The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Iraqis heap scorn on ex-dictator

Baghdad, April 28 (AFP): Joyous crowds in Baghdad celebrated Saddam Hussein’s birthday in a brand new way today, pasting photos of the former strongman on a donkey as they heaped scorn on his brutal 24-year reign.

“For the first time in my life, I won’t be forced to attend Saddam’s birthday ceremonies. He was a dictator, he was nothing but a donkey ruling over iraq,” said Ali, 24.

The young man, speaking in the Sadr city neighbourhood formerly known as Saddam City and home to about two million Shias, said most Iraqis had been “faking joy on Saddam’s birthday each year because we were plain afraid.”

“We’ll bring the donkey flowers and a cake this afternoon,” said Hassan al-Hussein, 27, who helped organise the ceremony here.

Crowds of young boys were clapping their hands in appreciation as a man planted a banner and a colourful plastic tree by the donkey.

Pictures of Saddam and his two equally feared sons, Uday and Qusay, were also on display.

“We won’t kill the animal although he represents Saddam the criminal, because donkeys are as oppressed as we were for years,” said al-Hussein.

Unmoved by the feast to come, women were casually dumping piles of rubbish in the middle of the street, which was flooded with green, fetid sewage. Afp spc 04281705 d

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