portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

government

saddam made honorary citizen of detroit in 1980

odd story, but what it does show is that saddam could be generous. His subsequent demonisation has caused us to overlook this side of saddam. When did a US president last pay off a churches debt anywhere?
Years before Saddam Hussein became an enemy to the United States, he was reportedly seen as a friend and made an honorary Detroit citizen.

In 1980 when Saddam Hussein was on good terms with America, he was quite the giver. Hussein donated money to help several churches in the motor city, Detroit.

There are pictures of a meeting between a Detroit priest and Saddam Hussein when he accepted the donation.

Father Jacob Yasso of the Sacred Heart Chaldean Church says, "He said, 'We hear you have a debt on your church'. I said, 'Yes Mr. President'. He said, 'How much?'. I said '$170,000'. He said, 'I'll pay it off for you'."

Father Yasso returned the favor at that same meeting 23 years ago. He gave Hussein a key to the city of Detroit making him an honorary citizen.
 http://www.wndu.com/news/032003/news_19147.php
Ah, touching 20.Feb.2004 21:16

ha ha

The giving side of Saddam, huh? Pretty funny.

well haha 21.Feb.2004 17:41

brian

when was the last time you saw a us president offer to pay off a churches debt? This story seems to have gone down the memory hole.

Arundhati Roy explained it well 22.Feb.2004 15:56

Ludwig van Beethoven

Saddam was a gangster. Like all gangsters, he knew how to be quite the charmer sometimes. Gangsters always know the importance of doling out favors to win loyalty. Even in the depths of his worst police state atrocities, Saddam knew how to retain the loyalty of millions of Iraqis. Of course he did. His political viability required it.

American gangsters, in politics or out, are not much different. Only the targets of the shakedowns are differ. But of them all, American presidents are world-class gangsters. They don't settle for shaking down a few poor people in their own countries. Their horizons are far grander than that. They shake down whole countries. And in their cases, the home crowd whose loyalty they work to win includes most of their domestic populations. Of course, they don't give a rat's ass about people in other countries, and they have no problems with sacrificing a few million civilians in Vietnam or Cambodia or Latin America or Iraq to their ambitions.

What happened in Iraq's case is a business deal that went sour between the world's big-time gangsters and an uppity 3rd world gangster. At some point, Washington decided Saddam was too much of a loose cannon and a liability.