Man recalls life in Iraq..

  1. Jackson Township man recalls life in Iraq, need for liberation
    Friday, March 21, 2003
    By CHARITA M. GOSHAY Repository staff writer

    JACKSON TWP.-Dr. Nashat Y. Gabrail said there is a good reason why Saddam Hussein defied President Bush's 48-hour ultimatum.

    "He had no place to hide in Baghdad," he said. "There's not a single person in Baghdad who would hide him in their house. So many people hate him."

    A Christian of Assyrian descent who lived under Saddam's regime, the Jackson Township oncologist is thrilled that American and allied forces have launched an assault to remove the strongman from power.

    Gabrail, who left Iraq in 1981, said Iraqis are anxious to re-embrace democracy. His mother still lives there, as does a sister, who lives in Baghdad. Both women have fled to a city in northern Iraq.

    "I talked to them three days ago and told them to pack and leave," he said Thursday. "My brother talked to them two days ago. They're all right."

    Gabrail said he hopes the Iraqi opposition will be permitted to lead the way into a liberated Baghdad.

    "I think their voices will be heard by the Iraqi people," he said.

    Gabrail said a U.S. military presence is vital if Iraq is to make a successful transition, adding that he would like to see a permanent American military base there.

    Gabrail said the Iraqi justice system also must be overhauled. Judges appointed by Saddam's socialist Baath party have been in power since the 1970s.

    "There's no real constitution there," he said.

    Gabrail said he also hopes the United States will institute a policy similar to the Marshall Plan that followed World War II. He noted that like post-war Germany and Japan, Iraq's new military should be limited.

    "If you don't have a big military, you won't harass others," he said.

    Gabrail said he can attest to the depravity of Saddam and his sons, Odai and Quasi, known for their penchant for torture and violence.

    "I have a friend from college whose sister was kidnapped by Odai and kept for seven or eight days," he said. "They couldn't say anything, of course. He would have killed them."

    He also recalled how Saddam kidnapped the attractive wife of an Iraqi airline president, then exiled the man to Europe.

    Gabrail said overthrowing Saddam could encourage Iraqi expatriates to invest and help spur a free-market economy in a nation rich in natural resources. The most difficult problem, he said, will be to convince Iraqi intellectuals and professionals to return. Gabrail himself is an American citizen.

    "As much as I love Iraq, I love America more," he said. "This is my home now. I'm raising my kids here."

    Gabrail is a member of Iraqi Forum for Democracy, which wants Iraq to adopt an American-style constitution.

    "Iraq is the most fertile land for democracy in the Middle East," he said. "Freedom is God's gift to man. What part of the U.S. Constitution can offend any culture? It says that all men are created equal, not 'all Americans are created equal.' I believe the founding fathers had a vision that it could be a world constitution."

    Gabrail said the forum also supports separation of religion and government. Iraq is one of the most religion-tolerant countries in the Middle East.

    "There's a saying in Iraq that goes back to the 1950s," he said. "Religion is for God. Iraq is for everybody."
  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   Mimi Wheeze
    Thanks, mkue!

    I cannot even imagine how Iraqi citizens have endured what they have. It might get worse before it gets better for them, but I truly believe it will get better. At least now they can have some hope.
  4. by   jnette
    For the people of Iraq, I do truly hope there can be new life, hope, and freedom.

    And for ALL oppressed nations, all suffering peoples.

    How, oh HOW shall it be accomlpished?

    Let us hope this is what comes to pass in Iraq. With the least possible amount of bloodshed.
  5. by   renerian
    Wow horrible way to live.

  6. by   colleen10
    Hi Mkue,

    What a sad article and a sad way to live.

    Through all of these numerous discussions on whether the US should have started the war, whether it is the will of god, etc. I often think about what I recite at church each Sunday. It is a paryer asking forgiveness from God for sinning. Basically you ask for forgiveness for the sins you have committed -- the sins you commit in your thoughts, in what you have done, but also in what you have failed to do.

    Is it a sin to sit idly by when we know that many people have suffered as this poor Doctor has and do nothing? Yes, I think so. I don't like that we have to go to war over it, that we are risking many lives, both American and Iraqi but it's not right to sit by and watch people suffer like that. Even if it turns out that we were wrong and he doesn't have any weapons or that Bush was doing this for his own alterior motives (which I don't believe) it will still take down a regime that tortures, starves, mames, rapes and kills it's own people for the simple pleasure of it.

    I don't care if we were undiplomatic about it, if the whole world hates us, you can't knowingly let people live like that another day.
  7. by   renerian
    Colleen well put.

  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    Right now bombs are exploding in Bagdad. No ambulence or fire vehicles on the streets.
    Horror and terror!
    Whatever your thoughts on about whether this is necessary know that as fellow humans I love you!
  9. by   Mkue
    I've found many articles by other Iraqi's living in America and their stories and feelings are similar. Some are fearful of what is happening now in Iraq but for the most part feel liberation is necessary.
  10. by   rncountry
    Dearborn Michigan, just outside of Detroit, has the largest population of Arabs outside of the Middle East. The local news has had several similar stories.
  11. by   Mkue
    Muted Joy as Troops Capture an Iraqi Town

    One of the men from Safwan who explained this was named Haider, who spoke about his fear of Mr. Hussein's government and Iraq's isolation from the rest of the world. But he said he feared that the Hussein government would somehow return to Safwan, and he feared that he would be punished for speaking so freely.

    "If Mr. Hussein's government came back, believe me, many of my friends here standing around me would turn me in," Mr. Haider said. "In Iraq, we have learned. I don't trust even my own brother."
  12. by   renerian
    A woman from Iraq now living here said one time while in Iraq she was taken on a tour of a place where they torture people. One was a large vat of acid they would slowly lower you in while you were alive of course and the other was a huge grinder that they put you in alive of course. She left shortly thereafter never to return. Makes me shiver just thinking of it..........

  13. by   Furball
    Can you imagine if something happened to the USA where we ended up with a horrible dictator similar to Hussein? Imagine having your country cut off from the outside world. I know, highly unlikely but imagine the UN sitting on their hands for over 12 years while your family and friends are tortured and slaughtered.

    Imagine....your mom....put through...a shredder.

    What else would be sufficient reason to invade and liberate?
  14. by   Mkue
    I have thought about that Furball, not being able to live free, Gosh we are so lucky here aren't we? I'm mean sure we have taxes.. BS from the Govt. but really, we are very lucky. And we are free to leave without any repercussions.

    good post