I frequently receive e-mails with messages and pictures which I find highly unlikely. I scratch my head and wonder: can this be for real?? (No doubt you have the same experience.) So I check to see if Snopes has an article confirming or denying its reality. Virtually every time, I find that the e-mail is either completely false, or at least partially false (the primary message, generally, is false)
Below is an example of one such e-mail I received this morning. My response follows afterward.
I for one, am thankful for the power of the Internet. I would never see this in or on any of this country’s main media outlets. Shame on them.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS? OR WHERE THIS IS?
This statue currently stands outside the Iraqi palace, now home to the 4th Infantry
Division. It will eventually be shipped home and put in the memorial museum in
Fort Hood , Texas
The statue was created by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for years was forced
By Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that
Kalat was so grateful for the America ‘s liberation of his country; he melted 3 of the
Heads of the fallen Saddam and made the statue as a memorial to the American
Soldiers and their fallen warriors
Kalat worked on this memorial night and day for several months.
To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms.
Do you know why we don’t hear about this in the news? The media avoids it because
It does not have the shock effect. But we can do something about it.
We can pass this along to as many people as we can in honor of all our brave military
Who are making a difference.
And please pass this on!
Now here is the response I sent:
😆 As usual, I did a Snopes search to determine the validity of this e-mail; and as usual, it turned out to be not entirely true, to put it mildly. You can find the Snopes write up here.
Snopes labels it: “Real photograph; inaccurate description”. To summarize their write up: the things that are true in the e-mail are that the statue is real, and it was made by the Iraqi artist named Kalat – who had also made several statues of Saddam Hussein.
What is false is that Saddam Hussein had forced him to make the statues of Hussein; the statue of the soldier was the idea of Kalat; Kalat melted down the heads of the Hussein statues in order to make the soldier statue; and Kalat made the statue because he was so grateful for the American forces “liberating” his country. All of that is simply a pack of lies.
The truth of the matter is that Kalat helped in the construction of the Hussein statues because he desperately needed the money for his family. (It was need for money that “forced” him to do it, not Saddam Hussein). It was the same desperation for money that “forced” him to construct the soldier statue at the request of the U.S. military (it was not his own idea). He certainly did not make that statue because of “gratitude” for the highly immoral invasion of his country, based on multiple lies, by American troops .
Here’s a quote from the Snopes article about Kalat Alussy’s feelings toward the American troops and the invasion:
“The officers didn’t question Mr. [Kalat] Alussy further about his political views. Had they pressed him, they might have learned that he’s harshly critical of the U.S. and bitter over an American rocket attack during the war that killed his uncle. In an interview, he says he thinks the war was fought for oil and holds the U.S. responsible for the violence and unemployment that have plagued Iraq since.”
Kalat Alussy was paid several hundred dollars for his work on the Hussein statues; he wound up being paid $8,000 for the soldier statue. He had initially demanded a much higher price from the U.S. military because of the high price of bronze he would have to purchase to do the statue. The military decided that since they were going to destroy the Hussein statues anyhow, they would just melt down the bronze and give it to Kalat for the soldier statue. Since he was getting the bronze free from the military, Kalat reduced his asking price to $8,000. He still managed to ‘soak’ the U.S. military to reward himself for doing something for the troops he despised.
Now that’s quite different from the lying e-mail, isn’t it? Whenever you pass on such e-mails without “ascertain[ing] the truth”, you just wind up making a fool of yourself in the eyes of anyone who IS willing to find out the truth of the matter. Is that what you want?