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|Double trouble: Actor Dominic Cooper plays both Uday Hussein and his body-double, Latif Yahia, in “The Devil’s Double.” Below: Uday Hussein was notorious for his mistreatment of women while his father, Saddam, ruled Iraq. Uday (along with his brother Qusay, and Qusay’s son Mustapha) was killed by U.S. forces in a house in Mosul, Iraq, on July 22, 2003. (C) FILMFINANCE VI 2011 — ALL RIGHTSRESERVED|
Friday, Jan. 13, 2012
|Living witness: Latif Yahia wrote “The Devil’s Double” in 1992 about his experience living life as a body-double for the son of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. (C) FILMFINANCE VI 2011 — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED|
A few months ago as you can see from the first date on his messages befriended me on Facebook, I get a lot of requests and added him. After I did he sent me the first message. I didn’t reply to it for two reasons, firstly Iw as very busy and secondly I don’t give out that kind of information to people that I do not know personally or have dealings with, you just don’t know who they are not matter what they tell you on Facebook!
What I want or should I say would like is for you to read everything and give me your opinion.
Here are his messages and my answer
Elliot Collier lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA.
• Al-Rashid 8/March/2011
Mr Yahia, I hope this message finds you and is not dismissed by an assistant. My name is Elliot Collier; back in 2005 and 2006 I lived at the former Al-Rashid training facility in Baghdad described in your book (I was not a soldier). I am writing to inquire if you would be willing to provide some basic information about the facility such as former uses of the various buildings and things of that nature. If so I have several maps I can send for reference. I appreciate you taking the time to read this, I am a big fan of your books and blog, and I would be honored to have your assitance in this matter. Sincerely, Elliot Collier PS: I have also sent a request through your website via Mr. Rolls.
After I posted a photo on my Facebook page and on Twitter that I received from a Solider in the American Army today, he sent me this message.
I’m ashamed of you Mr. Yahia. I sympathized with your past experiences, but even still, how can you of all people attack America like this without pause? You know better than anyone that the actions of certain leaders, agencies, or persons are not a reflection of their country. Look at the atrocities committed by Iraqis, Afghanis, Iranians, and other people in the middle east; yet you are not posting pictures of their soldiers with dead bodies or slamming their governments. Why are you not outraged about insurgents decapitating civilians? Why are you not protesting Al-Jazira for broadcasting these murders? These pictures and videos do exist… why are you not posting them and condemning the terrorists? Why are we not to assume all Iraqis are murderous, barbaric monsters because of what Uday did? You criticize the US for invading Iraq but might I remind you if we hadn’t Saddam would still be in power, and Uday would still be alive. You claimed it was Iraq’s war to fight and the US shouldn’t have been involved, but do you really think anything would have happened? Who would have stepped up to challenge his power? I will admit war crimes were committed, on both sides; but these are not the actions of a whole people. I spent a year being shot at (by whom?) in Iraq yet never fired a shot myself. We were all taught to take the diplomatic approach first. I have befriended many Iraqis and even assisted several in immigrating to the United States. Does this place me in the same lot as the man in that picture because of our birthplace? Not all Americans are evil, just as not all Iraqis are terrorists. You cannot judge a country based on the perverse actions of a few deranged individuals (which again, exist on BOTH sides). Your hatred and negativity is what is preventing you from finding asylum in another country. Who would want a man who continually spouts off hatred at every government he does not agree with? Yes, you’ve been through some terrible situations that I personally cannot even imagine, but positive actions will carry you a lot further in life. You claim that out of you, Saddam, and Uday, you were the only one left standing… but are you? You claim to support peace, but nothing you do supports this claim. You are a bitter, resentful man that has no future if you don’t follow your own teachings and start practicing tolerance and not hatred. You are different than Uday… but are you any better?
Here is my answer to Mr. Collier.
I am ashamed of you Mr. Collier. To spout off at me with no regard or understanding of what I am saying to you or the world except your own vision, that I am attacking all the people in America. If you had truly read anything that I have written you would know that I continually repeat that I am not against American people, but I am most definitely against American foreign policy.
You say that you have been shot at yet did not return fire, that is because you are not a soldier, but I ask the question what were you doing in Iraq? Why would you risk your life in a barbaric country like Iraq, if it were not for the love of your country or maybe the huge wage that you were being paid to be there, I guarantee it was not because you loved Iraq, the Iraqi people or wanted to see us a free nation. Ask yourself this, how can we be a free nation when we were invaded by a foreign force without provocation?
Yes, it was for Iraqi people to depose Saddam, how can you tell me that we would not have had an “Arab Spring” ? Who would have thought that Mubarak would have been brought down by his own people? I cannot say the same for Libya as we all know foreign hands were a part of that also.
