Iraq: Saddam’s Iraq
1991 – 75’00’’
TC Vision Sync
WS Bashir and family I wrote this march for Iraqi schoolchildren. The words were written by the poet Abdul Razzaq Abdul Wahib. Now let us listen to this march.
Family singing - Hear us Saddam! - We’ll raise the flags and fill the schools with strong cadets. - We’ll turn our pens into swords. - Hear us, O Saddam! Hear us, O Saddam! - Hear us, warriors of the nation! Hear us, brave Arab Army! - Students and leader united in our glorious Baath Party, - Their treasured souls they pledge. - We sacrifice ourselves, Saddam, - We’ll raise the flags and fill the schools with strong cadets, - We’ll make the children, Ready to fight, Future heroes, - Marching forwards, O Saddam! O Saddam!
Agnes BashirFootball match Well, you see, it’s very difficult to speak about your own children because I love both of them very much. But really they are a bit different. Saad, he was more active and sporty. Al’ah opposite was very sweet and quiet, he liked painting very much, chess playing very much when he was a small boy. I tried to deal with both of them in their own way, of course. They entered the school and the same thing happened because they were a little bit different, so each one took his own way. I think all Iraqis they are now on the same line, on the same front and they think the same way. Because everyone will stand for his own country. And my children, they will join this line – because it is their future, because it is their life and life of their generation. Everyone will stand for his country. And I think Saad and Al’ah will do the same, I hope. If you feel that you are doing the right thing, you feel always strong and powerful.
Agnes BashirSchool of Music and Ballet, Baghdad I met Saddam Hussein personally and I respect this man very much. Because you know, he is a very strong personality and I watched Iraq growing up throughout his presidency. Our President tries to improve the likes of Arab people, he especially wants them to live the same way the Europeans do, to develop their culture, to developo their education, everything so they will be as equal as any European person. People are not all the same level. So to bring them, it needs a little bit of power maybe, I would say.
Agnes Bashir grew up in Stalin’s Russia, which gives her a special insight into Saddam’s Iraq.
Agnes Bashir You know, there is sometimes moments in history; you know the story of the French Revolution, you know the story of the Russian Revolution. So these are moments when the power is needed, you know, to organise a country, to give certain rules of how to live. And President Saddam Hussein, I think, is more close to his people than I watch anywhere else. Because this way he meets with the people, he tries to know their needs, which makes him a little bit different from the others.
Do you think in the Soviet Union in its time that Stalin had to also be a powerful leader, in his day?
Agnes Bashir You know what I was taught in History was one thing, what I’m reading now is another thing.
(Harmon) When you were a child, how did you think of Stalin?
(Iraqi Govt Guide) Cut, cut cut cut.
Disco I like to go to the disco. I listen to mostly American music. I like it too much.
(Harmon) When you go out with a girl, where do you go?
(Saad) I don’t go out, I bring her here and we stay here
So you bring a girl here, to the house?
Yeah, it’s better for me here.
It is huh?
But where are Fikri and Agnes when you bring the girls here?
In the kitchen, or in their room, I don’t know. They’re leaving us alone, of course
Saad playing piano In the West, they are thinking we are riding camels. A lot of people listen to classical music, pop music – like in the West. I’ve played piano about 10 years. I love the piano very much.
How would you feel if there was a war between the United States and the West against Iraq? What would you do?
If there’s a war, I will defend my country, because it gave me everything when there was peace. And if I must leave the piano and pick up the gun, I will do it.
Comprehensive School, Baghdad. Before August 2nd, did you used to think about Kuwait? Did you used to discuss Kuwait in school?
We didn’t talk about Kuwait. Why?
Die Hard II, Bruce Willis ‘Yipee Kay yay, motherfucker!’
(Harmon) In school, do you ever have any students who think differently, who don’t agree with what is happening.
(Saad) All agree
Everyone? One hundred per cent?
Okay, just talk about your friends.
My friends agree about that.
Do all your friends agree that they will fight and go to war?
