Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Sing Us a Song You’re the Oud Man

OK. Imagine a war-torn shithole of a country. People dying every day, explosions on your way to work. Even local pilgrimages are being fucked up by stampedes and threats of suicide bombers. What would you be willing to do to get the hell out? Would you go on a show called Iraq Star?

Oh yes, let’s scrape the very bottom of our corrupt, immoral society’s barrel, scoop out a dollop of sludge like American Idol, and drop it like a steaming pile of feces smack in the middle of the most violent of all culture wars over there in Iraq. Let’s watch:

As Mohammed Ahmad Younis puts it, he's little more than a 26-year-old loser, a failed artist, son and boyfriend unable to accomplish anything worthwhile in his life.

In hopes of changing that, one day this month he put on a pair of sunglasses, fake-leather jeans, platform shoes, blue contact lenses and a black "Star Trek" T-shirt, and became a contestant on "Iraq Star," the local version of "American Idol."

Some of the 500 aspiring talents competing for a trip to Beirut [ed. - a trip to Beirut is the "prize?" And Bush says we're winning?] and a record deal have been beaten, threatened and ostracized. Although Iraqis gobble up tapes, CDs and videos of sexy Lebanese and Egyptian entertainers, Islamic militants often group singers and dancers with prostitutes.

Many artists and intellectuals have been killed in his native Mosul, Younis said.

"I'm afraid," he said. "I fear for my life wherever I go. But what can I do? This is my only shot. I've made my decision. I'd rather just die and be dead than stay alive and be dead."

Nada Samaraii, a 36-year-old flutist and music teacher who was among a handful of women daring to compete in the contest, said neighbors had trashed her apartment, hit her and threatened to turn her out onto the street after her first appearance on "Iraq Star." Her landlord jacked up her rent and cut off electricity and water.

"They told me I'm not respecting Islam," she said as she nervously awaited her turn to appear on the show, "that I'm an infidel."
On the one hand, what were these people thinking? Allah Ackbar! Women singing American songs and dancing in provocative clothing? Who could possibly have foreseen a problem in that?

On the other hand, I sure wish I had the chance to beat the living crap out of that Bo Bice choadsmoker.

Whatever the case, I guess it’s yet another example of Bush’s Freedom on the March. God bless America.

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