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Broken statue of Saddam, symbolic of broken Iraqi dreams

Posted By Philippe Khan

April 9th 2003 witnessed extraordinary scenes in Baghdad, where the U.S.-led occupation forces pulled down the statue of the former leader of the Iraqi nation, Saddam Hussein, with height of about four men -- and one of the symbols of Saddam's rule over Iraq, in a staged demonstration orchestrated by the military. 

TV footage showed Iraqis tearing down portraits of Saddam and throwing shoes at the statue. 

Many analysts and actually U.S. officials referred to the event as symbolising the overthrow of the suppression of Iraqis. 

But today, four years after the war broke out, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the nation sees the fall of Saddam’s statue as a symbol of the brutality of the occupation and violence that has become the new face of their country.

A sculpture representing "freedom" has replaced the old statue of Saddam in central Baghdad's Firdos Square. But Iraqis, according to an editorial on Middle East Online, say the scuplture is green and ugly. 

"The sculpture of freedom has no meaning," Middle East Online quoted Nabil Ahmed, who owns a nearby barber's salon, as saying. 

"It does not reflect reality. One lives here in constant insecurity. Freedom has no meaning without safety. The situation has gone from bad to worse." 

"When I see it, I see sadness and desperation," Customer Qusay Taha says as he gets a shave. 

"Today there is nobody around except American soldiers who take photographs as they go by." 

The toppling of the statue of the old “dictator” marked the end of an unjust regime and the beginning of a new one, not less brutal.

"We were happy. At that time we thought everything would get better. In fact, the opposite has happened. There is this insecurity. Today, when I look at the statue, I feel overwhelmed by sadness," Mona Mahmoud, a 46-year-old mother of two said. 

"The Americans must leave, they are responsible for the situation today. If they go, the situation will become stable in one or two months," Mohamed Ali, another employee of the Palestine Hotel says. 

"Yes, at the beginning, when we saw the statue falling, we were happy. The country was liberated,” the editorial quoted an Iraqi who only gave his name as Qais, as saying.

"We thought the fall of the regime would bring freedom, reconstruction but as the days passed we saw it was lies. This new statue, is of injustice, inequality. The fall of the statue is now the broken dreams of Iraqis."

But the U.S. still refuses to admit responsibility for the chaotic situation in Iraq. Four years of bloodshed and violence are still referred to by the American President as years of noble struggle that reaped relatively good results.

 

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