Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Let freedom ring

“I’m 49, but I never lived a single day…only now will I start

— Yusuf Abed Kazim, a Baghdad imam. April 9, 2003.

Yesterday was a historic moment. For the first time in over 20
years, Iraqi citizens in Baghdad believed that Saddam Hussein’s
regime had lost its grip on ruling the country.


People lined the streets celebrating, thanking U.S. soldiers and
even trying to kiss them. Many Iraqi civilians were declaring
George W. Bush a man of peace and a hero while Saddam Hussein was
denounced as a murderer and a criminal.

In a moment that sent a heartwarming chill through the spines of
many Americans, the Iraqi people tore down the 40-foot statue of
Saddam Hussein located in central Baghdad’s Firdos Square.

The joy overflowed not only in Baghdad. In Basra and Kurdish
cities in northern Iraq, people were dancing in the streets,
burning pictures of Saddam, giving flowers to the fighting
soldiers, thanking the British and American governments for freeing
them and waving Iraqi and American flags.

This moment signified what is likely ahead for the Iraqi people.
First and foremost: freedom. No longer will Iraqi citizens have to
live in fear of expressing opinions that may be unfavorable toward
an evil dictator. Citizens will have political and religious
freedom again, and the torture chambers will never operate again.
Iraqi civilians will be able to represent themselves and will not
all have to live in impoverished conditions.

The destruction of the Saddam statue also was a reminder that
Iraqis are not in this alone and will have the support of the
United States and allied forces. Iraqis were unable to topple
Saddam in the past without help, and they could not tear down this
statue without American assistance either. But it was indeed
assistance that Americans soldiers offered; they did not impose the
toppling of this statue on the Iraqi citizens.

And just as we did not impose the toppling of this statue,
America is not going to impose a leader, a form of government, or
anything of this nature on the Iraqi citizens.

This truly has been liberation for Iraqi citizens all over the
world. In Dearborn, Mich., Arab Americans marched through the
streets in celebration of this victory. Many Iraqi Americans have
even expressed desire to return to their native country with the
impending end of persecution.

America once fought a war for its own freedom, though that was
more than 200 years ago, and most of us have not forgotten how
lucky we are to live in liberty. The war we are fighting in Iraq —
make no mistake there is still fighting to be done — is a reminder
of this freedom we have.

Yet, 20 minutes after the toppling of Saddam’s statue yesterday,
the anti-war organization Not in Our Name sent out an e-mail that
read, “As we react to the events now taking place in the Iraq, it
is important to recognize and respect what many are experiencing,
be it anger at the carnage and our inability to stop it, grief for
the innocent lives lost, despair over the loss of American ideals
and the erosion of freedoms for all….”

Signees who support Not in Our Name include Madison mayor-elect
Dave Cieslewicz, state legislators Mark Pocan and Fred Risser, and
former Madison mayor Paul Soglin.


Madison representatives may not want to accept the freedom our
forces have helped bring Iraqi citizens, and make no mistake
freedom has been brought to the Iraqi people, but I believe most of
us are proud of our soldiers and proud of the freedom these
soldiers have helped bring the Iraqi people.

Most Americans, including myself, are proud for this to be done
in our name.

Matt Modell ([email protected]) is a senior
majoring in journalism and political science.

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