Iraq’s “City of Widows” Haifa Zangana November 12, 2007
After six months detention, Haifa Zangana walked out of an Iraqi prison thanks to a family connection to Saddam Hussein’s personal secretary. She had been jailed in 1971 for fighting Hussein’s Baath regime and soon after her release she left Iraq to live in exile for more than three decades.
Despite that personal trauma, she writes in “City of Widows,” of a complicated relationship between Iraqi people and their authoritarian leader.
“Iraqi people’s attitude towards the party, its leadership, and particularly Saddam Hussein, was never straightforward. The foundations were being laid for promising development in Iraq. A sense of affluence and rapid rise in the standard of living prevailed,” she writes.
That ended with the sanctions of the 1990’s--Zangana suggests they can be fairly described as genocide. It‘s the beginning of Zangana’s harsh critique of American involvement in Iraq which includes today’s chaos, which Zangana contends was nurtured by American officials who emphasized sectarian divisions in a previously secular government.
“What the occupiers have failed to see is that Iraqis who have committed acts of resistance are not terrorists. We are a people willing to risk our lives defending our homes, families, ways of life, history, culture, identity, and resources.”
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