But as the morning light grew, the American guards moved Mr. Ani, a 31-year-old father of two young children, [and women's clothing merchant] methodically toward freedom. They swapped his yellow prison suit for street clothes, he said. They snipped off his white plastic identification bracelet. They scanned his irises into their database.Mr. Ani was kept in an American prison camp for two years with no due process, was questioned once, and never charged with anything. He was originally detained for having an Iraqi uniform in his apartment. There are other camps in the region with 15,500 other Iraqi's under similar circumstances. After release, Mr. Ani's home was attacked by a Shiite militia who it is believed find out about Sunni's being released via sources in prison, forcing him to flee to Syria. He's now trying to rebuild a life. Other former detainees have different ideas:
Then, shortly before 9 a.m., Mr. Ani said, he was brought to a table for one last step. He was handed a form and asked to place a check mark next to the sentence that best described how he had been treated:
“I didn’t go through any abuse during detention,” read the first option, in Arabic.
“I have gone through abuse during detention,” read the second.
In the room, he said, stood three American guards carrying the type of electric stun devices that Mr. Ani and other detainees said had been used on them for infractions as minor as speaking out of turn.
“Even the translator told me to sign the first answer,” said Mr. Ani, who gave a copy of his form to The New York Times. “I asked him what happens if I sign the second one, and he raised his hands,” as if to say, Who knows?
“I thought if I don’t sign the first one I am not going to get out of this place.”
Shoving the memories of his detention aside, he checked the first box and minutes later was running through a cold rain to his waiting parents. “My heart was beating so hard,” he said. “You can’t believe how I cried.”
In one area of Damascus, Shiite refugees from Iraq have established a mini version of Sadr City, the Baghdad neighborhood. Sunni refugees, in turn, are forming their own enclaves. In interviews, former detainees seethed with rage at the United States.I really wonder sometimes how anyone who supports Bush and this war would react in a similar situation? Can you image someone like, oh say, a young gung ho male from Mississippi who is detained for having a gun by occupying foreigners, tortured for two years with no charges, and then released would respond?
One, a 43-year-old man from Samarra, Iraq, said he was released last year despite having fought American troops.
“I wish to go back to Iraq and fight against the Americans, God willing,” vowed the man, who spoke on the condition that he be identified only by his nom de guerre, Abu Abdulla, for fear of reprisal.
I'm a very lucky person with every allergy known to man but still happy to be enjoying a wonderful life living in the best place in the world!