Friday, September 02, 2005

Naked Women Scamper in the Dirt as Thousands Suffocate on Quest to Stare At Shiny Building. Film At Eleven

As I sit here in my ivory tower and count the days until all you mortals finally finish yourselves off in a stunning display of stupidity, I often wonder to myself, “Is there any way perhaps that the process could be speeded up?” Even though the current death rate of the planet is holding steady, it pleases me to see that the principal frailties of the human species, greed and mindless faith, contribute more than their share to the extinction of the planet.

Let’s take a look first at the situation in Swaziland, a country primarily known for being completely unknown to anyone who enjoys running water and electrical lighting. Seems that in Swaziland, the time has finally come for King Mswati III to choose his thirteenth wife. Sure, the first dozen are important, as they are to any man, but number 13, that’s the honey pot. And like most swinging bachelors, King Mswati woos his women the old fashioned way: by having 50,000 of them show up topless to his palace to perform the ancient rite of shaking their half-naked body in time to drums made out of zebra-skins. Which, according to many Swazis, “cements national identity.”

And shake they must, otherwise, according to local topless girl, 16-year-old Zodwa Mamba, without the nude gyrations, she won’t be able to fulfill her lifelong dream of wanting to “live a nice life, have money, be rich, have a BMW and cell phone.”

Ah, yes, a cell phone. That is certainly a top priority for any young girl living in a country where 38.8% of all people are stricken with the AIDS virus, the unemployment rate is 34% and life expectancy hovers around 35 years. I mean, at 16, she’s middle aged! Think about it, to not have a BMW or cellular phone and be 40 years old in America is tantamount to abject failure!

With apologies to Pat Robertson, King Mswati should probably be killed. Nineteen years this guy has been in power, and while his countrymen languish in poverty and despair, he’s got palatial estates, throngs of women, a luxury jet that cost a quarter of the nation's annual budget, and all the gold that he can eat. I’m sure that moral relativists like those that wear ACLU buttons on their L.L. Bean backpacks would chalk up his behavior to a matter of “culture”, but he needs to be put away. Not by some elite U.S. commando unit or a crazed lone gunman under the impression that a political assassination will bring him one step closer to the eternal love of Tina Turner. No, I mean that instead of wearing beads and scarves and cavorting around naked in the mud in order to catch the lustful eye of a portly tyrant, these Swazi women should rise up as one singular, determined entity of mass nudity and crush his larynx with their rain-sticks, or whatever the hell they have over in Swaziland. They should rescue their pride, steal his gold-plated toilets and consequently, and drag their miserable little country out of the depths of the Stone Age.

But they won’t. Because he’s their one-way ticket to cellphoneville. Dance around naked for a few hours, or die of AIDS along with almost half of the population. Good choice.

Now the other incident worth mentioning is the “tragedy” that occurred recently in Iraq. No, it didn’t involve blonde GI’s being captured by terrorists, or murderers being mistreated by prison guards by refusing their choice of pudding flavors. In fact, the war had little or nothing to do with the events that transpired there on a sunny day in August, but the results were no less horrific than what might occur on the battlefield. And by “horrific” I mean, “disturbingly entertaining.”

While details are sketchy at this time, what appears to have happened is a large group of people, while peacefully strolling across Imams bridge in Northern Baghdad, suddenly and unexpectedly, panicked, scattering and running like cockroaches in the glow of the refrigerator light. In the ensuing chaos, a number of them were trampled to death by the multitudes on the bridge. And when I say “a number of them” I mean close to a thousand. A thousand people died because they were stepped on by a fleeing hoard.

I know what you’re thinking. A thousand people? How do a thousand people die while running across a bridge? Why were they even there? And if a thousand died, how many were there in the first place? Well, I’ll tell you. It seems that the crowds had gathered to visit the resting place of Imam Moussa ibn Jaafar al-Kadhim, one of the 12 principle saints of Islam, something that they apparently do every year. This year’s pilgrimage drew over one million people. A million people. Walking hundreds of miles to stand in front of a shrine of someone who died twelve hundred years ago.

Ok, think about where you live. New York, Los Angeles, Apple Valley Minnesota, Salt Lick Iowa. Now picture 18% of your population congregating at your local church, temple, synagogue, or railroad underpass for no good reason other than to stand there, praying to someone who may or may not be buried underneath. Scary thought, isn’t it? Well, that’s what happened in Baghdad. And because of it, one thousand people died.

Now here’s the funny part. There are critics who are blaming the government for not being able to prevent this “tragedy.” Somehow, it became the responsibility of the minister of defense to guarantee the safety and security of a million religious fundamentalists while his country is at WAR. Apparently there is no word for “priorities” in Arabic.

And if you didn’t laugh at that, try this one on for size: The panicking is attributed to the fact that they, the pilgrims, somehow were under the impression that there might be a suicide bomber in their midst. Can you imagine? A suicide bomber at a Muslim fundamentalist religious convention in Iraq? Who exactly would be startled at this revelation? I can see if the Middle Eastern Division marketing reps from Oscar Meyer were there whipping packages of Hickory Smoked at the crowd, perhaps there would be a little anxiety.

Articles like this excite me greatly, and not just because I’m a wretched being who feeds off the misery of others. I just figure that it’s worth pointing out that the greedy and overly pious among you can be counted on to fail spectacularly, and, as a bonus, take scores more along with you on your final pilgrimage.

Misguided Mortals.

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