The Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
The importance of perspective
To Saddam's prisoners, US abuse seems 'a joke:
If Idrissi seems a bit callous about the fate of the Iraqis in US-run jails, he has probably earned the right to differ. He recalls a day in 1982, at the General Security prison in Baghdad:
'They called all the prisoners out to the courtyard for what they called a 'celebration.' We all knew what they meant by 'celebration.' All the prisoners were chained to a pipe that ran the length of the courtyard wall. One prisoner, Amer al-Tikriti, was called out. They said if he didn't tell them everything they wanted to know, they would show him torture like he had never seen. He merely told them he would show them patience like they had never seen.'
'This is when they brought out his wife, who was five months pregnant. One of the guards said that if he refused to talk he would get 12 guards to rape his wife until she lost the baby. Amer said nothing. So they did. We were forced to watch. Whenever one of us cast down his eyes, they would beat us.'
'Amer's wife didn't lose the baby. So the guard took a knife, cut her belly open and took the baby out with his hands. The woman and child died minutes later. Then the guard used the same knife to cut Amer's throat.' There is a moment of silence. Then Idrissi says: 'What we have seen about the recent abuse at Abu Ghraib is a joke to us.'
The Idrissis, and many families like them, feel that people in Iraq have too quickly relegated the horrors of the old regime to the annals of history. 'But it is not the past to us,' says Idrissi. 'The mother of the person who was killed, his brothers and sisters, they are alive. We are still living the nightmare every day.'
Via Tim Blair.