Rolex Watches: A Freedom Fighter's New Weapon
By Firas Al-Atraqchi
I can't stop laughing. And I blame a bunch of ragtag Iraqis for the incredible tickle to my funny bone.
I turned CNN on last week to find well-groomed Middle Eastern men meeting with reporters and talking about Iraq. Turns out they were the so-called Iraqi Opposition. I will refer to them as the Iraqi Determined Individuals Opposing Tyranny Society (IDIOTS).
"We want to bring democracy to Iraq," said Sharif Ali Bin Hussein, a member of IDIOTS.
Democracy? Hmmm, I wondered aloud. However, one thing nagged my grey matter: Mr. Sharif Ali Bin Hussein, mind telling me who the frack you are?
No idea. CNN said he was a cousin of Iraq's deposed king. One problem, though. That was back in 1958. This is 2002. This man has been out of Iraq for 44 years and yet he touts himself as the voice of ordinary Iraqis.
Fine. Give the man his delusions. If he wants to speak for the IDIOTS then that is his privilege.
I don't think, however, he has earned the right to speak for Iraqis.
I decided to perform a little experiment. I took a newspaper photo of the man and went in search of Iraqis living in Canada.
"Who is he?" said A.J, an Iraqi taxi driver in Toronto.
I showed A.J. another picture I had. He recognized that one immediately.
"Yes, Jim Carrey in filim [sic] The Grinch."
A.J. knows his Canadian movie stars but not the so-called Iraqi opposition. IDIOTS.
I tried again, being the persistent journalist I am. I emailed a Reuters picture of Bin Hussein to an Iraqi girl in London. She had no idea either. She did comment, however, on his particular style of haute couture.
An NBC NEWS article on the man ( http://www.iraqcmm.org/cmm/nbc219211.html) had this to say:
"At a local fencing club, Sharif Ali works up a sweat crossing swords within an opponent. He says the hobby keeps him in shape and helps to focus his mind on the day when he may get the chance to cross swords with the big man in Baghdad."
How appealing and elitist. He fences.
Turns out Bin Hussein is a relative of King Faisal II of Iraq, who was NOT Iraqi by origin and was shot and killed along with a foreign monarchy in 1958.
More than 1.7 million Iraqis have died since the UN-sponsored sanctions regime took effect in Iraq in 1990, and this man is fencing.
Jon Stewart, of The Daily show, finds this amusing as well:
"Scores of Iraq exiles met in London to discuss ways to overthrow Saddam Hussein in a grand gathering dubbed the 'Iraqi Military Alliance Meeting.' Of course, these people are no longer Iraqi, the have no military, and there is no alliance. But they did have a meeting."
I haven't had time to read what Letterman and Leno may think of IDIOTS, but Stewart summed it up rather well.
Members of IDIOTS are not Iraqi anymore. They have lived outside Iraq most of their adult lives, speak English better than Arabic (reminds one of another Hashemite ruler), live in plush surroundings and spare no effort to embellish their lives. They claim to speak for ordinary Iraqis, most of who have been left poor because of Iraq's forced isolation in the past decade.
I wonder what the lonely Iraqi boy Ahmad, dying of cancer in a rundown Basra hospital thinks of Bin Hussein.
I wonder what Bin Hussein's position is on the depleted uranium 'leftovers' that are gently and silently killing off Iraqis while the world beats its chest.
I don't think Bin Hussein has an answer. Seems he might be too busy picking out his next Armani suit for his next fencing match.