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!