Iraqis who have lived under embargo for more than 10 years were promised an increase in food rations on Sunday, April 1, ... only to find out it was an April Fools' joke.
Babel newspaper, run by President Saddam Hussein's elder son Uday, announced far more generous portions of meat and chicken under the rationing system in force since sanctions were slapped on Iraq for invading Kuwait in August 1990.
In front-page reports, it also said that luxury BMW cars ordered in the 1980s were finally on their way to Iraq, while students were assured they would all be given pass grades in end-of-year exams.
An insert on the last page warned readers not to be fooled.
The Iraqi government played the same hoax on its people two years ago on April 1 when an official newspaper pledged they would receive bananas, chocolate and soft drinks in their rations.
"I hope with all my heart that the embargo will really be lifted to make us happy this spring, without all these April Fools' jokes, however innocent they may be," Sabri Hamid, a Baghdad textiles merchant, told AFP. — (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)