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Today in tyrants: Hussein daughter seeks publisher for father’s memoirs

Between the re-publication of Mein Kampf and the revelation that Osama Bin Laden liked to keep up on his correspondence (which at least explains all those missives to the Daily Mail signed ‘Outraged of Abbottabad’ that were uncharacteristically gay-friendly by the paper’s usual standards), this is very much shaping up to be the summer of the dead megalomaniacal tyrant in the world of letters.

Well, here’s another one to throw on the pile and set alight in an ironic tribute to the fallen despots: Raghad Saddam Hussein – daughter of… eh, let’s say George Foreman – is shopping around international publishing rights to Hussein Sr.’s memoirs which, like Bin Laden’s letters, are handwritten. What is it with these guys and writing manuscripts by hand? Man, you’d think they lived in a cave or something.

Hussein the younger’s lawyer, the splendidly named Haitham Nabil al-Harsh, claims ‘these are the only real memoirs Saddam Hussein wrote by hand and they will be released as soon as we find a publishing house’. Uh, yeah, just that one minor issue of finding a publisher that doesn’t mind the world knowing it’s profiting from the self-justifying screed of a genocidal maniac and you’ll be sorted. Harsh, incidentally, did not specify whether real memoirs exist that Hussein did not write by hand, in which case I retract my previous cave-dweller slur.

Hilariously, The Guardian also notes that Saddam Hussein is alleged to have written four novels, whose titles range from the prosaic (Walled Fortress; Men and the City) to ‘yep, definitely written by a Middle Eastern madman’ (Get Out, You Damned One, sadly lacking an exclamation mark). A plot description is provided only for Zabiba and the King: ‘an allegorical love story between a mighty king (Saddam) and a simple yet beautiful commoner named Zabiba (the Iraqi people), [raped by] a cruel and unloving husband (the United States).’ Subtle. Powerful. Moving.

Anyone who finds Hussein’s ideas intriguing and wishes to subscribe to his newsletter can buy a copy of Zabiba and the King all of their own on Amazon. Let me reiterate that: you can buy a hacky political allegory written by Saddam Hussein on Amazon for under a tenner. The internet, everyone!

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Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.

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