One day, God decided that Saddam Hussein had caused enough harm and misery on Earth, and that it was time for Saddam to face the Creator. So God summoned Azrael, the angel of death, and told him to go down to Earth and take up Saddam’s soul. Azrael went to look for Saddam. The Iraqi president was in his palace, and Azrael went there without delay, trying to get in through the main gate. But the guards caught Azrael and threw him into prison. After three months of severe torture, a guard came and told Azrael that he was “clean” and free to go. Upon his return, God asked Azrael: “Where the hell have you been all this time?” “God,” said Azrael, “you don’t know what I have been through. Saddam’s guards caught me and tortured me really badly—I almost died down there.” On hearing this, God turned pale and beseeched Azrael: “I hope you didn’t tell them that I sent you?”
This joke is said to be widespread these days in the streets and coffee shops of Baghdad. It tells us something about the current frame of mind of Iraqis, and underscores the fact that the “Republic of Fear” built by the Ba‘th Party since its coming to power in 1968 is still firmly in place....
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