Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Saturday, April 5, 2014

How to be a noble Arab griever

(March 24, 2014)

Do you remember the old Iraqi public relations spokesman from during the Iraq War? His name was Tariq Aziz. He's been in jail since the war. His wife and one daughter spoke with the BBC Arabic about him.

According to his family, he is not a criminal. He never committed any crime against the Iraqi people. He was just best friends with Saddam, who did commit lots of crimes. If Mr. Tariq is really not a criminal, then I guess we should feel sorry for him and hope that justice will be served. But I won't give you a Nina-Totenburg style break-down of the evidence for and against him. Instead, I'll just present a primer on exactly how to grieve and be dramatic if you are Arab.

Tariq Aziz is in jail in Iraq, and his family lives in Jordan or Lebanon.
Wife: I visit every month. Every time, it's worse! He can't walk! He gets thinner!

The lady doing the interview asked: how did your husband feel when Saddam was executed?
 Wife: He was sad! It was his friend! But oh, my husband was not upset because he was scared for his own life! He's not scared of death! He says, if they would only kill me too, it would be better! [that is the most typically Arab thing an Arab can possibly say when they are trying to be noble. You hear it an awful lot.]

Wife: my husband will ask us how we're doing! Because he knows we're not well off, all of our property was confiscated! [But they're able to bring food and medicine to Mr. Aziz when they visit, so they're not starving.]

The lady doing the interview asked about the war.
Wife/Daughter: Tariq Aziz never left Iraq! He stayed till the end! And he never left us, either! When it became clear the Saddam government was going to fall, he told us he was going to surrender himself. He knew he had done nothing wrong. Yes, he was on the list of Most-Wanted the Americans had released, but he had never committed any crime. So he was not scared of surrendering himself. The Americans came, and took him, and said: don't worry, we know who this is, it's just Tariq Aziz, we'll bring him back in one or two weeks. But instead he's been in jail ever since.

Sometimes we can't even smuggle cigars in to him! the daughter wails.

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