Skip to comments.Victim of Saddam makes Galloway shut up
Posted on 04/05/2003 5:34:22 PM PST by Oorang
Victim of Saddam makes Galloway shut up (Filed: 06/04/2003)
A woman tortured in Iraq tried in vain last week to meet the MP who has praised the Baghdad dictator. Charlotte Edwardes went with her
For someone who happily consorts with a brutal dictator who has murdered people for just smiling at the wrong time, George Galloway was curiously frightened by a demure Iraqi Kurdish woman last week.
"I am very suspicious of you," George Galloway hissed down the phone to Freshta Raper, a 37-year-old exile and mother of one. "I have a gut feeling about you. What do you want to ask me?"
Mrs Raper had spent much of the week trying to catch up with the Left-wing Labour MP to discuss his anti-war pro-Saddam stance. The last 48 hours had, in particular, been frustrating as the MP assiduously avoided her efforts to speak to him.
Her strong view - like those of many Iraqi Kurds - is that the war is necessary as the only way to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein, the tyrant responsible for killing 21 members of her family in 1988 when the regime sprayed chemical weapons on Halabja, the Kurdish area in northern Iraq, killing 5,000.
Mrs Raper finally escaped Iraq in 1991 but only after suffering imprisonment, torture and rape. She has been burnt by one of Saddam's chemical bombs, and she has been anxious to tell Mr Galloway about her experiences with the dictator, whom the MP has visited eight times, once telling him: "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability."
Mrs Raper, a teacher who lives in north London, first came to prominence when she appeared on BBC'S Question Time and berated Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the columnist, for her anti-war views. "She should be grateful that as an Asian immigrant she has a British passport and not an Iraqi one," she said, to approval from the studio audience.
She turned her sights on Mr Galloway last week when the MP called on British troops not to fight and urged Arab leaders to "stand by the Iraqi people". He described Tony Blair and George Bush as "wolves" and said: "The soldiers are lions led by donkeys, sent to kill and be killed."
Mrs Raper was keen to make him hear her views. Despite his many appearances on anti-war platforms and in the media, however, the Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin was elusive.
Mr Galloway refused to meet Mrs Raper when she initially asked, through The Telegraph, if he would agree to a formal interview to discuss Saddam's treatment of the Kurds.
So, like all good activists, she went to his Westminster office to question him informally. Mr Galloway ducked down into an underground passage when he saw her waiting and drove off in his Mercedes.
Mrs Raper tried another tack. She went to visit him at his three-storey house in south London. Mr Galloway didn't answer her taps on the door, although his car was parked in the driveway. Through his front window his love of Iraqi artefacts were plainly visible - a large urn encircled with Koranic inscriptions took pride of place in the fireplace; his hookah pipe stood, recently used, next to the large sofa.
Finally, he answered his home telephone. "I am very suspicious of you," he told Mrs Raper, when she explained her situation. She said that yes, she could provide proof that she was Iraqi, and he finally agreed to a meeting. "OK, come to my office on Monday," he said, before adding: "On second thoughts, don't."
Mr Galloway supports direct action such as marches on Number 10 or the US embassy, although his view is very different when it is his stance that is under scrutiny. "What do you want to talk to me about?" he barked.
"I just want to ask you about Saddam Hussein's human rights record," said Mrs Raper. "As a Western politician, have you ever tried to discuss this in Iraq?"
"I don't have to answer that question," said Mr Galloway defiantly, before adding: "Don't you dare contact me again. If you go to my house again I will have you thrown out and call the police."
The line went dead as Mr Galloway hung up. Perhaps it wasn't so hard to see why Mr Galloway gets on so well with the Butcher of Baghdad.
And this punk actually weilds power in London ?!?!? This is deplorable !
You may have a point, although I suspect Galloway's perversion isn't for teenage girls, but pubescent Arab boys with liquid brown eyes...