Not only all my friends, I think that all people will do that.
How old were you when you first remember learning about President Saddam Hussein?
Schoolyard. I was in fourth class I think. Eight or nine years old.
So you grew up with the President?
Of course, of course.
Would you die for President Hussein?
Of course. I will do everything for him, I will defend him and defend my country.
TV Saddam song May God create many more like you and bless you. We are grateful Saddam. Under you we are happy and secure.May God create many more people like you and bless you Saddam we are secure because your cause is safe.
Khadimarin Shrine.(Harmon v/o) 95 per cent of Iraq’s population is Muslim. Though Saddam Hussein is a Sunni, over half the Muslims belong to the Shi’ite sect. Shia leaders in Iraq have previously voiced their approval of Saddam Hussein and the Baath party.In Iraq not only Muslims claim support for Saddam Hussein.
St Mary’s the Immaculate Qaragosh, Priest I am Sharb al-Essau, the High Priest of Qaraqosh.
Qaraqosh has 18 000 Assyrian Catholic inhabitants. This town has good faithful citizens. For this reason the churches are full of worshippers praying on Sunday, for our beloved Iraq.
At present we pray for peace, harmony and love throughout he world. Especially for the sake of our country. We love Iraq and its President.
We pray even for the enemy; as Jesus said, ‘love your enemy’. We want them to live in peace and tranquillity. Their families, their children and citizens. We are always ready to defend this homeland. We don’t want war, but if it’s God’s will, we are for it.
The people of Qaragosh, each one, without exception will defend Iraq and its President, Saddam Hussein. We hope there will be no war, but if there is a war, we will accept it. As we did during the ten years of war with the Iranian enemy.
Naji Salman Salih I’m Naji Salman Salih, Deputy Head of Iraq’s Jewish Community. At present there are about a thousand Jews in Iraq. About 600-650 live in Baghdad, the rest live in other parts of the country. There were about 150 000 Jews in Iraq in 1948. When the state of Israel was establishes, the Iraqi government harassed the Iraqi Jews, they dismissed Jewish Government employees and prevented students enrolling in schools. In 1950 the government revoked citizenship of the Jewish people. After two years without work the Jews were allowed to emigrate. And most of them left Iraq. In spite of the hard circumstances, I was determined to stay because I love Iraq.
Firstly I consider myself an Iraqi with full rights and duties. Concerning religion, I am a Jew. As there are Christians and Muslims in Iraq, so there are Jews and religion has nothing to do with politics. In the last ten years there has been no anti-semitism or discrimination. In 1981, when Israel struck the Iraqi nuclear plant which had been built for peaceful purposes only. We did not have any problems, neither from the Iraqi people nor the government.
Because the Iraqi government distinguishes between the Jewish faith and Zionism. We believe that Israel is an enemy of the Arab countries and has obtained a nuclear weapon. We believe it’s necessary for Iraq or other countries to obtain a similar weapon in order to challenge Israel and defend itself against such a destructive weapon.
If there’s a war between Israel and Iraq, we in the Jewish Community will support Iraq because we are Iraqi citizens living in Iraq.
President Saddam Hussein is our leader, may God protect him. God grant him victory. God grant victory to the Iraqi army.
May God destroy the enemies of Iraq. Amen
Samba(Harmon) On November 29 1990, the United Nations set a final deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, thus removing any obstacles for war. In Baghdad, it was the night of the Samba contest at the Babylon Hotel.
DJ (off cam) As the judges say, they will have one couple, we have an Italian couple, Mauro and Jean. Each winning couple must enter the stage dancing with this clapping, okay? So couple number 2, Jun and Cheryl. Welcome them… (clapping). Thanks very much for the couples winners. And thank you. Stage is open for everyone now. Have a nice time. Thank you.(La Bamba)
Harmon v/o In Iraq, what is art depends on the eye of the beholder. The Victory Arch in downtown Baghdad was modelled on Saddam Hussein’s forearms which were cast and enlarged to form the base of the monument. In Basra, a series of 80 statues sculpted from Iraqi officers killed in the Iran-Iraq War, point across the Shaat-al-Arab waterway towards Iran. The artistic merits of which are rarely discussed since Iraq’s reconciliation with the former enemy. The monument of the Martyrs, which dominates the Baghdad skyline was designed by Ismael Fatah al-Turk, one of the leading sculptors and artists in Iraq.
