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13 November 2014

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You are in: Nottingham > People > Your stories > The dictator's doctor

waxwork of Saddam Hussein

Waxwork of Saddam Hussein

The dictator's doctor

Saddam Hussein's former doctor now lives in Notts. He's written a book about life under the dictator's regime.

Doctor Ala Bashir was appointed as Saddam Hussein's plastic surgeon in 1982.

He then became one of the Iraqi dictator's team of 25 top doctors, working as Saddam's personal physician from 1983 up until the Spring of 2003.

"I was asked to be in his team. It was the saddest day in my life but nobody can refuse." If he had? "(I would have been) put in prison or maybe killed because if you refuse they presume you are against the regime. It was a nightmare."

He is now living in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire after leaving Baghdad in fear of his life.

"I received twice letters in Baghdad, letters with a bullet in it."

But why Nottingham? "I have two sons born in this country - one in Nottingham. We recently decided to move to Nottingham as I recently read that Nottingham has a high rate of crime so I would like to feel at home so I decided to move here."  (This was a joke).

Doctor Ala Bashir has now written a book about his experiences: "The Insider : Trapped in Saddam's brutal regime".

He says he had to write the book as: "Our experiences in Iraq belong to humanity. You have to realise the effect of absolute power and hate and how these two phenomena can enter minds, principles and values of man."

Doctor Ala Bashir has been speaking to BBC Radio Nottingham's Jeff Owen.

About Saddam and his doubles...

"He's a very suspicious man. I don't think he'd like to see someone looking like him with the same freedom to move around the country."

About Saddam's sanity:

"I think maybe he could be described as a psychopath. Definitely he has many personalities. When he's normal he's him he's very cooperative and listens very well. But when you follow what has done in Iraq he is crazy... Once he got everything in his hand, full power, this is when things went very bad. Power corrupts people."

About the Iraq war:

"Right and wrong are relative things. The truth is like a pyramid. If anybody wants to be honest and decent he has to look into this pyramid from different angles. It is no good to see the pyramid from one side and describe the pyramid. This is not the honest way to describe the pyramid. Saddam's regime was bad. It was really bad and corrupt and it had to be changed because it was really inhuman but if you ask me if it was the right way to be changed or not I don't know."

Doctor Ala Bashir now hopes to settle with his family in Nottinghamshire and concentrate on being an artist.

last updated: 07/04/2009 at 13:56
created: 27/07/2005

You are in: Nottingham > People > Your stories > The dictator's doctor

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