MADD Kuwait

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soundtrack

The unprovoked invasion of poor, innocent Kuwait by Saddam Hussein’s totalitarian regime in 1990 was an evil deed in itself. The mental picture of babies being thrown from incubators gave a generation of media-viewers nightmares and rekindled their desire to improve the human condition via military campaigns in resource-rich Arab countries.

But what many media outlets at the time missed (or ignored) was the troubling story behind the story: the sick ideological plans of Elsa Hussein – Saddam’s equally totalitarian sister – for the future of their shiny new state.

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A great day for pedestrians?

 

First a bit of fake context: In the summer of 1954, Elsa Fatima Jamilla Hussein was hit by a car while biking home from volleyball practice at The American Elementary School of Tikrit at the tender age of eight. Though confined to her bed for several months with broken bones, she quickly re-learned to walk. Her doctor said it was a miracle.

After several months of torturing lower-class males, road-sweeper Saleem Foukhar confessed to having ruined the beautiful young heiress’s Olympic dream by driving while drunk (it came out, after his hanging, that he had never actually driven a vehicle and didn’t drink alcohol). For the rest of Elsa’s youth, she participated in no sports, cloistering herself in the basement torture room of her parent’s 45-bedroom condo reading huge volumes of victim literature.

Many years later, at the summer Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988, Elsa and big brother Saddam watched the Iraqi woman’s volleyball team lose a close match for third place against the Israeli team. She would never forget this moment.

Later that evening in a South Korean tea room, she suggested to Saddam that he should invade Kuwait and turn the entire nation into a theme park with a Mothers Against Drunk Driving theme. At first, Saddam and his CIA advisers thought her nation-building idea had too many logistical problems. Abstract causes are rarely sufficient to garner popular support for nation-building and war. Also, an ideologically-constructed anti-car theme park might hurt the oil industry, and that would be bad for everyone – Iraqi officials and multinationals alike – they wisely concluded.

But Elsa Hussein and her small army of like-minded car-accident survivors were unstoppable. Their poison-tipped emails and hordes of post-its on the family fridge finally paid off when, in August of 1990 –  only two years after that fateful volleyball game – the Iraqi army were in Kuwait setting up breathalyzer checkpoints and burning effigies of Dean Martin.

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The winning entry in the Lady Di Centre competition of 1990. Many MADDians feel that the building’s lavish structure is an inappropriate symbol for the state’s common, shared victimhood.

The decision to limit the new nation’s death penalty to driving offenses provoked some infighting among the new sober commuting inhabitants who immigrated to the new land from Iraq and the United States. Another scandal for the new nation state was the  selection of Daniel Libeskind as the architect to design the Lady Di Museum of Car Atrocities. According to Al Jazeera, the Hussein family were the sole jurors for the competition. Libeskind’s five-hundred million dollar high-tech temple was to feature special effects that would make each visitor feel as if he was being crushed in a car tunnel as he entered the lobby and gift-shop.

Things moved very quickly for the earth’s new nation. Only one week after the invasion, Elsa Hussein was shown on Arab TV triumphantly holding up an oxygen-deprived blue baby she had just torn from an incubator and yelling, “This is a great day for pedestrians all over the world!”

But Elsa Hussein’s ideological project would be short-lived. Saddam’s army would be taken out just like the Nazis were before it, and for the very same reasons.

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2 Responses to “MADD Kuwait”

  1. Pyotr Izutsu Says:

    Wow. I was too young to remember the “babies torn from incubators”. What a perfectly crafted selling point! I wonder who thought that one up?

    You have an amazing narrative voice and a great sense of comedic-ironic timing.

  2. qatzelok Says:

    “What a perfectly crafted selling point! I wonder who thought that one up?”
    I believe it was the American PR company Hill and Knowlton. They’re very good at what they make you do.

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