Ismael Fatah al-Turk I picture the artist’s role in society as one which moves and motivates society.
Monument And projects a bright and enlightened future, socially and aesthetically. It enhances the vision of society. It’s not like Europe, where the artist doesn’t influence politics or the country. It’s different here. You can’t divorce the artist from politics. As Mr President said, the two make a better society.
Sculpting (Harmon q) Let’s say there was an artist who opposed the Government and he wanted to do art that was offensive to the Government, and was indirectly offensive, could he do it?
Turk I don’t think anyone would oppose the State. Especially since the state allows artists free expression in their work. The State never ties the artist to one view. There are abstract artists and expressionists and symbolists. You never find the State telling us what to do.
Art Academy, Baghdad. I believe Iraqi artists have never had it so good financially. I imagine it’s the best period. Not even in Europe are the artists supported by the State, as we are supported by ours, without being asked to change our artistic style or direction.
We know that copying isn’t art. It’s only a poster. A picture which shows no talent or skill. I can’t believe that this is art. It’s only a profession.
Yes I must fight. Of course I will fight, I’ll be the first to do so. I have trained at the front. My two children are also training. One of them is a Republican Guard. He is ready to fight. And so am I. If I don’t it means I will lose my country. Then my art would mean nothing. Protecting my country means protecting my art.
Harmon Would you die for Saddam Hussein?
Translator, (off cam). Would you die for the way of Saddam Hussein?
Turk Yes, yes, I love him
Harmon v/o There is a thriving art community in Mosul, Northern Iraq. At night, artists often gather to unwind in the company of local government and security officials.
Nasir It never be the same because I believe in that and I think Jeff believes in that. Nobody is the photocopy of another, right?
Nasir Go Ahead. Sing Brother and get it over with.
Harmon Mosul artist Najib Younes is the founder of popular portraiture, an art movement dedicated to the image of Saddam Hussein. His larger than life portrait of the president in 1980 seta style which has changed the face of art in Iraq ever since.
Najib Younes,Artist I am the artist Najib Younes. Through my 50 years experience, I had the honour to be the first artist to paint a giant portrait of Mr President leader.
It was an inspiration for many artists as to Mr President leader’s status to show our admiration and respect for his power here and in the world.
What’s special about Mr President leader’s portraits, is what I did with them: I cut the photograph like a statue and separated it from its background, which epitomises Popular Portraiture which I created. Popular Portraiture was never a custom with previous leaders. It was inspired by a special leader and our trust in Mr President. I can’t tell you how many portraits have been painted of Mr President Leader. Six or seven thousand, probably ten thousand in the whole of Iraq. If you visit anywhere, even a little village, you’ll find at least ten big portraits similar to the one I painted.
The day I met the Minister for Information and Culture, I mentioned that some of the portraits on the motorway between Mosul and Baghdad were not properly painted. I was surprised that these portraits of Mr President were on show. Everybody loves him, but these were of such poor quality. The Minister decided that a committee should be organised to decide which portraits of the President were not fit to be hanged.
The committee’s work was stopped immediately by the great President Leader himself when he was asked if some of the portraits could be replaced. His response was surprising but correct. The president Leader said: ‘Let the people paint what they want. It all come s from their love for me’
As an old artist, I consider these paintings of Mr President as real art seen throughout Iraq and painted by famous Iraqi artists..
These lasting and beautiful works of art of Mr President were made with love and from the people’s hearts. No-one was coerced to make these portraits and statues. In my opinion, these works will last forever
A theatrical evening in Baghdad.
