Iraqis Shocked, Shamed, Seething
It’s the Washington Post, so they may have deliberately sought out the most discontented Iraqis they could find. But this article provides a sad glimpse into the Arab honor/shame mentality, in which Iraqis, some of whom were abused by Saddam and his henchmen, whine about the humiliation of seeing Saddam surrender—without killing a few infidels first: Iraqis Shocked, Shamed by Hussein’s Sullied Image. (Hat tip: NC.)
On balance it’s probably a good thing that they are shocked and shamed, because the alternative is triumphant and bloodthirsty.
When he learned that Hussein had emerged meekly from his burrow last weekend and surrendered to U.S. forces without firing a shot, Abu Yasser said he was aghast.
“We feel he either should have fought, or if he was surrounded and there was no other way, committed suicide. That’s what we were expecting,” he said. “When he didn’t, it wasn’t a surprise for us. It was a shock.”
Since Sunday, Baghdad has been buzzing with talk of the ousted president’s surrender. Some Sunni Muslim supporters are suggesting that he did not fight because he was drugged by the CIA. Some detractors are wondering whether they could have ousted Hussein on their own. A feeling that Hussein had shamed all Iraqis by failing to stand his ground was expressed by both supporters and opponents in a series of conversations here.
Abu Yasser, a 40-year-old owner of a watch shop, said he was no fan of the fallen president. A member of Iraq’s long-repressed Shiite Muslim majority, he said the end of Hussein’s rule was welcome. But not this way. “He was the head of state, the symbol of the country. It was his duty to fight,” Abu Yasser said. “Frankly, he let us down.”
Hassan Aboud, 35, a bookseller in downtown Baghdad, said, “We’re asking ourselves, is this the man who ruled us for 35 years? This man was ruling us with an iron fist and he ends up in such a submissive way in a ditch.”
He bitterly cited Hussein’s most recently audio tape, released to the media a month ago, urging his fighters to resist the U.S. occupation. “But he didn’t fight,” Aboud said. “He is lies, lies to the end.”