Monday, April 28, 2003

The Postman of Baghdad

Mohamed Mohsen al-Zubaidi, self-appointed mayor of Baghdad, has been arrested by US troops for "exercising authority not legally his". That character in many ways resembles protagonist of The Postman. For those who weren't fortunate to read David Brin's novel or were fortunate to miss Kevin Costner's movie, protagonist of Postman is wanderer in post-apocalyptic America that takes the uniform of postman and pretends to work for non-existing US government. First he does it in order to get food and shelter from small isolated communities, then later it turns out that his "mailing activities", against his wishes, started to restore civilisations.

Story of Postman probably explains the al-Zubaidi phenomenon. In a desperate, chaotic times people would stick to anything or anybody that resembles or promises order – whether it is Communism, Fascism, strongman or even the most prosaic of all conmen. Al-Zubaidi was simply the first one to (ab)use this simple fact.


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