jani, a professor at Baghdad's Al-Mustansiriya University, Agence France-Presse, July 3, 2003

"The pictures of Saddam Hussein have been stripped from the yellowing walls of Baghdad's cafes where men still getting used to the idea of life without his regime sit and discuss the 'New Iraq.'"
-- Agence France-Presse, June 27, 2003

"A thousand thanks to Bush!"
-- Abdel Karim Hassan, in Basra, The New York Times, June 27, 2003

"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."
-- BBC, June 27, 2003

"[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 play's obvious parallels to Saddam Hussein's regime made it impossible to stage until now."
-- Associated Press, June 25, 2003

"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, June 25, 2003

"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, June 25, 2003

"We're like the blind who have been offered the gift of sight."
-- Mahabat Ahmad, an Iraqi who recently acquired satellite television, Associated Press, June 25, 2003

"They're buying them [satellites] like they buy bread. They say they're buying freedom."
-- Mohammed al-Mulla, a worker at an Iraqi electronics store, Associated Press, June 25, 2003

"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, June 25, 2003

"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, June 25, 2003

"I couldn't 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, June 24, 2003

"Please, find out all of Saddam's 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, June 24, 2003

"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, June 23, 2003

"Saddam Hussein's 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, June 23, 2003

"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, June 22, 2003

"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, June 22, 2003

"I will run for mayor. Because we have freedom."
-- Dhirgham Najem, a 23-year-old busboy in Najaf, The New York Times, June 22, 2003

"Interviews with dozens of Iraqis suggest that there is one force that unites them: an almost messianic belief in 'demokratiya.'"
-- The New York Times, June 22, 2003

"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, June 21, 2003

"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, June 21, 2003

"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, June 18, 2003

"This is the freedom exhibition. I'm flying now."
-- Mohammed Rasim, a 29-year-old Iraqi artist who was finally able to show his paintings in an exhibit once Saddam fell, Associated Press, June 18, 2003

"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, June 18, 2003

"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 couldn't speak freely at home for fear their children might repeat something damning at school."
-- Associated Press, June 18, 2003

"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, June 17, 2003

"Why call us occupied? We are liberated."
-- Mohammed Hanash Abbas, co-owner of Iqra'a bookstore in Baghdad, Associated Press, June 17, 2003

"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, June 17, 2003

"Saddam would not allow us here; he would slay whoever came here. It's freedom now!"
-- Salah Maadi Khafaji, an Iraqi swimming in a part of the Tigris that had been off limits to ordinary Iraqis, Los Angeles Times, June 17, 2003

"I should have freedom to wear or not to wear the veil. I don't want to let these people dictate my thoughts. I am an educated woman. I am a religious woman. I know my duties to God."
-- Kawkab Jalil, a woman in Baghdad who decided to take off her veil, The Washington Post, June 17, 2003

"When I leave my job at night, I am very happy, very proud about myself. We must help the Americans, and show them our traditions."
-- Suhair Karmasha, the first Iraqi woman to work with the Americans at Baghdad's city hall, The Washington Post, June 17, 2003

"In a nation where the secret police often used threats against family members to blackmail citizens, many people didn't want to extend their families and give Saddam's 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, June 17, 2003

"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, June 15, 2003

"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, June 15, 2003

"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, June 14, 2003

"We are like newborn children. We are very, very happy."
-- Ali Hashem Jasim, in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, June 13, 2003

"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, June 13, 2003

"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, June 13, 2003

"Before, we saw Saddam on one channel, then we saw Saddam on another channel. When the signal went off, we'd hear Saddam. Even in our dreams, we heard his voice. It's better than before."
-- Tahir Sadeq, an Iraqi hotel manager, The Washington Post, June 13, 2003

"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, June 12, 2003

"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, June 12, 2003

"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, June 12, 2003

"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, June 12, 2003

"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, June 12, 2003

"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, June 12, 2003

"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, June 12, 2003

"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, June 12, 2003

"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, June 12, 2003

"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, June 8, 2003

"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, June 8, 2003

"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, June 8, 2003

"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, June 8, 2003

"Things have changed. There's not the same fear. I didn't see my future here before. Now, maybe I do."
-- Ardelan Karim, who unsuccessfully attempted to flee Iraq four times after escaping Saddam's executioners, The New York Times, June 5, 2003

