The Exiled Shalash

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Three Years Ago

Three years ago today, the world was rid of one of the most brutal dictators of our time, a man who may well be responsible for the lives of over three million human beings. If there ever was a time in my life when I was certain about the phrase, "a new era," then that day was it. It was a Wednesday, loads of nicotine and caffeine were traveling through my body by the time it was time for me to attend class. Out of habit, I turned on the TV, it was LBC (the Lebanese channel) and a crowd of Iraqis were gathered around Saddam's statue in Firdaus Square, the commentator wasn't saying that it was Firdaus Square and I couldn't tell where in Baghdad the footage was coming from. I switched between al-Jazeera, LBC, CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC and others, all had the same footage. Iraqis trying to bring down a gigantic statue of the man who had flipped their lives upside down so many times and for so long.

I turned off my mobile and sat in my living room watching this monumental event take place before my eyes. The word "LIVE" at the top corner of my screen became my best friend, everytime it disappeared, I waited for it to come back. Is this true? Is this really happening? Are three decades of cruelty suddenly over?

My tears skipped the throat and without any pain started to burst, that was the first time in my life that I had known tears of joy. I wanted to call my friend Fadi and tell him congratulations but I couldn't because Fadi was killed in 1991 during the uprising. I wanted to call my mother whose prayers were finally answered, but I hadn't been able to reach anyone in Baghdad for days. I wanted to do so many things, instead I sat there as I chain smoked. It never occurred to me that I had an exam that day, but even if it had, I wouldn't have gone.

Efforts at toppling the statue were slow and the men and women gathered around the statue had the attention of the whole world. CNN couldn't go to a commercial break, al-Jazeera couldn't restart its regular programming. Everything had to wait at that moment. The same Iraqis who had been neglected through a decade of deadly sanctions were now the focal point before the eyes of the whole world.

When a group of American soldiers came to help the Iraqi crowd, I started to think, "see we needed America to help us," I remember smiling. A confused American soldier climbed the base of the statue and hid Saddam's face with an American flag, shortly thereafter, he placed an Iraqi flag and then removed it. Hung by a rope and tied to a tank, Saddam's statue came down and the patient crowds started attacking the pieces of the statue, hitting them with slippers and spitting on the face. Oh what a moment of truth!

The commentators finally shut up because there were no words that could describe that moment.

Happy liberation day Iraq!


  • americans couldn't get anyone from iraq to pull the statue down they had to bring them in from outside, they even brought people from outside to loot banks. hardly your moment of truth.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:49 PM  

  • That was an amazing day wasen't it?

    Many of us in the US were also glued to the TV set watching in awe.

    I'll bet that American solder will also never forget that day.

    Wishing the best for the country of Iraq.

    Happy April 9th my friend.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:57 PM  

  • anonymous one,

    maybe you should let me decide what my moments of truth are eh?


    By Blogger The Exiled Shalash, at 4:26 PM  

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts from that day.

    I just want to add that I agree with your two previous posts most strongly. The Muslim world needs a revolution, a revolution that would change this bankrupt belief system...
    I also agree with you about Riverbend. I never thought I would find an intelligent, English-speaking Iraqi who would have such crazy beliefs.

    By Blogger Original_Jeff, at 9:24 PM  

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