Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saddam's magic blue stone

Came across this bizarre tale which reminded me of certain claims in magic where you can repel steel or iron blades;

Saddam, the Immortal

According to an interesting article by Sudarsan Raghavan for Mercury News, many Iraqis believe that Saddam Hussein cannot be killed. It is a belief that has been reinforced by his uncanny ability to survive whatever bombs we drop on him.

He survived (or was allowed to survive, depending on who you listen to) the first Gulf War, slipping through George Bush Sr.'s grip and remaining in power. Then he managed to evade the heavy bombs dropped in the early days of this "War for Iraqi Freedom" when coalition forces had reliable intelligence that he was meeting with his cabinet in a certain government building.

Even now that he has been captured, many Iraqis remain convinced that Saddam is immortal.

What gives him this mystical power? A magic blue stone.

Saddam had this magic stone made, so the story goes, by his favorite fortuneteller not long after he came to power 24 years ago. To be sure the stone was effective, it was tested first with a chicken. The stone was somehow placed inside the chicken, then a soldier fired at it at point-blank range. All of its feathers were blown off, but the protected chicken survived.

So Saddam had the magic stone implanted in the upper section of one of his arms, protecting him from any assault, including bullets and bombs.

"That belief," writes Raghaven in the article, "common throughout Iraq, presents uncommon challenges for U.S. and British forces as they try to persuade Iraqis that Saddam is gone and will not return.

Without a body to display, it may be impossible to overcome the mythical creation of a propaganda apparatus that was bent on showing he was a worthy heir to a long line of Babylonian kings."

An Iraqi army deserter named Adnan Mohammad Yousef told Raghaven that Saddam has seven lives and cannot die. He illustrated that belief with a story about an attempted assassination of Saddam by one of his Republican Guard.

When the soldier pointed the gun at the dictator and pulled the trigger, it jammed. Saddam then allegedly grabbed the gun, pointed it at the soldier, saying, "This is how you do it," and shot him dead.

His capture has shown that Saddam has once again escaped death - magic blue stone or no.

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