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WORTH NOTING ON TV

By Alan Bunce / February 22, 1994



* TUESDAY

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Saddam's Latest War: A Commentary by Michael Wood (PBS, 10-11 p.m.): Writer-narrator Wood has brought a refreshingly literate tone to several public-TV series in the past few years - including ``River Journeys'' and ``In Search of the Trojan War.'' But none has been so harrowing or immediate in significance as this look at an extermination campaign going on in Iraq two years after the end of the Persian Gulf war.

The so-called marsh Arabs of that country, Shiite Muslims, are being killed by Saddam's forces in a campaign involving chemical weapons, the wiping out of whole tribes, and the torture of women, children, and men. Saddam's government has drained the marshes where this minority lives and on which it depends for survival. The documentary shows the now-barren expanses of former marshes.

The production uses amateur videos smuggled from Iraq by resistance fighters, as well as interviews with some of the marsh Arabs Wood spoke with when he traveled to the Iraqi border for the program. As its title indicates, this film bears Wood's personal stamp, and he doesn't mind berating the West for doing so little about the vast and systematic slaughter by Saddam. * WEDNESDAY

House of Representatives (C-Span, 10 a.m. EST to conclusion): The channel's regular coverage.

The New Explorers (PBS, 8-9 p.m.): One of TV's more interesting shows about the great outdoors in the past few years was ``River of Doubt 1914-1992.'' Airing Dec. 30, 1992, it recreated a South American journey once taken by Theodore Roosevelt.

Last August the same expedition team that made that earlier program trekked across present-day Tanzania, Burundi, and Zambia. The result is ``In the Footsteps of Dr. Livingstone,'' a documentary retracing the historic 1871 route of Henry Morton Stanley in search of the famed explorer Livingstone. The program finds an Africa totally transformed in some ways, yet in places much like the land Stanley encountered.

Please check local listings for these programs.