Transcendental Bloviation

Politics, Space, Japan

Sunday, July 04, 2004

The Forests of the Night

Going through old e-mail, I re-discovered a whimsically funny, yet irony-laden story I'd commented on to a few, last year. It was an apparent non sequitur at the end of a piece in the Sunday Mirror about Saddam's request for safe passage to Belarus.

The main text is itself quite interesting. Belarus, now - just Saddam's kind of place. It's the former Soviet Union's last possible remaining claim to being a union of Republics, and with "... few investigations or prosecutions of money-laundering activities," according to the CIA World Factbook. No Black Sea beachfront real estate, though, saddening given Saddam's love of Stalin's many villas. Still, you can't have everything.

My dredging up of this funny note after so long was spurred by seeing a photo in the news of Saddam in the dock, his beard and bedraggled locks shorn, soon to be tried, but looking and sounding like his old self again. The tiger, caged. He's received courtly interviews about his new legal status from that Ba'athist purger and fellow crook, Ahmed Chalabi. He has uttered puzzling (to most) comments on his rationale for invading Kuwait.

Well, about all that ... more later, perhaps. For now, here is that puzzling postscript, which hauntingly alludes to the trouble that future Saddam testimony may yet bring upon Iraqis, Americans, and all other parties to this sorry adventure. A gem panned from the babbling brooks of tabloid journalism, a found poem somewhat in William Carlos Williams's style, or perhaps more of a Kafka parable.

The Forests of the Night

An American soldier shot and killed a tiger
 in Baghdad's zoo
  after it attacked a colleague

who had put his arms
 through the bars
  to feed it.

"They turned up after the zoo
 was closed
  and were both drunk",

an Iraqi keeper said.


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