Before and during the war in Iraq, Christian Peacemaker Teams a program of Brethren, Quaker and Mennonite Churches, posted delegations of volunteers there to educate the public and "get in the way" of military attacks. During the war, Beliefnet published a running diary written from Baghdad by some of the volunteers. Today, a few of those same "human shields" are back in Iraq, still protesting the American military presence.

This entry was written by Allen Slater, 67, a retired dairy farmer from Ontario. Slater was in Baghdad during the war and returned there recently.

The guns started going off in the streets of Baghdad just before 2 p.m. on Sunday. We knew that something was being celebrated. The last time it had been Iraq's football victory over North Korea. This time it was the arrest of Saddam Hussein. Just as we got the news, I was whisked off by car for an afternoon with the Abu Raji family. We sat together and watched the events on their TV.

It was a bittersweet time for this Iraqi family. They were elated at the arrest of Saddam Hussein but embittered by the smug grins of U.S. generals and politicians. bu Raji, the father, summed up the present situation saying, "Iraq is like a bird that is too tired to fly but has no place to land."

Out on the streets of our local community of Karradah I heard lots of comments:

"George Bush and Saddam Hussein are brothers. Now they are together."

" Saddam Hussein bought his support with money so his supporters are gone. The resistance now consists of people who want Iraq to be free of the American imperialists."

One man, upon learning that I was not American, but Canadian, asked, "What would you do if the Americans were occupying your country like this?"

"Some Iraqis who have no money and no jobs will take money to kill Americans," stated another man.

One woman said, "The problems of Iraq and the Middle East will never be resolved until Palestinians are freed from Israeli oppression."

Omar, our wise and friendly neighbor, stated, "The people of Iraq will find Saddam Hussein guilty when they see a brighter future than the one they see now."
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