If America had not invaded and Saddam was still in power there would not be Sunni on Shia killings, people would not be being beheaded, murdered or paid to change their name from Sunni to Shia, Under Saddam no matter how much I hated his regime, people had electricity, clean water and medicines, the only time that they did not was under sanctions, yet another weapon used by foreign hands against the people of Iraq.
You accuse me of being bitter etc. I am not bitter, I am telling the truth, just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean that I am wrong and maybe you should take your own advice. As for the people you helped to Immigrate to America, well done to you I hope that they make you proud.
As for Al-Jazeera TV if you don’t know who is behind them and paying their wages ask your government. All of these insurgents and militias were made after America invaded.
Ask yourself this, if I had posted a picture of Iraqis standing with “job well done” smiles outside of a car with dead Americans inside how would you feel?, no matter what your politics or feeling for your government? Why is it that every other life has more value and is entitled to more feelings of outrage than an Iraqis?? Also if I had posted that type of picture you would have accused me of being a supporter of the insurgents, so really it’s a no win situation for me isn’t it? the best example would have been the photos that were put on the internet of insurgents who had killed Mercenaries in Fallujah, what did the American army do to Fallujah? They fired everything legal and illegal at it until it was not much more than powder in the ground, anyone who survived will see generations of their children disfigured and deformed from the chemical weapons that were used and until now Fallujah has the highest cancer level in Iraq. Those mercenaries were not even American or legally attached to the US forces. So again many were killed for a few.
So I stay true to myself Mr. Collier no matter what you think of me.
If you want to tell me that Iraq is safer today under the puppets that have been installed by America and it is not controlled by Iran then I think you need to take a step back and let yourself see things clearly.
Where do you think that I get these photos? I get them from other Americans who disagree with what is going on with their own people but are not in a position to do anything about it.
This is a quote from your message above:
Firstly I am not seeking asylum, I have lived 20 years in the west and what I am seeking is Citizenship which I am entitled to by law. I do not spout off hatred at governments and even if I did what about freedom of speech or is that only for Western people? And if so, what is the point of bringing Democracy to the middle east if we are not truly allowed to practice it? Your words prove that anyone who had some sort of authority in Iraq be you a soldier/fireman etc (because let’s face it anyone who went to Iraq had authority over the Iraqi people) believes that anyone who had an opinion different to your American one is wrong! You see what I have learned in my 20 years in the West is that it is fine to criticize dictators, despots and tyrants but not democracies, which is strange because that is truly what democracy is all about isn’t it? So, although I understood perfectly well before, I am thankful that somebody finally said it out loud. It is more than clear now why people like Uday’s pimps, murderers from militias etc have attained Citizenship in the West, they are able to put their heads down and say Yes, yes, yes, that is until they get the citizenship and then you see them on Arabic TV (because after years they still can’t speak the language of their new country) saying things like “Uday was a Martyr” and “down with America”. What you see is what you get with me, I am not two faced.
As I said earlier, I HOPE THE IRAQIS THAT YOU HELPED TO IMMIGRATE TO THE US DO YOU PROUD.
Good day Sir.
From Arcanum Media Group.
We had printed a limited run of 185,150 copies of
The Devil’s Double, due to high demand for the book on pre-order it has sold out. So we are going back to press to bring you a further 50,000 copies, if you wish to secure your copy, please buy now on pre-order and your book will be delivered to you before Christmas.
We will not be supplying any other bookstore or website with this book, it is being sold exclusively here on Arcanum Media Group so if you have pre-ordered from Amazon etc please contact them for a refund.
The A.M.G team
|THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE, Book.|
Dear friends, be aware that the Devils Double book will be re-released at the end of this month, please DO NOT try and buy this book through Amazon or another book site, the publisher will not be supplying any other website with the book it will be available exclusively through Arcanum Media Group. This is also where you will be able to find my other books.
Please share this link with all your friends so that they too know not to buy or pre-order the book on any other site except Arcanum Media Group as they will not receive it and may not get a refund either.
here is the link
Vanaf 8 september in de bioscoop: The Devil’s Double (NL)! Van James Bond regisseur Lee Tamahori komt deze knallende actiefilm over de dubbelganger van de zoon van Saddam Hussein! Ook wel de Scarface van het Midden Oosten genoemd dus deze film mag je niet missen!
