Al Iraqyia TV showed a very sad story that seems closer to fiction but it happened in Saddam’s Iraq. A story that can happen only in a country ruled by brutal regime like Saddam’s and its likes. It’s beyond imagination yet it’s cold reality that reflects the fear the dictator have from his people and his readiness to kill everyone if it takes for him to stay in power.
Such people don’t know the meaning of negotiation or dialog and suspicion is enough evidence for them to kill. The important thing is to give no voice other than the voice of the dictator, a chance to be heard.
I found this story worth reporting and sharing with the others so that we all realize and keep remembering the necessity of the change and why it happened and also to try to imagine what’s happening in other countries ruled by dictators. Just because we don’t hear much about human rights violations and similar crimes in other totalitarian regimes, doesn’t mean that they don’t happen, as this story happened in the early 80s way before the world even heard about Saddam’s horrible crimes.
I found this story particularly important because some people think that Saddam’s victims are only those lying in the mass graves which is so far from the truth, and I’m talking about those killed, or tortured directly by Saddam’s regime and not the victims of wars or sanctions. The mass graves were used only later in Saddam’s days while before that and for a long time, individuals and small groups were executed and assassinated on a daily basis and handed to their families or buried in cemeteries. The number of these victims, and putting in mind the long years of Saddam’s reign, is far from being small or un compared to the number of those buried in the mass graves and I think this story throws a light on that.
Al Iraqyia met a number of undertakers and clerics who work in the largest cemetery in Iraq; Al Najaf cemetery (Najaf city). One of those undertakers said, “the security guards used to come often at night carrying the bodies of those who were executed secretly or died under torture. The burying procedure used to be done very quickly and we never dared to ask anything about the dead men and women, who were they and why were they killed. There was only a brief document with the name of the victim on it and no one from the victim’s family was allowed to attend the ceremonies which were very short.
One night in the beginning of the 80s 10 security cars came carrying the bodies of 10 young men who all seemed in their early twenties. We started to burry them but as we were writing down their names we noticed something really strange, they were all carrying the name “Sabah”! What was even stranger that the same thing happened for the next days. Every day a new group of dead men all named “Sabah” until the number reached 40!
We didn’t know the reason at that time, was it just a coincidence or what? Later on, after the war we knew what happened after one of the security officers was arrested and told the story. The reason behind this strange story was that one of Al Dawaá party members was arrested. He refused to give them the name of the guy in charge of his group and during the terrible torture and as he was about to collapse he broke down and said, “Sabah, a student in the college...” he couldn’t finish his words out of pain and exhaustion and went in coma soon. The man died and they (the security) never knew anything more from him.
Destiny had an appointment with all the student named “Sabah” in the colleges in Baghdad as the arrested man was from Baghdad, and especially with Sheát ones or those who are not know to be loyal enough to the regime. 40 young men died just because they carried the name “Sabah”!”
This is the story as it appeared on Al Iraqyia TV by the undertakers in “Al Najaf” cemitery. Mere doubts were enough to lead a man to death at those times. This was the time when Saddam was still using documents when he executed “traitors” before he changed his style as the number of “traitors” increased incredibly and started to use mass graves in remote areas without using any document. The number was too high to be contained in Iraq’s cemeteries.