Friday, December 10, 2004

Saddam's Trial: Instead of grading, I was distracted today by a book I recently obtained. Husayn Ash-Shahristani's memoirs titled Al-Hurub Min-a-l-Hurriyyah (Escape from Freedom), (and by books of Arabic poetry and the Sirah of Sayf bin dhi Yazan.) Shahristani is an Iraqi nuclear physicist who was jailed and tortured by Saddam in 1979, and later escaped from his jail in 1991. He now is an advisor to Grand (not really) Ayatollah Sistani, and was the person who has just formed the "Shi`ite" list for the next puppet elections in Iraq. The book should be a required reading for anybody (especially in the Arab world) who due to opposition to US occupation now wishes to forgive and forget Saddam's horrific crimes. People should read about the true nature of Saddam's brutal regime, and his methods of torture. Shahristani tells the story matter-of-factly and provides a vivid picture of life in Saddam's jails. I felt angry after reading this book: at Saddam, and the Arab and Western governments that have helped him over the years. Do you know that Kuwait which played an important role in the cultivation of Saddam's personality cult used to surrender Iraqi dissidents in Kuwait to Saddam's torture chambers? On p. 273, the author says this: "For history, I say this: Neither the USSR nor the Eastern camp had any role in the development of Iraqi nuclear energy program for non-peaceful uses, but the European countries, US, and Canada are the ones that played the major role in transforming Iraqi nuclear energy from peaceful purposes to strategic military purposes. And when we say countries, we refer to those companies within those countries, around 700 American, Canadian, and Western European companies..." This also made me angry for the delay in Saddam's trial. I really suspect that Saddam's henchman who are now rulers (like the puppet prime minister/car bomber/former Saddam's henchman/embezzler-in-Yemen `Allawi) want to protect themselves, and protect those American officials who worked with Saddam over the years. `Allawi's own group (the National Accord Party) is full of Saddam's intelligence apparatus criminals). And I am sick and tired of any reports from ICRC about the conditions of Saddam. I wish that ICRC would spend more time and energy inquiring about other Iraqi prisoners in US jails in Iraq, many of whom have not been charged with crimes.