Monday, January 06, 2003

Today wasn't only a holiday (the 82nd anniversary of the Iraqi Armed Forces) but the sunniest day we had for a while. And what do I spend it doing? Ordering and arranging the "emergency supplies" in the storeroom upstairs. Now that the Iraqi trade minister has advised us to stock up no one is afraid of being accused of being screwy and paranoid. After spending a couple hours organizing the mess I think we have too much sugar and too little detergents. Back to the store. Boy is that shopkeeper making a fortune from the orders he is getting. I wonder if the Trade minister only gave that warning to empty their full storehouses, because if the war doesn't happen I am dumping all the stuff I bought in front of his house and demand he buys the lot. Pronto.
And in another unprecedented display of care towards the population the government started digging water wells in various residential areas in case of water shortages. In schools, near Party quarters and other controllable places. I am pushing for our own well at the house of Pax, but my father thinks I've gone mad. It's not expensive and they only drill a hole the size of a CD, 30 meters deep and disco! You've got water. Not for drinking of course, but still it's water. I mean it's my back they'll break dragging water back from the nearest well. (Actually I see his point this is paranoid and crazy, forget the well).
They have also called on the Ration Distribution centers to come and collect the rations for May which means we're getting three months' rations in February. Now I am sure they just want to empty the storehouses.

At around 11am I took a break to watch the speech. The first broadcast is always at eleven and they repeat it every couple of hours afterwards. If you are really interested in the content go read it here. It's the usual saddam-ese.
If anyone attempts to intimidate you, the people of Iraq, repel him and tell him that he is a small midget while we belong to a nation of glorious Faith, a great nation and an ancient people who have, through their civilization, taught the human race as a whole what man was yet to know.
The president was never a great orator, if you're looking for great then you have to listen to Mubarak, but this time saddam didn't even shout at us the scary bits. Just the "Da da da" school of oration. No fire. It makes you wonder. How come we didn't get a dictator who just burns you with the heat of his words? At least make me believe in what you say for the 20 minutes you're on TV. Not even that *sigh*
And boy was it heavily edited. Not bad camera transition stuff, but the "wait let's do that again" variety. Mid-sentence cuts. It probably doesn't mean anything but it is distracting.
There was one single inspired moment near the end of the speech. He looks straight at the camera (the rest of the speech he is looking up and down from paper to camera) and says:
The enemy ought to remember the terrible end of all empires that committed aggression against our people and nation in the past.
with long pauses between words, pure drama. Loved it. "al maseer.... al mashu'um..... li kul.... al imbiratoriat...... alti aatadat ala umatina"
OK so it doesn't make sense and I have no idea what he is talking about. What terrible end? All "aggressors" have come and gone with plenty of bounty, from Hulagu Khan to the British. But he scared the shit out of me.