Friday, December 19, 2003

December 19, 2003

So is it really almost Christmas?

The official word here is that Saddam's capture is a good thing. K told me that the day the capture was announced there was little discussion in the papers he reads. The day after the official word was negative. Two days ago, the official word was "good thing."

Since the appearance of the famous bearded Hussein picture, many of the papers here have been showing pictures of people in other countries reading newspapers with the bearded Hussein on the cover. I saw a picture of a man in a red and white headdress reading the Gulf News, a group of young men crowded around a French paper, another group crowded around a paper using the Cyrillic alphabet, and many other versions on that theme. It's not all that different from reading Google News with its headlines: "Reactions in Iraq," "Reactions from Russia," etc…

I wonder if people closer to the border with Iraq care more about Hussein's capture than people in Tehran. Until today, no one had even spoken to me about Hussein's capture.

Today I had my first conversation with Iranians about the whole affair. A couple of them felt that the capture was timed to coincide with Bush's re-election campaign and predicted that Bin Laden would be captured right before the general elections. A third person felt that Saddam Hussein had metaphysical powers that allowed him to stay in power and that the man captured was not the real Saddam Hussein. A fourth person just listened.

I guess the opinions voiced were not very different from some of those cited in this USA Today editorial: - There must be a plot to bring back the conspiracy theory.

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