In Iraqi Kurdistan, Baghdad has always tried to maintain control of its Kurdish population which has constantly rebelled against the central government during the 70 year history of the Iraqi state. Civil War broke out in 1974 and some Iraqi Kurds collaborated with Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. Since the end of the allied war against Iraq, the Kurds launched a major insurrection against the Government, briefly occupying most major cities in Iraqi Kurdistan. Allied governments refused to aid the Kurdish rebels, tacitly allowing Baghdad to reassert control.
In the Kurdish city of Arbil, all traffic must come to a standstill, by law, when the flag of Iraq is lowered at sunset.
Kurds by Saddam Portrait Dr Khasraw Shali is the Kurdish President of Salahaddin University in Arbil.
Dr Khasraw Shali, President of Salahaddin University, Arbil. Actually the concept of autonomy in this region is the only model in this part of the world. To me, I think, it works very properly. The Kurds now in Iraq and the Kurdistan of Iraq, have all their national rights. We don’t feel you are treated in any special way. There is almost another local government which is within the central government, taking care of all the Kurdish rights.
Harmon q Would you say that nowadays that the Kurds are integrated into Iraqi society?
Not integrated in some respects. But they are still having their own Kurdish rights in all respects.
Do you see yourself first as an Iraqi, or as a Kurd? How do you personally feel?
Actually it depends. When I’m abroad and asked where I’m from, I am from Iraq, for example, I’m an Iraqi. But if I’m asked if I’m a Kurd or an Arab, of course I say I am a Kurd. I’m very proudly answering I am a Kurd and there is no fear to say no.
As a Kurd, would you want some time in the future for there to be an independent Kurdistan?
If it is done with an arrangement in the whole area and accepted by all the nations – yes. But if it is becoming a centre for making troubles in the area, of course not.
If there was a war with the United States and the West, would you fight.
If I would fight in the war?
Yes, against the West.
Yes of course. I am proud of my country, Iraq. And if there is any war against my country, of course I will participate in it against the enemies of Iraq. That’s the duty of every citizen, actually of every country, not only Iraq. As an Iraqi, of course I will fight to defend my country.
Do you think that most of the Kurdish community would also fight?
Well, yes, as they did in the previous war.
So if there was a war with the West, then the majority of the Kurdish community would fight against the West?
Yes. I think it is the rights of the country and the people of the country to defend themselves.
What do you think of the President Saddam Hussein?
He’s a great man. He’s a great man, actually he’s doing all his best to develop this country, to give all aspects of life inside Iraq all what he could do for it. For the whole humanity he’s trying to bring peace and understanding, and make everyone proud of himself, his nation, his country and to see no differentiation between people all over the world. He’s not just a routine leader, he’s more than that.
Would you die for the President?
If necessary, yes. Actually, it is when you say ‘President’, it is the principles, the principles, yes. It is not a personal thing. Saddam Hussein as a person is different from as a president. His principles, is what you are asking about, the principles, yes.
Halabja victims On March the 16th, 1988, during the Iran-Iraq war, chemical bombs were dropped on the Kurdish town of Halabja. Approximately 5,000 citizens died as a result. The Iraqi Government has constantly denied using chemical weapons on its own Kurdish population, contrary to western observation and eyewitness reports. Some survivors have become convinced of the Iraqi Government’s version of events.
The following interview was conducted in the presence of several Baath Party officials and secret police.
Freeze frame Mustafa Hama Amin, Halabja witness (Harmon q) Tell me about what you witnessed that day on March 16th, 1988, in terms of bomb dropping, planes – tell me exactly what you saw.
(off cam), Govt guide. Tell what you saw – what we told you earlier about your relatives.
Mustafa On March 16th, 1998, the planes bombed Halabja. More planes came from the Iranian border. They bombed us with chemicals.
The West claims it was the Iraqi Air Force that usewd chemical weapons on Halabja. How do you explain that?
They’re lying. They’ve always been our enemies. That’s why they spread rumours and false propaganda. They’re lying because Iraqi planes do not do these things. It was Iranian planes that came. I saw them with my own eyes.
So you personally saw no Iraqi planes on that day?
