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Soft spot on Kerala coast

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec. 15: Saddam Hussein maybe down and out but he still strikes a chord among the poor fisherfolk at a tiny Kerala coastal hamlet.

The fishermen, for whom Saddam remains an icon of anti-imperialist struggle, held a spontaneous protest at the one-km-long, appropriately-named “Saddam beach” on the Malabar coast, near Kozhikode.

Returning home after netting their day’s catch yesterday, the fishermen were taken aback by news of Saddam’s capture. Hope that a lookalike may have been netted soon gave way to gloom and anger. Old and young alike emerged to shout slogans against the US on the beach which has seen an outpouring of anti-imperialist sentiment since the war began. Local youth boycotted western goods and shaved off their heads in protest.

Fisherman Thalakkalakath Razak said: “Shame to America. We thought Saddam would lead the fight against the aggressors from his hideout.” But the Students’ Islamic Organisation struck a different note, saying Saddam had dug his own grave. “He had never stood for the genuine Arab cause. It is the inevitable fall of a dictator. But we hope the Iraqi people, who bear the brunt of the US-led anti-Saddam drive, would continue to resist alien assaults,” the outfit’s secretary M. Sajid said.

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