The days are flying by. Some moments stick in my mind though. There were a few of those today. The Saddam trial has resumed, and the media here is very interested. Since I escort and credential media, this results in my running so hard I almost fall down sometimes. But today, every time I had a chance to catch my breath I looked around and noticed that Iraqis were watching TV. They were watching the Saddam trial.
The trial of Saddam Hussein resumes, with the first witness describing the torture of man from a Shiite village in 1982: “They broke all his body parts.” Ahmed Hassan Mohammed, a resident of Dujail, told the court how he and others — including women and children — were taken to intelligence headquarters in Baghdad and tortured. The women, including young girls, were raped, he said.”
Since I work in a government building this shouldn’t be a revelation. What was interesting to me though, is that not only were members of government watching, the Iraqi police were watching, and the cleaning people were watching, and the people who were going about their errands were watching. Every Iraqi I saw was watching. Evidently, they are interested in Saddam’s fate.
I passed a satellite van with a crowd in front of it. I heard them cheering and clapping about something, and I wondered what they were watching. Perhaps a soccer game? Nope, they were responding to the Saddam trial. Every Iraqi I have talked to here in Baghdad wants Saddam to be a part of the past. His trial is a chance for Iraq to get out from under his shadow, and to throw off his terrible legacy of evil deeds. What I will remember about Saddam when he’s gone is those Iraqis gathered in a tight huddle around a TV satellite van, cheering at something I couldn’t understand – something that only Iraqis will ever truly understand – the world is trying the dark deeds of a very bad man.
No matter what Iraq becomes, it will not mourn the passing of the era of a brutal tyrant warmonger with a flair for self-delusional drama.