Sunday, February 18, 2007

Those That Left Us This Year

And now the fourth and final part of the very special Barbarossa series looking back at some of those who left us this year.

Saddam Hussein

Poet for our Time

Saddam Hussein will be remembered for many things: his brutal killing of thousands of Kurds, his awesome dictator moustache, losing every war he dragged his country into, and of course his role as a trend setter in dictator fashion, but often overlooked, perhaps because of the magnitude of his other achievements, are his contributions to world literature.

From a very young age Saddam's dictatorial potential was clear. He liked telling people what to do, carrying around a metal bar to puncture the stomachs of passing animals with, and had unnecessarily killed at least three men by his late teens. Life was hard in economically rickety Iraq, yet young Saddam's natural skill and perseverance made him shoe in for the position with the most job security in the entire country: national dictator. Yet what is often left out in the story was that Saddam's heart just wasn't in it. He was good at it and put on a good show while torturing dissidents, but in many ways being dictator was just something Saddam did to make ends meet. It was his post-college finance job. Indeed it was the being dictator for life that gave Saddam the luxury of indulging in his true passion: creative writing

If anything, the fevered pace with which Saddam Hussein finished his last book, 'Demons be Gone!,' which were rolling off the presses as the war began, speaks to this.

Saddam's fourth book, 'Demons be Gone!" tells the story of Salim "a pure, virtuous Arab. Salim is tall and handsome with a straight nose," -cough-Saddam-cough, who defends Iraq from Ezekiel, an immortal Jew whose evil fat presence runs throughout time and who attempts to conquer Iraq and turn Muslim against one another. Many have commented on how positively Hussein represents Ariel Sharon in this character.

The Gulf War is perceptively portrayed as another attempt by Ezekiel to conquer Iraq, but with the words "Be gone demon," Salim is able drive him off. Sadly, tricky old Ezekiel later returns with his Roman -cough-American-cough- allies and subjugate Iraq, but valiant Salim is able to lead a glorious resistance moment and work towards the liberation of Iraq.

It is truly a wonder Saddam's series has yet to emerge as the next Harry Potter.

Still, work often left Saddam with too little time to work on his novels. A benevolent dictator, Saddam was happy sometimes just to be a muse for others, summoning writers at three o'clock in the morning, giving them three days to turn his notes into a novel. Often Saddam was so excited by what they had written that his joy would overflow, killing the writers, and Saddam was then so moved by their deaths that he would publish their works in his own name. Truly that alone makes him the equal of his spiritual mentor, Ernest Hemingway, whose novel the Old Man and the Sea he sought to emulate.

The world is poorer without your prose to enrich our lives Saddam, and Ezekiel just hasn't been the same since you left.

And now a montage of better times:

One Final Note from an Article I found:

Saddam Hussein was forced to watch South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, according to the film's co-creator Matt Stone.

The former Iraqi leader is portrayed in the movie as a homosexual who is in a relationship with the devil, and Stone claims the prisoner was forced to watch it "repeatedly" while he was being held by US Marines.

The South Park movie was banned on release in Iraq seven years ago.

Stone reveals: "I have it on pretty good information from the Marines on detail in Iraq that they showed him the movie. That's really adding insult to injury. I bet that made him really happy."

Saddam, you will be missed.

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