Baghdad, July 22 (Reuters): Uday Hussein whipped and clubbed Alaa Hamed. But the TV producer was still sorry to hear Saddam Hussein’s vicious elder son might have been killed.
“I don’t want him dead. I want to torture him first,” Hamed said as he recalled the beatings with cables and clubs whenever he made technical errors at Uday’s television station.
But as news spread around Baghdad that US troops may have killed Uday and his younger brother Qusay, most Iraqis rejoiced. What seemed to be the crackle of celebratory rifle fire rattled Baghdad neighbourhoods, where families had watched state television footage of Saddam and his sons for years, silently hating and hoping they might one day be gone.
“This is very good. Uday, Qusay and Saddam are the ones who ruined this country. We are in a mess today after the war because of them,” shopkeeper Abu Muhammed said.
Even though Saddam was toppled in a US-led invasion in April, some Iraqis are still too nervous to talk, a reminder of the old days when any criticism of Saddam and his sons could lead to prison, or worse.
A veiled woman and her daughter shook heads and quickly walked away when they heard Uday and Qusay’s names.
“We reject Saddam and we are glad that Uday and Qusay are dead. They oppressed the Iraqi people,” said Ali Abdel Wahid, who sells sugary tea in tiny glasses on the sidewalk.
Iraqis say they will not feel safe without solid evidence that Saddam and his sons were captured or dead. Uncertainty over their fate has worried Iraqis while they struggle with electricity and water shortages. Some said the deaths of the Hussein brothers would not ease hardships or improve the mood towards US troops.
“Their death really does not matter. Saddam and his sons destroyed our lives but now we have moved from one dictator to another,” said Abu Youssef, who leaned on his crutches. “The Americans are bombing our houses and humiliating us every day. All they do is talk about democracy. They don’t give us services. The resistance against them can only increase.”