26 November, 2020

'Will Come'

The restive Kurds rejoice at Saddam's imminent fall

'Will Come'
An anxious Bestoon Aziz was up at dawn last Thursday. He tuned his radio to the bbc Arabic service just in time to hear US President George Bush announce the opening salvo in the attack on Iraq. It was the confirmation he hardly dared to hope for—there really would be a war.

Aziz fumbled for a flashlight, put his cell phone, a handful of antibiotics and some biscuits in his pockets, slung his Kalashnikov over his shoulder and laced up his white sneakers. He flagged down a truck headed for town, and reported to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) HQ. All day long, men like him trickled into the courtyard, volunteers ready to face an Iraqi attack—and perhaps to cross the front and fight south themselves.

"I’m not peshmerga (they who face death), not officially," says Aziz, using the Kurdish name for their fighters. In fact, till this week he was a mild-mannered primary school teacher, instructing maths, Arabic and sometimes gym. But this was an opportunity he wouldn’t miss. He did not even kiss his sleeping wife goodbye.

By Thursday, this grubby...



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