Thursday, July 7, 2011

A forward by the Iraqi Information Minister,

A forward by the Iraqi Information Minister,
Mohammed Saeed Al Safah

In order to follow the custom of having someone else write an intro for a book, "Who better?", I thought, than the Iraqi Information Minister for my book.
 So, after a very intense search, I finally found him in a cave in Tora Bora, Afghanistan....
It was a bright, bright, sunshiny day as we broke camp that morning, but that would soon change, it got cooler and the wind was howling. "I'm glad you told me to bring my winter coat!" I said to Waheed."
No reply. I assumed that he was right behind me, "Where'd he go?"  
"Waheed!" I shouted trying to be heard across the distance to the small figure going the other way. "Where are you going?" 
He looked back at me and with that thick Arabic accent, he said " veree bad!...veree bad!"... as he pointed up the peak. I looked up to see what he was talking about.
"Nothing that I could see" I thought.
   I was determined to find the information minister. "He's the only one I want to write an intro for my book....I must continue on up the peak. I can't get lost anymore, anyway. There's only one direction to the top, and I'm almost there." I kept affirming to myself.
Climbing up that last peak up, through the harsh desert terrain, a veritable no-mans land, "Enough to make , even a Green Beret, kringe!" I thought.  "It was probably this that scared Waheed off."
Earlier that week, I must have looked funny at the bazaar, back in the village. I entered this huge tent and I approached the group of Arabic men  to ask if anybody knew where the Iraqi information Minister might be. At first they were all staring at me.
"This is a big mistake!" I thought to myself  as I mustered the guts to ask. "Pardon me, can anybody here help me find Mr. Saeed Al Safah?"
I looked quizzically at two or three of them. Some twenty men were huddling there, fierce looking men.
, "Taliban?" I wondered.
  A hush fell down on tent. The faint sounds of Arabic music coming from a distance could be heard. A gunshot now and then.
A tall dark bearded man approached me and he was sizing me up as he said "You luke Amereecan."
"Yes" I replied. "I am Don Jyovi Saraswati Di Morgese and I  want him to write a intro for my book".
They broke out in laughter and relief as they realized the absurdity of it all.
"Sir" spoke the tall one, trying hard to contain his laughter, "do you not know dat dere ees a war going on and dee man you are luking for ees een hiding?" 
"I know, but he's the only one that will do" I said  stubbornly. "Here, I have money" as I showed them my stack of hundred dollar bills. "and I have diamonds too" gesturing at my hip-hugger. "I will not harm him, and you can blindfold me, so as to not disclose his whereabouts"
The men did not hesitate to take all that I had. They could have left me high and dry right there and not a damn thing I could have done about it.  Just then, the tall one gestured to one of the group to come forward.
"Waheed" he commanded laughingly "take dees brave man to Safah."
   Waheed was my sole companion, going on three days now, but it seemed like an eternity. Only today, did he finally remove my blindfold, and I had absolutely no clue where I was. First, we had driven in a jeep for about five hours, then on camelback for these last two days. 
" Hai, vwe vwon't need dees anymore, and vwe must leave de camels behind now because de altitude ees too high for dem." said Waheed, tossing the blindfold back in his knapsack.
Adjusting my eyes, I could start to see that there was nothing but this mountainous terrain all around.
Two hours had passed since trekking up the peak by myself "Waheed must have stayed behind to watch the camels. That's it", I thought, now, "Waheed couldn't take the altitude anymore, that too, must be why he ran off, anyway I am almost there" I squinted as I noticed the dark hole on the side of the mountain. "There it is!" the cave that Waheed described to me just came into view. 
"Saeed!" I shouted. Climbing up the steep peak on all fours now.
"Saeed"  I shouted again.
"Yo?" came the sound from inside the cave.
 " Saeed, my name is Don Jyovi Saraswati Di Morgese and I want you to write the intro of my book for me. Would you please?"
"No!" came the sound out of the cave "you sound like an Amereecan infidel... Who sent you to me?"
" I didn't spend all this money and travel all this way just to take no for an answer" I thought, and shouting back to make myself heard above the howling wind, I continued "You must, Saeed...Only you will do... Please sir" I approached the cave opening, "I will do you no harm, I don't even know where I am. Waheed had me blindfolded."
