Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Monday, June 02, 2003

All of the folks who used to work for Baghdad Bob are now angry that they are out of a job.

Denouncing the United States, hundreds of former employees of Saddam Hussein's Information Ministry are protesting against the loss of their jobs following a US decree dissolving the ministry.

"America is against human rights. American democracy in Iraq means poverty and unemployment," they chanted outside Baghdad's Palestine hotel, where some foreign media are based.

The US civil administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, sacked more than 5,000 staff who used to run Iraqi state television, radio, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) and several newspapers, when he abolished the ministry a week ago.

The demonstrators, some of whom have spent more than 30 years at the Information Ministry, are urging Mr Bremer to reconsider.

"It is an unjust decision," Abdul Mutaleb Mahmoud, former journalist at al-Qadissiya newspaper, said.

Amad al-Ataibi, a former editor at INA, says Mr Bremer should negotiate with the sacked employees, who suffered under Saddam when there was no freedom of expression.

"Before they invaded, the Americans said they would make Iraqis live better. Is firing 5,000 employees who feed around 25,000 people the way to make us live better?" INA engineer Samir Mehdi al-Ubaidi asked.

US officials say each ministry employee is eligible for a termination payment of $US50.

I like the part about how they 'suffered under Saddam because there was no "freedom of expression" (but they were free to vote from what I saw all over the news). Somehow I doubt you could even get a foot in the door at the Ministry of Information unless 1) you were a Ba'ath party member and 2) you had contacts to get you the position.

< email | 6/02/2003 11:15:00 AM | link

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