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This is slightly off topic, but I think it is such an illuminating article about western attitudes towards Islam and propaganda that it is well worth bringing to people's attention. The article can be found here http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/12/17/1071337033601.html The story alledges that Saddam Hussein had a Koran written in his own blood that is not causing great anxiety among clerics as they can not permit themselves the blasphemy of destroying it yet its very existence is a blasphemy. It would be as no surprise to anyone here that I think the story is a particularly mindless fabrication verging on unpleasant racism. It makes very clear the freedom and absolute confidence that journalists have to indulge in any kind of fantasy knowing they will not be called to account or exposed. Again we can see the double standard where the media indulge in every kind of sensationalist accusation against the Hussein family, yet stay absolutely silent as an obvious imposter (in no way could he be described as a "lookalike") is paraded on our TV screens as a captured Saddam Hussein. The story of the Koran is Saddam Husseins blood is a long one with many permutations in the media starting with the BBC in 2000 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/monitoring/media_reports/941490.stm It show pictures purporting to be the Koran of blood, however another story in early 2003 from an American network also claims to show the infamous Koran http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/17/eveningnews/main537051.shtml (click on the photo for an expanded image) Even a cursory examination shows the calligraphy of the two Korans are quite different - in reality both Korans are probably Korans of some significance, but written in normal ink. (People interested in propaganda might also enjoy the picture of the mosque contained on the cbs news site. We are informed that 4 of the minarets were designed to look like Kalashnikov barrels and another 4 designed to look like Scud missiles. To me they look like fairly standard minarets albeit in a slightly modernist style. Certainly none of them look like Kalashnikovs, it is possible to argue they look like Scud missiles, but then any minaret looks like a Scud missile.) Returning to the original article, it is full with attitudes that can only be described as Orientalism. Clerics are shown as engaging in medieval type discussions about blasphemy, scholars are describe as "weeping" "It is explicitly haram (forbidden) to have done it in blood and, as my interpreter observed drily, every six-year-old Muslim knows this." Quite, I am sure it is taught in every Islamic kindergarten. "When it was done, Saddam said that if he had known it was not acceptable to have it written in blood he would never have dared to do it. If it was just the president's blood we could not possibly keep it, but other ingredients [stabilising chemicals] were added and they have dissolved the impurity of his blood." "This is Saddam's black magic. The Koran is about gold and silver, not something as impure as blood. It can be burnt or it can be thrown in the river. I would throw it in the river." "Scholars wept, but now a committee of 25 Muslim thinkers will decide if this lonely survivor should also have been burnt. Their task is not easy because of an appalling contradiction. It is heretical to render the Koran in blood, an impurity that should be washed away. On the other hand, the Koran defines absolutely Muslims' religious beliefs and culture - it cannot be destroyed." I think the term Orientalism is quite appropriate for theis kind creative writing. Probably the key to the article is the revelation that the Koran is now in "hiding" and may not be photographed and only viewed if one has special permission. In other words an untidy relic of the propaganda blitz of the Saddam era has been tidied away. Perhaps the curious with long memories might have expressed some curiousity about the blood written Koran and wondered where it was. Now they can be told it was "blasphemous", in "hiding" or destroyed. Which is a shame, as a Koran written in Saddam´s blood would have been perfect for a DNA test on whatever strange being the US have managed to cajole into custody. I was thinking of a DNA test that took a little longer than 12 hours to perform. A DNA test that was performed at a known and recognised laboratory and which issued a verifiable report. It has been claimed, for example, that modern laboratories in America can perform a DNA test within a 12 hour period if urgent - and certainly they can, but that is 12 hours from when they receive the sample. Hardly the case when you find a suspect late at night deep in rural Iraq (complete with fruiting date palms) in a country with no known DNA testing facilities. Some kind of explanation might be thought to be in order. Which brings me finally to the kind of trial the look-unalike Saddam can expect. My guess is we wont be seeing an Milosevic style televised tribunal. There has been suggestions it should be an Islamic trial - note the assumption that Iraq is inevitably going to move from a secular (albeit corrupt) justice system to one based on religious principles. Is that really what Iraqis want, a Sharia based system? I wonder. Nevertheless, with Saddam I expect that is more or less what will happen. Some kind of trial behind closed doors (or to approved journalists which is effectively the same thing). The hearing will rely heavily on "eyewitness" testimony consisent with the revisionist history that the new regime is wishing to promote. What defence will be put up one can only guess. A death sentence will be pronounced - although I doubt that the surrogate Saddam will be required to undertake it. And another member of the Hussein family will have been safely tidied away. By which time Iraq will have already descended into its next stage of misery and unrest and noone will much care. Reminds me of the song from the musical Chicago Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle "Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it And the reaction will be passionate Give 'em the old hocus pocus Bead and feather 'em How can they see with sequins in their eyes? What if your hinges all are rusting? What if, in fact, you're just disgusting? Razzle dazzle 'em And they;ll never catch wise!" ____________________________________________________________ Get advanced SPAM filtering on Webmail or POP Mail ... Get Lycos Mail! http://login.mail.lycos.com/r/referral?aid=27005 _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk