Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wednesday Heroes

I'm going to do something very different this week with the Wednesday Hero post. I'm not going to profile an American soldier. I'm not going to profile a soldier, period.
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Rather I'm going to profile the victims of Saddam Hussein. Think about all the news reports we get about this trial. What are every one of them about? Only one thing. Saddam Hussein's latest ourburst. That's it. The reports talk about how his outbursts could overshadow the testimony of his victims, then they proceeded to ignore that testimony to talk about the outbursts. Guess they're right. Well, I wanted to highlight some of that testimony. These people were able not only to survive the absolute worst things the human mind could imagine, but they were able to go into that court room and tell their stories knowing full well that they could be killed by Saddam loyalists. They are heroes. Sad thing is I could only find a few articles that have printed some of this testimony, because as I've said the pieces focus more on the circus than the victims. Some of this is a little harsh and could be too much for some. Just letting you know.

From Post-Gazette.com
The turbulent proceedings included the first confrontation in open court between Saddam and some of his government's victims. Two men from the farming village of Dujail described the harsh collective punishment meted out to the village and its people after shots were fired on Saddam's car from a nearby orchard in 1982.

"It was like a war front in Dujail," said the first witness, Ahmad Hassan Mohammed, who was 15 at the time. The government bombed the fields, shot some suspects and rounded up men, women and children, Mr. Mohammed said. He and others spent more than three years in prison.

At times choking back tears, Mr. Mohammed described how seven of his brothers were executed, and how they were all interrogated and tortured. One brother was tortured with electric shock in front of his father, he said, sobbing.

"They knew who was most beloved by his father. They took him, 16 years old. Before my father, they beat him. Then they said: "Kill him.'"

Mr. Mohammed was followed to the witness stand by Jawad Abdul Aziz Jawad, who was 10 at the time of the assassination attempt. He described how giant bulldozers descended on the village three months after the shooting, ripping through farms and plowing over houses.

From Austinnews.net
The prosecution's first witness was a 14-year-old boy in 1982. The witness said members of Saddam's regime used electric shocks on their victims, and poured melted plastic onto people's skin. He said that's how Saddam's men killed and tortured people following a 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam.

From Yahoo News Asia
The woman -- just 16 years old when she was detained and held for four years -- said with her voice electronically disguised that a man ordered her to undress before pistol whipping her and lashing her with cables, her legs up.

"He said take off your clothes. He hit me with the pistol and I was forced to take my clothes and he lifted my legs upward and he hit me with cables and asked me to talk," she said.

Later taken to a room that was "all red' with another girl, the witness said they used their shoes as pillows to get some rest.

"We put shoes as pillows. Then the door was locked and from a small window they gave us two loaves of bread," said the woman, who was asked by the judge but could not identify her tormentors.

"My youth ... was destroyed," said the woman recalling the legacy of her experiences. Today she described herself as a housewife.

From CNN.com
I like how they say "alleged torture". But this is a little more from Ahmad Hassan Mohammed from the first story.

Ahmed Hassan Mohammed, a resident of Dujail, told the court how he and others -- including women and children -- were rounded up and transported to intelligence headquarters in Baghdad, where they were tortured. The women, including young girls, were raped, sometimes before the eyes of the men, he said.

He named his torturers and their relations to the defendants on trial and graphically and tearfully described what he saw.

Of one man, Mohammed said: "They broke him. Broke his arm, his leg. This is during torture. They also shot at his foot, all of that during interrogation. He died under torture. They broke all his body parts."

Mohammed described seeing Hussein's half brother and co-defendant, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, wearing a cowboy hat, red boots and carrying an assault rifle.

Filed under Wednesday Heroes