But, for the record, he was 52 and had two wives, six boys and four girls from the first wife, two girls and a boy from the second He was one of Mr Ghazi’s nine children. Three of them were killed as soldiers in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, along with five of Mr Ghazi’s cousins, all military men struck down in the same conflict. No wonder they hated Saddam.All had grown up on the family farm at Najaf and it was to Najaf that the family took him for burial yesterday afternoon, not far from the shrine of the 7th-century Shia martyr Ali.His father said I could take photographs of the coffin as it was placed crossways on the back of the pick-up and one of the cousins broke down in tears and kissed the wooden box. “Today, this place, Iraq, is filled with such carelessness,” his father said. “There is no path to follow, no authority and no one to take care of the people.”In a parallel street yesterday, an American-paid Iraqi cop was guarding the crumbling brick house in which the bodies of the newly dead are washed before being taken to the morgue. Inside were two new corpses, the dead of Christmas Eve, newly arrived from the town of Beiji.”Don’t talk to the relatives,” the policeman said “Both men were killed by the Americans.
One worked in a factory and was caught in the open when the resistance fired at American soldiers The Americans shot everyone they saw. The people are angry because you look like an American.” But they all shook hands and stood in front of us with their heads bowed and asked why the tragedy of Iraq was growing worse The cop wanted the last word. “Saddam brought us to this tragedy and the Americans used it,” he said. “You want to know who is to blame? I say this: Fuck Saddam and fuck the USA.”And the men stood there, more tribal men in black robes with the same grey-gold fringes, Sunni Muslims this time but with the same look of hopelessness as the Shia family 100m away.
And it rained heavily until the water splashed off their shoulders and streamed down the front of their robes and the cop took refuge in the brick house where they washed the bodies
More from Robert Fisk. So that’s that – another Chanukah almost over for another year. The righteous, or even the not-so-righteous, light the final candle tonight, then we put away the menorah until the Christmas lights of 2004 (5765 in Old Testament time) again remind us that we have our own story of divine intervention to tell. I like sneaking in.I’m not entirely certain that Chanukah is quite mine either, come to that. One of the risks of the cultural dualism which Jews have learnt to practise so successfully over the last 2,000 years and more (give or take the odd catastrophic blip), is an alienation not only from the dominant and as one might say host culture, but also from our own. Was that really my story which I heard rehearsed in the course of every Chanukah of my childhood – the Maccabees, otherwise the Hasmoneans, defeating the might of the Syrian-Greek army in 165 BCE, recapturing the desecrated Temple and then re-dedicating it, Chanukah meaning ‘re-dedication’? It seemed too long ago.