When the brokers of power lose their position of authority and are placed in prison, they can be reduced to the most ordinary of men. Albert Speer, Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production, Adolf Hitler's architect and personal confidant, was captured after the defeat of Nazi Germany. As Reich Minster of Armaments, Speer was responsible for the importation of slave labor throughout Europe to employ in German factories. He was tried and convicted at the Nuremburg Trials and sentenced to serve twenty years at Spandau prison, along with other high profile Nazis. Speer kept a secret diary during his imprisonment and published it after his release, under the title Spandau
. His diary documents his every day life in prison, discussions with guards and fellow inmates, work details, hobbies and details of his service to Hitler. As Hitler's architect, he was commissioned to design massive governmental buildings, monuments and other landmarks to inaugurate the beginning of the Thousand Year Reich. As an inmate of Spandau, he was tasked to clean toilets and design gardens.
October 6, 1956 - Day before yesterday, we divided up the cleaning chores on a new basis. A bitter quarrel arose between Hess and Schirach, because Hess categorically refused to clean the guard's toilets two days a week. When I tired to mediate, Schirach and Funk furiously turned on me, saying that my everlasting indulgence had brought Hess to that point. (Page 300)
April 14, 1959 - About two years ago, in response to Cuthill's invitation, I systematically set about landscaping our garden, making a park of it. I graded uneven ground into interesting terraces, sowed lawns, planted forsythia, lavender, hydrangea bushes, and roses. In additions I set out twenty-five lilacs of my own raising. Along the paths I have laid out beds of iris two and a half meters wide and fifty meters long. Today, seedling pines, birches, and lindens were delivered. With such a wealth of plant materials I can begin to lay out a landscape garden. (Page 335-6)
Like Albert Speer, Saddam Hussein former president of Iraq, the presumptive leader of the Pan-Arab movement
, the Lion of Baghdad
, the modern-day Nebucadnezzer and Saladin
, experiences the tedium of prison life
as he awaits trial for his crimes against the people of Iraq. Saddam also has taken up gardening and fancies himself a poet as well.
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is passing his time in solitary confinement by reading the Koran, writing poetry, gardening and snacking on cookies and muffins, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Monday.
Iraq’s human rights minister Bakhtiar Amin said Saddam's health was "generally good" but he was being treated for high blood pressure and had suffered a chronic prostate infection. "One of the poems is about (U.S. President) George Bush, but I had no time to read it," said Amin, a Kurd originally from Kirkuk, who had spent much of his life in exile in Europe and the United States.
"He is looking after a few bushes and shrubs and has even placed a circle of white stones around a small plum tree," he added.
Saddam was a man accustomed to luxury, great wealth and infinite power within Iraq. He was feared throughout the Middle East and respected as the Arab who stood up to the United States; he was the pride of the Arab and Muslim people, despite his atrocities against Arabs and Muslims alike. Stripped of his powers, he becomes an ordinary little man, writing banal poetry, tending the garden and munching on pastries. And as Iraqi justice draws near, we hope he becomes even more ordinary, shaking in fear as he faces the gallows.
A fourth rail exclusive
The fourth rail has received an advanced copy Saddam’s poetry. He is an aficionado of haiku, the art of Japanese poetry
. Here are some samples:
Posted by bill roggio @ 12:05 AM
a Koran written in blood
lost in weeks of war
said WMD not for me
now I tend plum tree
Raking the garden
a Mother Of All Battles
it hurts my prostate
Butcher of Baghdad
pruning, weeding, placing stones
Uday, Kusay gone
Prison of white stones,
cupcakes, muffins, cookies make
my blood pressure rise