Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Saad news

Anyone know where I can snag some bootleg copies of this show?

From the NY Times:

Nearly every night here for the past month, Iraqis weary of the tumult around them have been turning on the television to watch a wacky-looking man with a giant Afro wig and star-shaped glasses deliver the grim news of the day.

In a recent episode, the host, Saad Khalifa, reported that Iraq’s Ministry of Water and Sewage had decided to change its name to simply the Ministry of Sewage — because it had given up on the water part.

In another episode, he jubilantly declared that “Rums bin Feld” had announced American troops were leaving the country on 1/1, in other words, on Jan. 1. His face crumpled when he realized he had made a mistake. The troops were not actually departing on any specific date, he clarified, but instead leaving one by one. At that rate, it would take more than 600 years for them to be gone.

The newscast is a parody, of course, that fires barbs at everyone from the American military to the Iraqi government, an Iraqi version of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” Even the militias wreaking havoc on Iraq are lampooned.

Debuting last month during Ramadan, while families gathered to break their fast after sundown, the show, “Hurry Up, He’s Dead,” became the talk of Baghdad, delighting and shocking audiences with its needling of anyone with a hand in Iraqis’ gloomy predicament today.

The acerbic newscasts, each lasting about 20 minutes, are broadcast on Al Sharqiya, an Iraqi satellite station that has at times run afoul of the government for its regular news coverage. They are continuing through Id al-Fitr, the Muslim celebration for the end of Ramadan this week. Officials at the station are in discussions about turning the show into a weekly program.

The show’s success is a testament to the gallows humor with which many Iraqis now view their lives — still lacking basic services and plagued by unrelenting violence more than three years after the American-led invasion.

Clever irony in the Arab world? Maybe there is hope for the future!

The show’s title appears initially as “The Government,” but the Arabic words split in half to reveal the actual name, another crack at the country’s plight.

Channelling anger and frustration into comedy? I'd say that's the clearest sign of progress I've seen. Like most important art, Sudani's comedy comes from pain.

Mr. Sudani, the writer, said he has lost hope for his country. Iraq’s leaders are incompetent, he said. He fears that services will never be restored. The American experiment in democracy, he said, was born dead.

All anyone can do, he said, is laugh.

Amen, brother. Amen.