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New heartfelt sculpture replaces fallen Saddam statue

BAGHDAD, Iraq—Just a month after U.S. soldiers and a crowd of raucous Iraqis tore down a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's Paradise Square, young artists are creating a new statue with a new message.

Basim Hamad, 30, designed it—an abstract figure of a person holding up the sun and a crescent moon. He said the statue will represent peace, love and freedom in a new Iraq.

Hamad said when he first climbed up onto the pedestal where the new sculpture will stand, and where the statue of Saddam was torn down on April 9, he was so moved by his new ability to express himself that he cried.

Over the weekend he labored under a hot sun 50 feet above the square, erecting scaffolding so that he could mold the sculpture from cement and fiber. He and the other artists expected to finish the work within 10 days.

He didn't ask anyone's permission.

"It's my country, and I can do it," he said.


(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

PHOTO (from KRT Photo Service, 202-383-6099): USIRAQ+STATUE