She reminded the delegates of Saddam’s torture chambers, the tyrant’s gassing of the Kurds, how following the first Gulf War they rose up and were slaughtered. On the edge of tears, she pleaded for Iraq, you could hear a pin drop. They could not fight the enemies of Iraqi democracy alone without US help – she compared it to the US helping Britain fight fascism, without which Britain would have been defeated. Her unabashed gratitude to Tony embarrassed the audience into silence. The following speaker, an activist opponent of the war, timidly said “I don’t know how to follow that”, before unfortunately droning on, head down, in a dashed monotone against Shanaz’s dream of liberation.
For Guido it was the speech by former Iraqi exile and daughter of an anti-Saddam dissident, Shanaz Ibrahim Ahmad, backing Tony’s handling of the war and calling on the Labour conference to support the British troops guarding freedom in Iraq from the terrorists. “I beseech you to understand what it means to be free,” she urged in an emotional address. “It is your soldiers, your sailors and your airmen who have laid down their lives, their humanity, to give us the freedom to give me my dream.”