Recently the German architect Karl Offer who had made a business trip to Baghdad twenty years ago revealed that underneath of one of Saddam's palaces, they have built a safe shelter for him and his family that is even impervious to atomic bombs as powerful as the one that demolished Hiroshima. Yet before the secrets of Saddam's shelter -worth two hundred million dollars- were disclosed by this German architect, everyone knew about the existence of such shelters, what nobody knew was how safe and impervious such shelters could be.
Now the question is why didn't the people who participated in building such a shelter or knew about it ever ask themselves that if an atomic bomb is to be dropped on Iraq, what would Saddam and his family and close relatives do once they come out of this shelter? Has Saddam himself an answer for this question? Does he know what the Japanese Emperor who survived the atomic bomb dropped on his country 56 years ago do? Except that he went to the radio station and read his note of surrender to Allies?
Four hundred years ago, when Ismail Safavid, the king of Iran attacked Ottoman Empire with his well-equipped army and encountered the enemy in a place close to the scenes of war now being waged in the north of Iraq, he knew nothing about the invention of cannons. And naturally with the first shot of those new military inventions, his army was defeated and dispersed, and the powerful and popular king of Iran died of grief soon after. These nights Saddam is most probably sitting in front of TV watching CNN and knows all about new American and Western military artilleries. He had his first encounter with them eleven years ago when he was forced to accept defeat.
In modern democracies, the most that can happen to a ruling government is that it is either defeated in the next election or resigns, a fate that is awaiting George Bush and Tony Blair in case of their defeat. However, in countries such as Iraq, the situation is different. Saddam Hussein must either go to caves, just like Mola Omar, Taliban leader, or experience what Milesovich is going through now, or follow the fate of Hitler, Mussolini and Chaoshesko.
But war is not really the war of leaders hidden in their safe offices and shelters. The reality of war is only disclosed to those who shoot, kill and are killed, whose houses are demolished and their beloved die or are paralyzed for the rest of their life.
George Bush has repeatedly said that the people of Iraq will be liberated soon while Saddam Hussein appears on Baghdad's TV and tells the people of Iraq that victory is close and they should consider this war as Jihad (holy war) and be proud of getting killed. Both messages are apparently broadcasted for the people of Iraq and for the same audience, but the people who are supposed to be liberated as promised by Bush and Blair, have said in thousands different ways that they do not want this freedom and they feel better under that dictatorship, for they are at least familiar with the latter, but they are afraid of the freedom and democracy that Bush and Blair promise them because they know nothing about it.
When did the people of Iraq, whose likes we have seen in different wars waged in the East, have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the sweetness and enchantments of this freedom and democracy offered by Bush and Blair? What they have seen since the beginning of their history has just been dynasties of dictators sitting in their palaces by the shores of Tigris - whom accidentally were usually treated well by Westerners. The latter sold the former military artilleries and bought oil from them and until recently came to visit them who in turn spread red carpet under their feet. Thus it is not strange if these people have become fatalist and have come to believe that such must be their share of life and there should always be a dictator to defend them and to make foreigners to either kneel before them or respect them.
In the land where the war of Iraq is waged today and military tanks and cannons readily shoot their bombs, the same state of affairs has been going on since seven thousands years ago, from Hammurabi to Saddam Hussein. In every corner of Mesopotamia - the land in-between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates - called Republic of Iraq since fifty years ago - archeologists have discovered ancient civilizations that have only one thing in common: tyranny of their dictators. Even the modern world has not altered that fate.
The present siege of Baghdad is the eleventh one that this city is experiencing in her history. All the super powers of the world have visited this region at least once and America is the last one of them. Sixty years ago it was the Royal Army of Britain pouring chemical bombs on the heads of Iraqi people.
In 1285, when besieging Baghadad, Mongols killed hundred thousand of its population that did not exceed hundred thousands at that time - it is like if 1.5 million people die in the present war. And as though all this massacre and demolition were not enough, on entering the city, they killed another thirty thousands together with the Caliph as a punishment.
With such a history behind them, it is not surprising that contrary to the earlier anticipation of Americans, not only the people of Iraq did not welcome the coalition forces, but they used the arms distributed among them to resist these forces. And if on the day that they learn about Saddam Hussein's death or flight, they pour into the streets to welcome English and American Forces, it would be mostly out of horror, a code of conduct that they showed many times before toward the victorious invaders.
As Jamal, and Iraqi medical doctor living in London says, the people of Iraq can not even believe that Russia, France and Germany are opposing the war just for their sake. Instead they rather believe that foreigners all come to rob their god given wealth and when they seem to disagree with each other it is not really over the war, but the division of the booty and none of them are really concerned with human lives.
Let us not forget that in Iraq, Iran, Syria and many other countries of the region, contact with foreigners -whether embassy stuff or journalists who painstakingly obtain their visa of entry - is still a great sin and those who take such a risk should be prepared to be taken to an unknown dark place with their eyes shut, to be interrogated that 'why they have talked to a foreigner?' In these countries, only a few known selected people have the right to talk to foreigners and even the staff of their embassies abroad can not socialize with their hosts without permission.
The root of such terror, whether among dictators or ordinary people goes back to thousands years ago when foreigners always appeared as invaders, robbing and killing them. This has been the dominant state of affairs until half a century ago. Now if Bush and Blair wish the people of Iraq to believe them, they should first introduce themselves to them by showing them how they have helped the other parts of the world that they invaded to prosper and flourish. The people of Afghanistan have still received nothing from the last war of the so-called New World Order.
Until then, the people who unlike Saddam Hussein have no shelter, will take refuge to undergrounds and mountains and barren lands, and like that Japanese soldier who fearing Allies lived in an island for twenty five years, it will take them a long time to believe that the world has changed. If it ever does change.
... Payvand News - 5/22/03 ... --