"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), June 5, 2003

"We are all very happy and comfortable. This is the freedom we want."
-- Yizmak Askander Abu, a teacher in Rassalin, The Times (London), June 5, 2003

"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, June 2, 2003

"I never allowed myself to live all these years. Every day I thought, now they're going to come and take me. I was always waiting."
-- Nasir al-Husseini, 22, who survived a mass execution at age 10, The New York Times, June 1, 2003

"For the first time in Iraq, democratic processes are put in place to elect government officials. Democratic elections are a new phenomenon in today's Iraq. True democracy appears with the absence of dictatorships and tyranny."
-- The Iraqi newspaper Al Naba, June 1, 2003

"...[T]he Iraqi people are too happy that Saddam is gone. Too happy."
-- Salim, a citizen of Baghdad, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 1, 2003

"God willing, the guilty will be punished."
-- An elderly Iraqi man at the site of a mass grave, The Daily Telegraph (London), June 1, 2003

"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, May 30, 2003

"Freedom means that Saddam is no longer around."
-- Firas al-Dujaili, an Iraqi doctor, Associated Press, May 29, 2003

"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, May 29, 2003

"All we have known is war, war and war. Everything was forbidden."
-- Suad al-Saham, a Shiite Muslim in Iraq, Associated Press, May 29, 2003

"I couldn't teach the students the truth. I was unable to tell them that we were ruled by a dictator. If I did, my neck would be on the line."
-- Wijda Khalidi, an Iraqi schoolteacher, Associated Press, May 29, 2003

"I cannot describe how I am glad. After so many years of dictatorship, we have chosen our own leader."
-- Kemal Kerkuki, after participating in the election of Kirkuk's new mayor, The New York Times, May 29, 2003

"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, May 28, 2003

"Now that Iraq is free, we are demanding freedom and equal rights that Iraqi women have always been deprived of."
-- Eman Ahmed, member of the Rising Iraqi Women's Organization, Associated Press, May 21, 2003

"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, May 21, 2003

"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, May 21, 2003

"This is the first time in our lives we have experienced democracy. It is a beautiful thing. Everyone is excited. Everyone is here. ...Not complaining. Coming to vote."
-- Rabaab Mahmoud Kassar, a female attorney in Najaf who participated in the election of the town's new judges, The Washington Post, May 21, 2003

"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, May 20, 2003

"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), May 20, 2003

"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), May 20, 2003

"We've been living in jail for three decades. Now, we are free. Help is coming. Day by day, life is for the better."
-- Saddam Agil, grandfather of five and resident of Basra, USA Today, May 20, 2003

"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, May 19, 2003

"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, May 19, 2003

"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, May 19, 2003

"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, May 19, 2003

"Good, good, good."
-- Iraqi children called as they ran up to U.S. troops, Christian Science Monitor, May 19, 2003

"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, May 19, 2003

"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, May 19, 2003

"We can say anything we want in public. Now we're free."
-- Safaz al Hellou, an Iraqi teenager, The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 19, 2003

"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, May 15, 2003

"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), May 15, 2003

"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), May 15, 2003

"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, May 14, 2003

"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), May 14, 2003

"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, May 14, 2003

"Trained under the old government that put Uday Hussein, one of Saddam's 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, May 13, 2003

"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, May 13, 2003

"This is the happiest moment we all felt. It's a primordial feeling -- this tyrant coming down."
-- Yussra Hussen, San Francisco Chronicle, May 12, 2003

"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, May 12, 2003

"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, May 12, 2003

"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, May 12, 2003

"(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), May 11, 2003

"Beautiful, beautiful. Not Iraqi TV. Not Saddam Hussein TV. Beautiful."
-- Akhbal Ibrahim Rashid watching her satellite dish-equipped television, Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2003

"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, May 9, 2003

"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, May 9, 2003

"In Iraq's 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 country's unshackled political marketplace."
-- Chicago Tribune, May 9, 2003

"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, May 8, 2003

"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, May 8, 2003

"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, May 8, 2003

"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 channel's religious program producer, Abu Dhabi TV, May 7, 2003

