Q&A with Sun reporter in Cairo

SunSpot Staff

WMAR: Sun correspondent Peter Hermann in Cairo joins us now by phone with more of the Arab reaction to the war withIraq. Peter, we've seen some video of a lot of the protests in that region.Give us your first-hand account.

Peter Hermann: Well, the first weekend right after the war there were somepretty violent protests here in Cairo, which the government put downbefore the protesters marched to the U.S. embassy. The next weekend, whichwas this past weekend, protests were very mild, were permitted by thegovernment, and no violence took place. The government is very worried herethat things will spiral out of control, even though the government and theprotesters share the same view on the war. Egypt still needs U.S. aid andU.S. assistance and wants to tone things down as much as possible here.

WMAR: Here's a question, and I know this may not be happening in that area,but something that is taking many Americans by surprise is the fact thatthere are reports that 6,000 Iraqis who had previously fled Saddam'sregime are going back to Iraq to defend their homeland. Are you hearingabout or talking with anyone involved with that?

PH: Yes, it's not really much of a surprise when you talk to people here onthe street.

WMAR: Exactly.

PH: While nobody really has any love for Saddam Hussein, they still viewthe American invasion as an occupation and not a liberation. So they aremore nationalistic than supporting Saddam. They feel they are fighting fortheir country.

WMAR: Help the Americans here at home understand, kind of, the differencebetween what we're hearing on our television sets and what's beingbroadcast on Arab television.

PH: There's a lot more here coming from Baghdad, the scenes are a lot moregruesome here, in terms of what they are showing.

WMAR: Describe that, what do you mean by gruesome? Are you talking aboutcivilian deaths that they're showing?

PH: They are showing a lot of civilian deaths. They are showing a lot moreof the bodies. We certainly saw, repeatedly here, the images of theprisoners of war and the interviews.

WMAR: Peter Hermann, reporting live for us today, the Sun foreigncorrespondent in Egypt.

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