All quiet on Saddam Beach

Staff Reporter

MALAPPURAM: Tuesday was just another day for those living along the Saddam coast, in the 14th ward of the Parappanangadi grama panchayat.

The second anniversary of the execution of Saddam Hussein, former Iraq President, made no difference to the 250-odd families there.

Saddam, it seems, has started vanishing from their memories. Till last year, the people here used to celebrate their hero’s courage in resisting American invasion.

When Saddam was executed on December 30, 2006, Saddam Beach witnessed one of the biggest protests in these parts against the U.S. military action in Iraq.

“No one here actually cares for Saddam. We did not even remember that it was Saddam’s second death anniversary today,” says Moideen Koya K., a 70-year-old resident.

But Saddam still lives in the minds of the younger generation here. “We respect him as a man who stood against imperialism,” says Latheef P.P. Mr. Latheef said they did not want to observe the death anniversary in view of the volatile situation existing along the coast of Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.

“You cannot say that we have completely forgotten Saddam Hussein. We hoisted black flags on Bakrid as a mark of protest against the hanging,” he said.

When the beach got its name (Saddam) during the first Gulf War, there were hardly three-dozen families there. The name of the beach has got into official records.

“It was a clash between two Sunni factions on the beach that earned the beach its name,” said V. Abdul Khader, another resident. “Initially, it had a negative tone. It later transformed into a positive image of resistance against U.S. aggression.”

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