"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, May 7, 2003

"It wasn't the fall of Baghdad. It was the rise of Baghdad."
-- Hasem Ali, 52, an Iraqi in London, Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2003

"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, May 7, 2003

"[Schools] will have to change all the subjects. They were about only Saddam."Abdul Kareem, a professor in Iraq, Chicago Tribune, May 6, 2003

"We are happy, so happy. For us, this is the real meaning of freedom."
-- Basim Hajar, coauthor and director of a play criticizing Saddam Hussein's regime performed in a building where -- before the war -- only works sanctioned by the government were allowed. Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2003

"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, May 5, 2003

"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, May 5, 2003

"We will keep on somehow. Now we have the most important thing that we need. There is no one to stop us from saying anything we want onstage."
-- Basim Hajar, coauthor and director of a play criticizing Saddam Hussein's regime performed in a building where -- before the war -- only works sanctioned by the government were allowed. Los Angeles Times, May 5, 2003

"This is the first step on the road to democracy. I promise I will be a faithful soldier."
-- Ghanam al-Basso, newly elected as Mosul's mayor in Iraq's first vote since Saddam Hussein was ousted, New York Times, May 5, 2003

"This is something I just can't forego. I've 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, May 4, 2003

"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 couldn't leave the country. It's so important for him to rebuild it."
-- Magda Cabrero, Saraf's wife, May 4, 2003

"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, May 4, 2003

"Before, so many books were forbidden -- anything that didn't 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, May 3, 2003

"Now, everyone is talking and talking and talking, without worrying, and without stopping. About absolutely everything."
-- Mohammed Hishali, Cafe proprietor in Baghdad, Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2003

"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, May 3, 2003

"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, April 29, 2003

"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, April 29, 2003

"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, April 29, 2003

"After the war, we will see our country change for the better, with freedom."
-- Jamila Jorj, a teacher in Baghdad,Washington Post, April 29, 2003

"The resumption of school in Baghdad is the clearest sign of hope for the future that many Iraqis have had in years."
-- Washington Post, April 29, 2003

"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, April 29, 2003

"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, April 29, 2003

"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, April 29, 2003

"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, April 29, 2003

"America is like a new friend. I just met him. I must give him a chance."
-- Haidar Ali al-Assadi, New York Times, April 28, 2003

"Freedom has been inside us all along. But until now we haven't practiced it."
-- Hamed Hussein, Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), April 28, 2003

"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, April 28, 2003

"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, April 28, 2003

"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, April 28, 2003

"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, April 28, 2003

"Saddam was a criminal, a dictator, and fascist. I thank the Americans a lot -- we praise them for ending Saddam, with God's help."
-- Khalid Rahim Hussein, Christian Science Monitor, April 28, 2003

"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.'"
-- Newsday, April 27, 2003

"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, April 26, 2003

"It is a happy day for us because we can pray freely. It has been a long time."
-- Mohamed Ghalib, Associated Press, April 25, 2003

"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, April 25, 2003

"It's 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. It's something that will never leave my mind.'"
-- Stars and Stripes, April 25, 2003

"We are free to do things that were forbidden before."
-- Ahmed Rubai, who sells previously banned satellite dishes, Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2003

"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, April 24, 2003

"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, April 24, 2003

"'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), April 24, 2003

"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, April 24, 2003

"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, April 23, 2003

"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, April 23, 2003

"This is the first time here for me. It is as if I am waking from a nightmare."
-- Mohammed Jabal, in a procession, Reuters, April 23, 2003

"We're still awaiting our freedom, but this is the first taste of it."
-- Adnan Abdel-Mohsin, Washington Post, April 23, 2003

"...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, April 23, 2003

"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), April 23, 2003

"Bush gives us freedom. He is giving us a future."
-- Abbas Ibrahim, Victoria Times-Colonist (Canada), April 23, 2003

"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, April 22, 2003

"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), April 22, 2003

"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, April 22, 2003

"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, April 22, 2003

"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, April 22, 2003

"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, April 22, 2003

"We are happy because we can follow our religion and Saddam Hussein is gone."
-- Ziat Haddi, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), April 22, 2003

