Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Wait, that is an American flag."

Over on YouTube I came across a video clip of Khalid Jarrar talking about the situation in Iraq in general and also his family's reaction to American troops entering Baghdad on April 9, 2003. The YouTube clip is from Alive in Baghdad, a website of video interviews of Iraqis covering a variety of topics. Khalid's interview was originally posted there on December 25, 2005.

Asked by the interviewer about when he had first seen American troops in Baghdad, Khalid (at the 7:33 mark on the tape) recounts how, on the day that Baghdad fell, they had been watching Mohammed Al-Sahaf, the Information Minister, on TV. Al-Sahaf (aka "Baghdad Bob") was telling them that the Americans were being massacred at the borders of the country. Starting at the 8:15 mark in the clip, Khalid describes what happened later that day:
And then hours after that we were standing on the roof and we saw an Iraqi tank close to the point where we were standing, and then my brother said, "Wait, that is an American flag." And we were all shocked. It was the American army right beside us in the middle of Baghdad. Actually it was a very big surprise.
Exactly at this point in the clip, the 8:40-8:41 mark, Khalid's throat tightens up and he takes a big gulp to hold back his tears and then the video is cut. The clip resumes at 8:42 and Khalid's throat is still tight, but he continues:
I want to make it clear that, although the majority of Iraqi people were against Saddam -- we personally, me and my family were against Saddam from history -- but still at the same time, when talking about an American invasion of Iraq, we would defend Iraq, for sure, against whomever it is.
Khalid goes on to admit that they were shocked because the "unexpectable happened" and that the main feeling they had was "shock and humiliation." And they would remain in shock for several months. Many other Iraqis felt the same mixture of joy at having someone remove Saddam's boot from their necks but, at the same time, shame and humiliation because they couldn't have removed it themselves.

At the time of the interview, Khalid believed that only "the losses of money and men" would force the Coalition troops (the Americans) out of Iraq.

Or maybe Obama, he might add today.


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