As A Dodo can today confirm the final closure of the world-famous West End (of Baghdad) farce, The Saddam Trial. The hilarious black comedy that has alternately appalled and enthralled people in Iraq and across the globe has been forced to end following the death of its leading man, which is expected in about 30 days.
The Saddam Trial opened on 19th October 2005 and closed yesterday. It was based on the old folk tale of a young, power-crazed lad with a song on his lips and murderous intent in his heart who sells his soul to the Devil and Donald Rumsfeld. Elevated to the dictatorship of his country, he is fêted by all about him for his courage, wit and tendency to torture / maim / gas / otherwise dispose of those who choose not to fête him. Then comes the tragic day when he chooses to turn against his former friends and paymasters and starts fooling around with crazy schemes to take over the world with giant superguns and chemical weapons. Eventually his fate is sealed when, in a fit of hubris, he refuses to tell United Nations Weapons Inspectors that in truth he has no Weapons of Mass Destruction, having spent his whole WMD budget on gold taps and bad art for his many palaces. His country is invaded and he is swept from power by the United States of America which - in an extraordinary comic twist - gives up its habit of wiping out democratic leaders and propping up dictators and tries wiping out dictators and propping up democrats instead, with hilarious results.
None who had the privilege to witness it will ever forget The Saddam Trial. It's highlights - among them the Byzantine plot, the constant coming and going (usually in a hail of bullets) of cast members, the fabulous supporting work of the US Armed Forces - were too many to mention but if one thing is to be singled out it is the Godot-esque dialogue, such as this exchange between our hero and the judge ...
[Judge] Mr Saddam, we want your identity. Full name, please...
[Saddam Hussein] First of all, who are you? What are you? I want to know who you are. Are you judges?.. I have been here in this building... from eight in the morning.
[Judge] Please sit down, Mr Saddam. Later. We'll get down the identities of the others, and later we'll start with you.
[Saddam Hussein] And from nine A.M. I've been dressed.
[Judge] Well, now so you can sit down and relax, give your identity and make yourself comfortable.
[Saddam Hussein] You know me... I do not tire.
Judge: These are official matters, we have to hear from you your identity. These are formalities, so please.
[Saddam Hussein] I don't have anything against any of you. But adhering to the truth and respecting the will of the great Iraqi people in choosing me, I say: I do not respond to this so-called court, with all due respect to its people, and I retain my constitutional right as the president of Iraq.
[Judge] These matters can be put off until later. This is not the place.
Saddam Hussein: Neither do I recognise the body that has designated and authorised you, nor the aggression. All that is built on a false basis is false.
Surely Beckett could never have done better!
The Saddam Trial's funeral will be held in Baghdad in a ceremony involving gunfire, explosions and a joyful outburst of internecine warfare. It is survived by chaos in the Middle East.