Thursday, October 20, 2005

Saddam Trial: "I Want My Blankie!!"

My two year old daughter is attached to her baby blanket, and we can never travel far away from it. She carries it around the house with her, and goes to bed with it, and anytime she gets upset about something, she goes looking for it and cries if she can't find it: "Waahhh.... I want my blankie!"

And, while I expect that sort of thing as a parent, I never expected it to have a parallel with Saddam's trial in Iraq....

The trial of Saddam and seven of his henchmen started yesterday, but here in the US, we only got to see an abbreviated highlight of the trial in the news. I was chatting with my friend Najma today. She watched most of the trial live on TV, and and I was amazed at her description of some of the parts of the trial we did not get to see in the news over here.

Perhaps the funniest was this guy on the left, named Awwad al-Bandar, who was the president of the Revolutionary Court under Saddam. He went to the court wearing traditional Arab dress, including a thobe (traditional Arab robe) and 3gal (Arab head-scarf), but shortly after he got there, the guards took away his 3gal, perhaps thinking it was rude to wear it to court.

So, when the judge questioned Bandar, he started whining to him like a 2 year old:

Judge: What is your name?

Bandar: They took my 3gal!
(translation: "where's my blankie?!")

Judge: I just want your name.

Bandar: But my identity is my 3gal!
(translation: "waaaaahhhhhhh.... I want my blankie!")

Judge: Just tell me your name!

Bandar: But they took my 3gal!
(translation: "waahhhhhhh..... waaahhhhhhhh.... my blankie.... waahhhhhhhh!")

Judge: Who took your 3gal?

Bandar: The court.
(translation: "waahhhhhhh..... that bad man took my blankie! Gimme my blankie!!! WAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!")

And so, the judge had to order a 10 minute recess for the guards to bring al-Bandar his 3gal / "blankie" along with the other prisoners who'd worn them to court.

Here's Awwad al-Bandar with his "blankie"... still not happy, though, but that just goes to show you can never satisfy a 2 year old, even an overgrown 2 year old. Even Saddam in this picture is looking embarrassed to be sitting beside the guy.

If this is what they went through on the first day of this trial, I'd hate to see what kind of childishness the proceedings will devolve into in November when the trial comes back from adjournment.

Hopefully Najma will write a longer post tomorrow with some other highlights.

Update: October 21

As I hoped, my friend Najma put up her post today, and it's very good. Click here to see it.