Many people asked me about life under Saddam. I’m going to talk about my life and my family’s and the ones I know from a neutral point of view. Anyway we had good days and bad days, not only bad days as many of you was thinking. everyone who did not get close to him or his family or his followers in anyway would not be hurt, this is a fact everyone knew. For me and my family we tried to get as far as possible even from his followers. this way we did not get hurt. As for the normal life, we had an almost normal life, we used to go out and stay late as long as we wanted. Security was very good, I can go alone and walk without fear of being kidnapped, Electricity was good, we never had a problem with water, We had few problems with Fuel but it was solved after few days and once the Goverment made coupons in order to solve the problem. Shops and resturant stayed open very late, female students at universities were free to wear what they like as long as it was decent, now many female students started wearing the hijab because they are afraid of being killed or beaten by religious groups. I summarized the positive things and now I’m going to talk about the negative things under Saddam’s life. Saddam made a big damage to the country that is not easy to be solved soon and it needs many years till things will start to become better. First of all there was a big corruption in all fields of government and that is caused by the low payment to the employees of the government. For example if you want to have any legal papers or a passport or else you have to pay illegally to the employees, otherwise you could not get what you wanted. local hospitals were so bad in all kind of services, the doctors payment was very low more than you can imagine, For example the salary of a professional doctor did not exceed 15 dollars a month!!! a teacher of school took about 2 $ a month. So if you were an employee you either take a bribe or work something else after work like a taxi driver or open your private work. As for the security, it was not bad, but between time to time some gangs start to rob cars, especially the government cars and smuggled them to the north of Iraq (Kurdistan) and to Iran, and then the police start to make campaigns to catch those criminals and put them in jail. But after few months when Saddam had his birthday he always give presents to those criminal by freeing them out of jail, so within few months we will have car robberies again. But still were much less than we have now, we used to go out with our car without fear of being killed, most of the robberies was without killing, I mean you might park your car and then you couldn’t find it, now they don’t rob cars in this way, they killed you or threaten you by putting a gun on your head and then take the car.
My parents were not letting me go to some clubs, that we knew some of Uday’s followers used to attend, they were afraid of annoyance from those people.
We were not able to talk against Saddam or his party in public, or in front of strangers, because we might be caught by his intelligence and we might be executed for this. So we have to be so careful when we want to talk, even in the phone we were afraid to talk in anything that comes near Saddam’s policy. another thing that Saddam encouraged in his last years of his power, is returning of the tribes after almost being limited in the country sides only. Everything allowed to be solve with tribes without the need to be solved in courts. in that way every person had to depend on the power of his tribe, even if he was the victim. For example if someone hit your car and was his fault, that doesn’t mean he will pay you to fix your car, you might pay for him to fix his car and give him extra money. So we did not have a law system at all, the strong stay strong. For me and my family, we always lived in the city, my father even did not know to which tribe we belonged, so we always have to be careful in everything, many of our friends are like this, once a person we know had a problem, and the other part of the problem wanted a tribal meeting, so he went to his friend (the person’s friend) and borrowed his tribe and solved the problem.
I don’t know what you will call our life under Saddam, a hell or better than now. For me removing him was a dream to me, I still have hope for the Future, till now things are worse than in the Saddam’s day in many ways, the possibility of being killed now is much more higher than in Saddam’s days. but I still dream for a better future for me and my daughter and family. I voted, yes, I’m happy to do it. but still I don’t know the result of this election whether will be better or worse to Iraq, I gave my voice to a secular party to prevent having a religious one, The future of Iraq is not certain yet, I’m still afraid of having a civil war between us.
PS thank you all for your encouraging words to me, I received many emails hence I can’t reply to all of them. thank you again.