Hit & Run

"Get Out, You Damned"

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Yet another novel by that Renaissance man, Saddam Hussein, is out. Entitled Get Out, You Damned (or "Begone! Oh Cursed One"), it's being serialized in the London-based Saudi newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat.

According to a CBC report, the novel "describes a Zionist-Christian conspiracy against Arabs and Muslims, with an Arab leading an army that invades the land of the enemy and topples one of their monumental towers, an apparent reference to the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York." The newspaper says it got its manuscript from Saddam's former physician.

This is the fourth work of fiction to be attributed to Saddam (the others didn't feature his name, but only a line informing readers that the work was by "its author"). In the old days, these works were wildly acclaimed by Iraqi critics. Saddam's 2002 masterpiece, The Impregnable Fortress, was praised for "its ability to weave a string of pearls on which love and war are strung together. And the way it celebrates the fundamental human qualities that refuse to allow war to be an interruption of the affairs of daily life bespeak[s] an author with a sensitive heart and mind."

Saddam isn't getting those kind of reviews anymore. Writes the CBC, "Egyptian novelist Youssef al-Qaeed described the works as "naive and superficial," adding that "They look like political leaflets."

Thanks to: ArtsJournal

More: Daniel Pipes, citing Saad Hadi, "a journalist who had a hand in the production of Saddam's novels," writes that "Saddam's favorite novelist was Ernest Hemingway, in particular The Old Man and the Sea, whose style he tried to emulate." Hadi says that Saddam would "sit in his state room and recount simple tales, while his aides recorded his words."