April 10 —
Albania sent five soldiers off to war, triggering two days of
intensive media coverage.
The Czech Republic dispatched anti-chemical warfare specialists
to Kuwait, and is now awash in newspaper stories about the soldiers'
proud and fearful wives.
And in Romania, which deployed non-combat troops to the Persian
Gulf, TV commentators are comparing Saddam Hussein to the late
dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
The war in Iraq is being watched closely in many of the smaller
countries that are taking part in the U.S.-led campaign or are
gearing up for the postwar humanitarian effort. Their contributions
may be small, but the impact at home is huge, especially in emerging
democracies where memories of conflict remain fresh.
"We all see the resemblance. ... People there feel what we felt.
They are released from fear," Petre Roman, a leader of the 1989
Romanian uprising that toppled Ceausescu, told Realitatea TV on
Wednesday. Romania has pledged 278 non-combat troops.
In tiny Slovakia, which has sent 73 chemical warfare specialists
to Kuwait, retiree Ladislav Lutter was doing his best to take in the
extensive coverage of the war and stay abreast of developments.
"I watch all the news on TV, and keep the radio on all day to
know what is happening in Iraq," he said while shopping in
Next door, in the Czech Republic, newspapers have been carrying
emotional accounts of the wives and children left behind by 400
non-combat troops now in Kuwait, along with the latest on a lively
parliamentary debate over whether to send a mobile field hospital to
Anti-war sentiment runs high in many coalition countries, again
fueling a wide interest in war developments.
In Jordan, one of at least 45 nations whose governments have
publicly offered support to the U.S.-led effort to unseat Saddam,
there have been more than 150 protests and anti-war rallies. With
Iraq just to the east, ordinary citizens have stuck close to radios
and TVs since the war began.
Three in four Poles remain firmly opposed to the war and their
government's decision to deploy 56 elite commandos to Iraq. Although
details about the Polish contingent are scarce, media coverage of
the war in general has been heavy and not everyone shares the
"I'm tired of watching the war all the time," said Katarzyna
Pohl, 32, a marketing specialist in Warsaw. "I think that Poland has
more important problems than the war in Iraq."
Like Poland, the staunchly pro-U.S. government of Bulgaria has
been stung by anti-war sentiment, even though it has not yet
deployed the 97-member non-combat unit it promised.
But after decades in the orbit of the former Soviet Union, the
country that shook off communism in 1989 has been watching with
fascination as long-oppressed Iraqis lash out at the remnants of
"I don't want to be the judge in this conflict, but I think
Saddam should not be allowed to rule in Iraq until the last Iraqi
has died," said Ivan Andonov, 69, a prominent Bulgarian movie
director and painter. "In this sense, I think this war is
Volodymyr Chemerys could not disagree more.
A fierce opponent of the Ukrainian government, which has sent a
450-member anti-chemical weapons battalion to the Gulf, he was among
a small group of demonstrators who gathered outside the U.S. Embassy
on Wednesday. They were protesting the death of TV cameraman Taras
Protsyuk, who was killed when U.S. forces bombed a hotel in
"We came to pay our respects to Taras and to say that the war in
Iraq is not a good-against-evil war," Chemerys told the Interfax
news agency. "It's Bush's personal war."
|Jordanians in a barber shop
watch a live television broadcast in Amman, Jordan, of the
toppling of a statue of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in
Baghdad Wednesday April 9, 2003. Thousands of jubilant Iraqis
celebrated the collapse of their longtime ruler Hussein's
regime Wednesday, releasing decades of pent-up fury as U.S.
armored forces solidified their grip on the city. (AP
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