Saddam Hussein the Humble Man
By: Ibrahim Ebeid, Al-Moharer.net
Saddam Hussein was assassinated by the United States and the Iranian and Zionist occupiers of Iraq, but I will not lament him because he was great in life and even greater in death. He paved the way for a true liberation movement to emancipate Iraq, Palestine and the rest of the Arab homeland from occupation and fragmentation. He is the progenitor of Arab unity and creators, such as he was, are immortal.
This man came from a very humble background and he understood the suffering of the poor. He was born to a rural peasant family in a simple mud cottage. His father died before he was born. These beginnings shaped his life and deepened his love for his land and its people.
As a child, Saddam Hussein had no formal education because his family wanted him to become a peasant farmer like the rest of them. When he was 10 and living with his uncle, al-Hajj Ibrahim, in the village of Shawish, they were visited by relatives who had a child of the same age. In front of the mud house, the two children used to sit, playing and chatting. One day, the visiting boy told Saddam that he was going to school every day, he was in the second grade, and he could read and write, add, subtract and multiply. To prove it, the child wrote Saddam’s name in the dust, then he proceeded to explain the letters of the alphabet and young Saddam was truly amazed.
Against the will of his family, he decided to travel to attend school in the town of Tikrit.
This was his first act of rebellion against backwardness, finding it most difficult to convince his family of the need for him to get an education. Saddam Hussein decided to take them by surprise. When everyone was asleep, he left the house and walked through the darkness until he reached a place where some other relatives worked. They were very surprised by his sudden appearance, but understood once he had explained that he wanted to attend school in Tikrit against his family’s wishes. The young Saddam Hussein was greatly encouraged by these relatives. They sent him off in a car to Tikrit, where he was welcomed by other members of his family who also applauded his decision.
After completing his first year at school, he moved to Baghdad with his maternal uncle Khairallah Tilfah, where he finished his primary education before embarking on his high school studies.
When he was young, his mother nurtured him with patriotic stories about members of his family. She told him that his uncle Khairallah Tilfah had fought against the British during the revolution led by Rashid Ali Al- Kaylani in May 1941. She also recounted that some of his relatives were killed by the British and their houses burned to the ground and that earlier, many members of his family had fought gallantly against the Turkish occupation. With this background, Saddam Hussein was well aware of British imperialism and how the government in Iraq remained captive to the dictates of the imperialists. He eventually decided to become involved in political activity, and at the age of 20, joined the Ba’ath Party in which he realized his nationalist ideals.
When I was living in Baghdad, I heard a story about Saddam Hussein which was very common and popular among the people at the time. This story touched my heart, so I would like to share it with the readers of Al-Moharer.
Saddam was playing with some children of his age in his village al-Awja. It was a cold winter day and one of the children had no coat to protect him from the freezing cold. Young Saddam saw him shivering, and, realizing that the kid was cold; he approached him and gave him the only jacket he had and went home without it. When he was asked about the whereabouts of his jacket and whether it was lost or stolen, he proudly replied that he gave it to a child whose family was not able to provide him with one. So it came to pass that the young Saddam spent the whole winter without a jacket because his family was not able to buy him a new one. This was one of the profound humanitarian foundations that helped to shape him into the leader who led Iraq to be the most prosperous and advanced country in the area.
Hajj Ibrahim, the father of his brother Barazan, was living in a mud house in the village of Awja where Saddam Hussein was born and spent most of his childhood. When he was President he used to visit there with his wife and children regularly.
Amir Iskander, the author of Saddam Hussein, the Fighter, the Thinker and the Man, related to Saddam that Hajj Ibrahim had mentioned his occasional visits. He asked Saddam “What are your personal sentiments when you sit on the floor beside him in the mud house he still lives in when you are the head of one of the richest Arab countries?”
Saddam Hussein replied “I actually take pride in it. I want them to stay in the mud house, while at the same time wishing for them to live elsewhere. The two thoughts are not contradictory. On the one hand, it is a case of applying principles and the desire to respond to those rulers who have fallen into a shallow way of life, while on the other hand family loyalty prompts me to wish for them to live in a better house. I therefore feel great pride when I enter this mud house. At the same time, I don’t deny that I would also like those who have offered a great service to the people to live like others in a suitable place.”
Mr. President, You will continue to be the torch of Freedom and Liberation that will be passed to the future generations.
The fighters who saw you marching to the gallows with courage and dignity will keep fighting the enemy until Iraq and Palestine are liberated.