No, no. There were no Iraqi planes. The planes came from Nawsood from the border between Iraq and Iran. The planes came from Iran.
And you swear as a Kurd this is true?
(Off cam) Govt Guide. You swear you’re Kurdish. You swear this is true?
I swear the planes came from Iran, from Nawsood, and bombed Halabja. And it wasn’t just once, it happened all day, even during the night.
After the bombing of Halabja, a new town was buit nearby, officially named Saddam’s Halabja.
Sign – ‘Welcome to Saddamyat Halabja’ Are there still people living in Old Halabja?
No, there are only soldiers from the Iraqi Army in old Halabja.
The new Halabja is named after Saddam Hussein, God protect him. It’s a nice Halabja, filled with peace and security. No-one abuses anybody, no-one shoots anybody.
Health Clinic, Saddam’s Halabja. Life in New Halabja is much better than it was in Old Halabja. In Old Halabja there were always shootings and disturbances. Destructionists abused people and insulted families.
That’s why our leadership keeps us Iraqis out of reach of those thugs. That’s why they built this new, prosperous Halabja, God protect Saddam Hussein. We’re always ready to sacrifice ourselves for our homeland and our leader: Saddam Hussein, God protect him! The town was built in October 1988. We Government employees were granted 6,000 dinars. 4,500 dinars were granted to the self-employed, and 3,000 for mortgage loans. Our life is good thanks to God and to our political leadership and Saddam Hussein.
How many people were killed in the chemical bombing of Halabja?
(off cam) Govt guide. He can’t answer
He doesn’t know?
He doesn’t know because he is not a politician or an official. He’s a normal man.
How does he feel about the Iranians now?
INTERVIEW TERMINATED BY IRAQI GOVERNMENT GUIDE
Kurdish Wedding, Suleimaniya.
Horse Races, Baghdad.
Teller Get Out!
Punter No 3, No 10 and No 13
Old Punter I come to the races every day, every meeting, unless I am ill.
‘Hamsa on 16 is still leading with 14 running second’
Punter 14 pays 6,000 dinars
Old Punter What happened to 14?
Jabra Ibrahim JabraNovelist and Art critic. In the West, they think Iraq is a closed society. Nothing could be so far from the truth because Iraq is an open society. It’s an outward looking society. So in fact Iraqi’s travel a great deal and they love to travel. This contact with the world, as it were, is part of the dynamism or rather part of the energy that fuels the dynamism of this country. So they’re just not inward looking, closing themselves off against the world, not at all. In fact, they want to be a part of the world which accounts for the probably very active art movement.
Harmon Are there any constraints from the Government on writers or artists in Iraq today?
None whatsoever. If anything, there is so much encouragement that I don’t think there is anything like it anywhere in the world. Nobody ever tells you what to paint, or how to paint. Nobody ever tells you what to write or how to write. The important thing is that you must excel in your work whether it is in writing or art and it will be published for you, if it is writing, and exhibited for you for free, and if you sell, the money is all yours, nobody will charge you anything for it. There are so many galleries run by the Government free – just for the artists. So this is again another misconception I noticed in the West. Not at all, if anything I find that the authorities are always proud of the fact that the dynamic movement in creative work in this country has never been interfered with by the authorities.
Do you know the President personally?
Yes. I have met him only on official occasions. I was honoured by his granting me the prize for literature in 1988. He gave me the medallion, you know, as well as my colleagues, there were six of us actually who were given the literary prize for 1988, and he attended the ceremony himself.
There are so many portraits of President Saddam Hussein, all over Baghdad and everywhere we’ve been in Iraq, almost every street corner, every classroom, every shop. How would you explain this?
Popularity of the President, he is very popular. Now there is a man who comes up from the soil of the country, who is part of the people, who speaks their language and yet who actually gives them a sense of pride and dignity and makes work possible, everything, makes education free for everybody. I think it is very natural that he has achieved the popularity, that would make them want to hang his picture everywhere. It’s like this.