"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, April 22, 2003

"I say thank you (U.S. President George W.) Bush and thank you (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair. Whatever the reason, if it wasn't for them, Saddam and his sons would be still around for another hundred years."
-- Mohsen Abdul Ali Zubei, Agence France-Presse, April 22, 2003

"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 April 22, 2003

"It was a great day...I never thought I would have this freedom."
-- Lt Sadeq Abdul Mohsen, deserted from Iraqi 63rd Infantry Brigade, Newsweek, April 21, 2003

"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, April 21, 2003

"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, April 17, 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, April 16, 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), April 16, 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), April 16, 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, April 16, 2003

"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, April 16, 2003

"'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, April 16, 2003

"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), April 14, 2003

"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, April 14, 2003

"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, April 14, 2003

"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, April 14, 2003

"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, April 14, 2003

"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, April 14, 2003

"(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, April 14, 2003

"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, April 14, 2003

"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), April 14, 2003

"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."
-- Time, April 14, 2003

"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.'"
-- Time, April 14, 2003

"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, April 14, 2003

"I'm happy, Iraq is free and Saddam is gone."
-- Ali Al-Hajavi, 17, The Canadian Press, April 13, 2003

"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, April 11, 2003

"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, April 11, 2003

"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, April 11, 2003

"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, April 11, 2003

"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, April 11, 2003

"As long as (Saddam) is gone, who cares if he is dead or in Paris?"
-- An elderly man in Iraq, The Advertiser, April 11, 2003

"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), April 11, 2003

"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, April 11, 2003

"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, April 11, 2003

"We are one again. Finally, we are one. I am 50 years old, but my life just started today."
-- Kareem Mohammad Kareem, Associated Press, April 11, 2003

"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, April 11, 2003

"This is a moment I was looking for all these years; it's like a dream coming true."
-- Ridha Jawad Taki, Orlando Sentinel, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"Now my son can have a chance in life."
-- Bushra Abed, Washington Times, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"We discovered that all what the information minister was saying was all lies. Now no one believes Al Jazeera anymore.
-- Ali Hassan, Associated Press, April 10, 2003

"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."
-- Newsweek, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"People, if you only knew what this man did to Iraq. He killed our youth. He killed millions."
-- An elderly man in Baghdad beating Saddam's portrait with his shoe, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"Now my son can have a chance in life."
-- Bushra Abed, Washington Times, April 10, 2003

"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, April 10, 2003

"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, April 9, 2003

"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, April 8, 2003

"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, April 8, 2003

"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, April 8, 2003

"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, April 8, 2003

"For years we have lived oppressed lives here. Sunday was a day we had prayed for and now we are free of Saddam's rule."
-- Qusay Rawah, a student in Basra, Daily Mirror, April 8, 2003

"The whole Iraq will be happy if the news about Saddam's death is confirmed."
-- Hussein Al-Rekabi, Iraqi exile of 30 years now in Kuwait, Arab News, April 8, 2003

"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, April 8, 2003

"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 they've gone by. Now, a few people have motioned to go back or to leave but they're certainly in the minority."
-- Travis Fox,, April 7, 2003

"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, April 7, 2003

"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, April 7, 2003

"'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, April 7, 2003

"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, April 7, 2003

"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, April 7, 2003

"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, April 7, 2003

"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, April 7, 2003

"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, April 7, 2003

"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, April 2, 2003

"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), April 1, 2003

"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), April 1, 2003

"'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, March 31, 2003

"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."
-- Newsday, March 24, 2003

"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, March 24, 2003

"'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, March 24, 2003

"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, March 24, 2003

"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, March 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, March 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, March 23, 2003

"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, March 22, 2003

"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 Guardian, March 22, 2003

"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, March 22, 2003

"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, March 21, 2003

"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, March 21, 2003

"'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, March 21, 2003

"'(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, March 21, 2003

"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, March 21, 2003

"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, March 21, 2003

"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, March 21, 2003

"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, March 21, 2003

"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.'"
-- Reuters, March 21, 2003

"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, March 21, 2003

Unidentified Iraqi man: "Help us live better than this life. Let us have freedom."
-- ABC World News Tonight, March 21, 2003

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