Sophia's Peace Work

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Saddam's First Day In Court

As the Saddam's first court appearance played on the BBC with commentary from the British newscaster, I was in a hotel room with an Iraqi woman named Alaa and two American journalists eating lunch. The journalists, between bites of kabob and lamb tikka, spoke very much like the newscaster on the television of the various reactions that the first footage of Saddam since his capture would take in Iraq. I just watched the woman's face.

She watched the images of Saddam on the television intently for awhile. His words were reported in bits and peices by the female newscaster as Iraqi censors had cut the sound from the footage. I wondered what she could be thinking. She had grown up watching this man on television ... Saddam Hussain, the President of Iraq (which is how he introduced himself at the trial we are told) ... had been a figure of the utmost authority in this woman's world for her entire life. This man had evoked fear, hatred, admiration, ... any number of mixed and divergent reactions in the people of Iraq. Now look at him.

Earlier we were told that Saddam had said he had invaded Kuwait for "the Iraqi people."

"That's right," Alaa said without hesitation, "For his family and his relatives." Those Iraqi people.

She watched him on television now, focused but without expression. Then she furrowed her brow for a brief moment and turned away to eat her lunch. There was nothing there anymore that could hold her attention.


An uneventful, hot day driving around to press offices. Al Jazerra, BBC and NY Times look very interested ... I even dropped off a press release at Fox News (yeesh, could I have sunk any lower?) but who knows what will happen in a weeks time.


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