But in the West, this is considered a personality cult, this is the way it is described in the West.
A cult personality, yes, yes. I know, yes. I was discussing this the other day. You see the word ‘personality cult’ in Arabic, is translated as ‘the worship of the person’. The Arabs worship God, God the one and only, so there is no fear of worshipping a person. The rest is an expression of love. So when you have someone’s picture you’re not worshipping him, you’re actually expressing your affection or your admiration for that person.
Is it sincere love, or does it come from the top down?
It certainly doesn’t come from the top down. Nobody compels you to put a picture in your room if you don’t want to. But who knows what is in the hearts of men, I mean Shakespeare complained about it, didn’t he? But if there is so much love surely a lot of it has to be sincere and insistent upon the persons to express it this way.
Jabra, do you love President Hussein?
Look, this sort of language, as I’ve said, I’m a man, I’m seventy years old you see. I love a person, if I use the word love for emotional reasons, that’s the way one thinks of love. But a man who gives such dignity and such pride to the Arab world is a man I admire intensely. I think it’s a thing that goes beyond love, if you see what I mean. You see you love a person, you want to cuddle him, you want to huddle him, and so on, you have to identify yourself with him and so on. President Hussein is not that sort. President Hussein is Saddam Hussein is a man of great stature. I think of him really as a hero, the way I would think of a man in an epic, in Gilgamesh or the Iliad or something of this sort, you see. That is the kind of man he is. Fortunately, he started very young, he started he was just about thirty. I was amazed actually when he emerged suddenly. There was this young man, good looking, tall with beautiful carriage, he carries himself with great dignity, who could speak so effectively and with a language that was entirely his own, the kind of vocabulary he uses, and could actually build up the country, bit by bit and so comprehensively. So finally you see you have really an admiration for the man that sometimes goes beyond the idea of love in the sense that you probably think.
Would you die for President Hussein?
Look, would I die for a man who has been responsible for the great progress of this country? I would die for any man who makes possible the independence and dignity of this nation and he has made it possible. So I think this country has been lucky to have a man like Saddam Hussein at this juncture in history.
Abud, Hairdresser Dwarf.
Actress What will they think Abud? They’ll say we’re backward.
Abud No they won’t.
They won’t dare put this on television.
Don’t underestimate him, he’s an important man.
He might be a spy.
We’ll be linked with spies.
SHEEP’S HEAD STEW
Harmon, (off cam) Do you eat the eyes?
No, we’re not Dracula!
I eat the eyes
Actress mouths A backward man
I’m Abdul Agil, an artist from Iraq, I work in the Palestine Meridian Hotel Hairdressing Salon. I’ve also had parts in different TV series and films which were shown at the Babylon and Cannes Festivals. I’m also a fashion designer and have had many successful fashion shows.
I think the Iraqi leadership which opened the way for me in all aspects of the arts. In addition to this success, I encouraged music for young people. So I opened a nightclub, a disco, and from mixing with boys and girls, I had another great success.
MERIDIAN HOTEL DISCO, BAGHDAD
I love dancing in the extreme. Since I was a child I’d thought of owning a dance club. Now I enjoy a good life. I like to eat and sleep in the disco and forget about the rest of my life because it’s part of my soul. The nightlife is beautiful. Night is the most fun. Anything you want is available. There are no problems. No harm comes to an Iraqi male or female. Life is peaceful under the leadership of Mr President Saddam Hussein.
So what do you think of President Saddam Hussein?
(Translator repeats q off cam)
Saddam Hussein is a great man. There will never be a man like him again. He’s a unique leader. Mere words cannot describe him.
If there was a war between Iraq and the West, would you fight?
Or would your friends fight?
I shall fight to the last day of my life. Not only me but my entire family, including the children.
So would you put down your hairdryer and pick up a gun?
I will give up even my life. And I will fight for Iraq.
Crowd ANTI BUSH DEMONSTRATION, BAGHDAD.