Mooie vrouwen in gouden bikini’s, de aanwezigheid van de internationale cast en regisseur, een stormloop op Tuschinski en meer dan genoeg BN’ertjes die deze film niet wilden missen: alle ingrediënten voor een geslaagde première waren aanwezig. Maar het meest bijzondere was toch wel dat de echte Latif Yahia acte de presence gaf met zijn familie. Inderdaad, de man die gedwongen werd de dubbelganger van Uday Hoessein te worden; een sadistische en totaal ontspoorde dictatorszoon.
Could you live with the devil for five years? How about become him?
At only 23-years-old, Iraqi military official Latif Yahia faced both dilemmas, as the psychotic eldest son of Iraq’s notorious dictator brought him to the edge of hell and back with a job offer.
Or rather, a job assignment.
To be a fiday, a double…
Adapted from Yahia’s autobiographical book, the 2011 Sundance film “The Devil’s Double” directed by Lee Tamahori and starring Dominic Cooper as both Yahia and Uday Hussein, is being called a “must-see summer movie” and the “Scarface of Arabia.”
While Yahia praised the film and Cooper’s performance, stating that “no one has played him [Uday] as well as Dominic….great performance,” it’s apparent that nothing about the film’s inspiration was glamorous.
For five years Yahia, now a Ph.D and well respected author, endured torture, forced plastic surgery, and psychological torment at the hands of a man he calls “completely erratic” – Uday Hussein.
Yahia and Hussein became classmates in their adolescence but it wasn’t until the closing of the Iran-Iraq war that Yahia was called summoned to undertake what would become the most heinous and disturbing task of his life.
Becoming Uday Saddaam Hussein.
Yahia recalls the emotional chords struck by certain scenes in Tamahori’s film: “The scene that affected me the most was the torture scene where Uday is whipping me on the bench. It reminds me of all the torture that I suffered at his hands. The scene where he tries to have me kill the father of the raped girl, not just because I refused and slit my wrists but because, although the movie doesn’t show it, Uday actually took the gun as I was bleeding and shot the man anyway, right there in his office.”
Forced to duplicate Hussein’s mannerisms, demeanor, and even dental alignment, Yahia assured me that Uday, as crazed and powerful as he was, never truly took hold of who he was.
“I never lost myself, if I had I would have given in to Uday’s lifestyle and psychotic behavior as his “friends” did,” Yahia says. “Always in the back of my head I would say “I am Latif Yahia, my father is Yahia, he raised me to be a strong and true man.”
Reflecting on the most difficult aspects of his experience as a body double, the now husband and father recalled the anguish of witnessing Uday’s treatment of women.
“Uday would find them anywhere and everywhere, if they didn’t come willingly he had them abducted. He had his pimps bring groups of girls around and he would choose, whomever was leftover the pimps could have…. I believe they should all rot in hell.”
While discussing film, which has not been shown in Iraq, Yahia also notes the sociopolitical impact “The Devil’s Double” had on the Muslim world, and why U.S. involvement in Iraq has destroyed a connection to his homeland.
“Iraq has been brought back a thousand years, thanks. The Muslim people all know what their leaders are and how they behave, in Iraq we had one Saddam and one Uday, now we have hundreds, every Ministers’ son acts in the way Uday did.”
He continues, “Anyone who says Iraq is stable is lying, delusional, corrupt and/or working for the American government. I have no feeling for a country that is run by Iranians and occupied by American forces.”
In 2003, Uday Saddam Hussien was killed along with his brother Qusay and nephew Mustapha during a U.S. Task Force 20 confrontation. Yahia was less than satisfied at hearing the news.
“I was FURIOUS! Not because he I liked him! I wanted justice! I wanted to see him in court, I wanted to stand in front of a judge and say ‘Look what this madman did to me,’ I wanted the Iraqi people to get Justice, killing him was the easy way out. No one got closure or justice that day.”
What is justice?
After reading Yahia’s book and seeing the film, I am moved by the power of individual resilience and personal character, even when the world is trying to rip it away from you. Perhaps justice is the ability to propel forward, unscathed by the evils of one’s past.
Having spent the last 15 years in Ireland, despite 105 letters to the Ministry of Justice in Ireland, Yahia still awaits to hear back from his third citizenship application. His previous two were denied.
“I will never give up my fight for free speech, freedom, and justice…I work for peace around the world, with people who believe in peace and humanity.” Yahia is now working on what he refers to as a “controversial” documentary film, and seems to be following the promise made on his personal website.
“As my dearest friends and family say ‘I don’t have a filter’ but for me it’s easy to talk about these things, I don’t have a political party to toe the line in, I’m not affiliated to anyone or anything. Therefore I can speak the truth and the only one that will pay the price will be me. If I survive the release of the documentary.”
Although Latif Yahia is still in search of a homeland, 19-years after the darkest chapter in his life, it seems that he is, in some way, at home with himself.