"Waheed!" he retorted indignantly, "that infidel! I will cut off hees right hand for dis!". 
By now, we were face to face and smiling as best I could, I continued "Please Saaed, Please write my intro"
"I could kill you right now" he said as he gestured toward his gun.
"No! no! please don't" I pleaded. I put my hands up in the air to show him I was unarmed. "Oh please Saeed, only you will do, to write the intro for my book, I will pay you a share of my royalties." I said hastily to try to change his mind.
His eyes lit up "Royalties!?" 
"Yes, Saeed" I answered back in great relief.
"How much?" he was looking at me suspiciously, like as if I was about to cheat him.
"How much do you want?" I said with a smile.
"Hmmm" he pondered, stoking his chin.
I thought, "even Arabs stroke their chin when they are thinking, it must be a universal language"
His arms went up around my shoulder as he said "Come eenside, we'll talk about dis over dinner"
He prepared his lamb roast and rice. Mariah Carey's 'Someday' was playing in the background as he sang along.
"Probably to George Bush". I thought. 
He had fixed up the cave real nice. He definitely had a flair for interior decorating. "Some day, I should like to have a cave just like yours" I said admiringly.
"Thank you" he said as he piled up my dish with rice and slices of roasted lamb. "So! Royalties?" he said barely looking up from his plate.
"The food is delicious" I said to him." you are a  great cook." I was stroking him hoping to smooth out the negotiation.
"Flattery weel get you nowhere" he said, eyeing me suspiciously.
Just then, someone peered in the cave opening, laid an empty container on the ground and said "Thank you very much, Baghdad Bob, Thank you very much, It's a long way to 7 Eleven just for some shugah! "
"No problem, Oh Sultan of Memphis! Glad I could help." Saeed said.
"Hmm...That man looks familiar" I thought.
As the man left he was belting out a mean tune "Number 47 said to number 3... you're the cutest jailbird I ever did see... sho'd be delighted with yo company... c'mon n do the jailhouse rock with me... let's rock" could be heard fading into the howling wind.
"Nah!" I thought "couldn't be."
I looked back at Saeed.
" A tough negotiator, you are, Saeed!" I said and at that, he took pride. I could tell from the way he raised his chin. I thought secretly "Flattery works all the time."
"So! Royalties?" he repeated this time looking at me for an answer.
"Yes, of course" I continued "How much do you want?"
"Five thousand denaros!" he exclaimed.
I didn't know how to tell him that the Iraqi currency was no longer in circulation. "He must be in denial" I thought.
"Do you know what happened in Iraq?" I asked with concern.
"We squashed those American infidels like a bug" he said swelling up in pride. "They ran away as we slaughtered them and we will continue to slaughter them" he continued.
"God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of the Iraqis...Stooges! Criminals! My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all. Gangsters!"
He was on a roll, now. He continued, his voice trembling with conviction.
"One hundred infidels committed suicide as they entered the holy city of Baghdad. Their tanks will become their tombs! "
  "Saeed! Saeed!" I shouted trying to snap him out of it.
"Could it be that he really believes this?" I wondered.
He was standing up by now. "Saddam Hussein's soldiers and his great forces gave the Americans a lesson which will not be forgotten by history. Truly."
"Royalties! Saeed...Royalties!" I said hoping to change the subject. 
"Oh!...Uh...Excuse me." he said realizing that he had gotten carried away.
"No problem." I said.
He looked deeply in my eyes now waiting for an answer.
"Three thousand " I said, playing along.
He thought about my counter-offer for a moment and then he said "Four thousand"
And I said "Three thousand five hundred"
"Deal!" he shouted...

Don Jyovi Saraswati Di Morgese
will thrill your nights with his incredible writing.
He will leave you at the edge of your infidel seats.
You need not buy any other books,
any more!
There is no more need for writers.
They now must all find another line of work.
All the infidels would perish in the belly of hell to get his book.
Search for the truth. I tell you things
and I always ask you to verify what I say.
I tell you now that there is no better book in all of Baghdad.
 Americans are superpower of villains.
They are superpower of Al Capone.
They will buy this book and not even this will spare them from the clutches of Saddam!
They are doomed anyway...
Long live
Don Jyovi Saraswati Di Morgese
and his book
 'An Eternal Love-Letter to the Girls of Freakie Fries'