By soul, by blood, we sacrifice ourselves, Saddam. This is the voice of our Arab country
O Arabs, God is great. This is the day of victory for you. O Arabs, God is great By soul, by blood we sacrifice ourselves Saddam. O Arabs, God is great.
Dr Benham Abu Al-Souf, Professor of Archaeology You don’t have unique leaders every year or every decade. You have unique leaders perhaps in every few centuries. We have aright to call this era Iraq is living in, the era of Saddam Hussein, as we call the era of Humurrabi, the era of Nebuchadnezzar, the era of Haroun Rashid. He represents the hopes of a new Iraq, he represents the future of a new Iraq, of a proud Iraq or of an independent Iraq, of Iraq free of any damages, or of any ill treatment. I am saying this all this as an historian, as a scholar, because I am not a politician, I have nothing to do with any sort of politics and I am a free thinker.
Is there any opposition in Iraq against the Government?
Well I mean this is natural, but why should you oppose if everything is done or is what the people want. You see, I am a normal Iraqi, from, say, middle class, educated and I told you now that what we hoped for, what we always hoped for in Iraq, is being executed, is being done by this regime, this government, by the President. I mean what do you oppose?
What would happen if someone got up, just an ordinary citizen got up and said: ‘I don’t like President Saddam?’ What would happen to him?
I don’t know, but why should he? I mean why should he or she?
Well, again these are questions in the West. Believe me, in the United States...
Well, the West is different, I mean our society, we are building a new society, we are building a new way of thinking, we want to have not a uniform, but a healthy society.
But doesn’t a healthy society allow for some sort of opposition?
This will come.
I mean that’s free thinking, that’s part of free thinking and individuality
That will come in time, that will come.
That will come when Iraq is resting and is rid of all these problems surrounding.
Now there are eighteen million people in Iraq, is that correct?
Almost eighteen million. Do all eighteen million support the Government?
Did you see the demonstration on Saturday?
I did, but there weren’t eighteen million people there. From your heart, is there any opposition in those eighteen million, or do all eighteen million support the Government?
I tell you what… I mean we’re all Christian and Muslim and otherwise, we all adore one God, isn’t it? Do you think all the world, all over, they, I mean, are we all reconciled with our God? Isn’t it? I mean ordinary, good thinking and ordinary people will live quietly and who see the benefit of their country and the good will of their country.
Not one man, woman or child in eighteen million?
Perhaps there are some who, everywhere, who want to have illegitimate approaches or rights, or wealth or power. Certainly you have everywhere, even if at one home if you have five brothers, maybe one or two aren’t satisfied with their parents will, isn’t it? So there might be the one with ill thinking, with ill attitudes, but I am talking about normal, ordinary, good willed people,….. I can’t see any opposition actually.
The sound quality of the following conversation with an Iraqi citizen has been altered to protect his identity.
I have some relatives, who are with the Government, I mean Baath Party members so I cannot talk in front of them.
What would happen if you said something?
If I said something I would go to jail. Nobody knows where |I go and when, I’ll just disappear. And nobody can ask ‘where is that person at least? Why should I talk? I tell you a story, it happened before two or three years ago during the [Iran] war. One man came to the Police or to the Government side. He said, ‘I killed my son’ They asked, ‘why did you kill your son?’ He told the Government his son escaped from military service, but in fact he didn’t escape. There was some misunderstanding between him and his son. That’s why he killed him. So he changed the story to get the money from them. Now there are instructions if you mention Mr Saddam Hussein you have to say ‘Hafidaho Al’lah’ which means God protect him’ These two or three words should be mentioned when Mr Saddam Hussein’s name is mentioned.
Photography: Alexander Lindsay
Editor: Jeremy Gibbs
Sound Recordist: Walli Jang
Sound Editor: Mike Akester
Dubbing Mixer: Richard King
Assistant Producer: Michael Evstafiev
Production Assistant: Angela Conti
Assistant Editor: John Edmiston
Executive Producer: John Gau
Produced & Directed by: Jeff B. Harmon
A DUCE Films International Ltd Production for Channel Four © 1989