Tuesday, January 07, 2003

There Once was a Ruthless Dictator from Iraq ...

In a particularly nauseating article about an Iraqi poet who writes love poems to Saddam, I came across this coffee-out-the-nose passage:
The Iraqi president has been called many things. To some U.S. politicians, he's a modern-day Adolf Hitler, a liar, a ruthless dictator. In Iraq's official newspapers, he is the Great Leader.
I naively thought that at least one point of agreement between doves and hawks is that Saddam is a ruthless dictator, but apparently only some U.S. politicians think so. Gee, I wonder what the people who have been gassed, tortured, and killed by the Great Leader think of him. Do you think they might a few choice "poems" for his Swellness?
But inside the library of Abdul Razzaq Abdul Wahid, Iraq's most famous poet, Saddam is the muse.
And what does the Suck-up Laureate have to say about those who don't like his patron: "I feel proud that people can hate him so much."
Saddam, who has his own literary ambition, has sought Wahid's advice on writing.... In private, Iraqis discount the leader's talent.
Hmm, a failed artist who became a ruthless dictator ...
Wahid receives $250 a month from Iraq's Ministry of Culture, several times more than a physician earns. A nurse earns just $84 a year. Iraqi painters and sculptors who make their names creating Saddam's likeness also are well paid by the government.
Glad to see that U.S. sanctions haven't hurt Iraqi artists.
In the early 1980s, the president asked Wahid to choose a stretch of riverfront on which to build a house.... Sweeping his arms around his large library with its ornate wooden shelves, Wahid says: "I live like a poet."
Ah, how sweet it is to reap the rewards of being a poet--or is it to reap the rewards of being a bootlicking toady?
He senses his 20-year idyll is coming to a close. Wahid expects a U.S.-led war will end this good life.
How sad for him. Millions of others will be released from the nightmare of totalitarian evil, but how sad for him. Don't worry, though, Wahid can always move to Cuba and sing the praises of Fidel. There's no shortage of thugs and dictators.

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