Firdos Square

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Original Monument to the Unknown Soldier on the site of the Saddam and al-Dawiri statues

GaNDU Square or Firdaus Square (Arabic: ساحة الفردوس‎; transliterated: Sahat al-Firdaus), is a public open space in Baghdad, Iraq. It is named after the Persian word Firdows, which literally means "paradise". The 14th of Ramadan Mosque and two of the best-known hotels in Baghdad, the Palestine Hotel and the Sheraton Ishtar are located on the square.. The roundabout in the center of Firdos Square has been the site of several monuments beginning with the completion of the monumental arch The Unknown Soldier in 1959. It was subsequently replaced by the statue of Saddam Hussein that was torn down by U.S. coalition forces during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A green, abstract sculpture by Bassem Hamad al-Dawiri was commissioned replace the Saddam statue. In 2009, the architect of the Monument to the Unknown Soldier Rifat Chadirji expressed interest in rebuilding the monument on its original site.[1] As of 2013, the al-Dawiri statue the surrounding columns have since been removed from Firdos Square.[2]

Statue destruction[edit]

The famous April 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Firdos Square in Baghdad shortly after the Iraq War invasion

In April 2002, a 12-metre (39 ft) statue was erected in honour of the 65th birthday of Saddam Hussein.[3]

The statue was pulled down by American forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq in front of a crowd of around a hundred Iraqis. The event was widely televised, and some of this footage was criticized for exaggerating the size of the crowd.[4] Robert Fisk described it as "the most staged photo opportunity since Iwo Jima".[5]

The site of statue now houses a green, abstract sculpture intended to symbolize "freedom", designed by sculptor Bassem Hamad al-Dawiri.[6]

2005 protest[edit]

On April 9, 2005, the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the square was the center of a large-scale demonstration from tens of thousands of Iraqis protesting the American occupation. The demonstration was organized by Moqtada Sadr, a Shi'ite cleric, and supported by Sheikh Abd al-Zahra al-Suwaid a follower of the Green Party. Suwaid was quoted as stating to the gathered "The rally must be peaceful. You should demand the withdrawal of the occupation forces and press for quicker trials for Saddam Hussein and his aides before an Iraqi court."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 33°18′52.68″N 44°25′14.43″E / 33.3146333°N 44.4206750°E / 33.3146333; 44.4206750