Friday, November 18, 2005

Who Do You Mean -- Those Manayich?

I know, it's tempting. You want to feel sorry for him.

Look, there's nothing wrong with that. It's what makes you human. It's what makes you liberal. It's always been this way. You knew, for example, that the Rancor was a vicious beast beyond reason; you saw him try to eat Luke Skywalker, and he could have done it, too, if he were a little bit smarter. Even so, when that metal gate closed on the Rancor's head, you felt a little bit sorry for him. And when his keeper began sobbing, it was almost too much. You're a liberal. You have the burden, and the blessing, of empathy.

The Rancor

As it was then with the Rancor, so it is now with Mr. George Walker Bush. You know perfectly well that he's a wanton psychopath, without compassion, without decency. You know, perhaps because I keep saying it, that Bush has killed far more innocent civilians in Iraq than al Qaeda did in New York, Washington, Madrid, Bali, Istanbul, Riyadh, and London combined.

Plus our guys. It was a big event on October 25 when the two thousandth American soldier was killed. That was twenty-three days ago; eighty-three more have been killed since; that's almost four soldiers a day. Think about that -- today you and I will eat, go to work, write the Great American Novel, or whatever, while in Iraq, three or four young people who live here will be killed. Or nine. Or twenty-one. Or thirty-six. And yet, when George W. Bush dismisses as unpatriotic the "critics" who have a problem with this, he still cannot wipe that goddamn shit-eating grin off his face for one goddamn second.

George W. Bush

But still -- these days, he's just so pathetic, you do almost kind of feel sorry for him sometimes.

I was thinking about this because yesterday Saddam Hussein was beaten up in court. Here's what happened: Saddam was on trial, and he admitted that his helicopters fired upon civilians in Karbala during the 1991 Shia uprising, just as the American heroes were leaving. Saddam was then asked whether Karbala's two holiest Shia shrines, those of Imam al-Hussein and Imam al-Abbas, had been attacked. And apparently, his response was, "Who do you mean? Those manayich?"

We may never know what "manayich" means. The only Google result for it is the article linked to above. Other articles have the "Who do you mean?" quote, but then they just say that he uttered "an obscenity" or "an expletive." And that one article, from the U.K. Telegraph, translates "manayich" as "buggers."

Anyway, these are two of the holiest figures in Shia Islam, and when Saddam is asked whether he attacked their shrines, his response is, "Who do you mean -- those buggers?"

Suddenly, two court clerks -- who until this moment had been quietly taking notes -- lunged at Saddam Hussein and began punching him in the face. According to the BBC, they were shouting an ancient Shia incantation which means, "Blimey, you barmy wanker, what are you on about? Deprecate Imam al-Hussein and Imam al-Abbas, and we'll bung your bleeding arse in the rubbish bin and Bob's your uncle!"

Saddam Hussein

Saddam, apparently, fought back. Soon enough, according to the Telegraph, "the judge succeeded in restoring order, but not before the ex-dictator's head was bruised." And get this: "U.S. guards posted outside the makeshift courthouse in Baghdad found the incident amusing and did not intervene, the lawyer claimed."

This is Saddam Hussein. He is thought to have murdered six hundred thousand people.

But again -- once in a while, you catch yourself almost feeling sorry for these guys. That's who I mean -- those manayich.

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