New Saddam Novel "Get Out, You Damned One!"
The unpublished novel “Get Out, You Damned One” will not win any literary awards. A forgettable piece of pulp, it features a scheming traitor, an invading army of Zionist-Christian infidels and an Arab liberator. The only thing that sets the novel apart from numerous others like it in Arab bookstores is its author: Saddam Hussein.
When Raghad Saddam Hussein, Saddam’s exiled daughter, announced plans to publish the 186-page novel in Amman earlier this week, she set off a fierce debate over Saddam’s legacy. Jordan’s press and publications department quickly banned the book. Bootleg copies then sold out.
The novel, which Saddam is said to have completed on the eve of the American invasion in 2003, is seen as a picture of the occupation of Iraq.
It opens with a narrator who appears to be modeled on the story of Abraham warning his grandsons of Satan’s hold over Babylon.
The story tells of Ezekiel, a greedy schemer who plots to overthrow the sheik of a tribe with the help of a powerful enemy aiming to conquer all Arabs but is ultimately defeated by the sheik’s daughter with the help of an Arab warrior. This is viewed as a metaphor for a Zionist-Christian plot against Arabs and Muslims.
“Only those who refuse his nation and are faithful to God can be victorious,” the narrator warns of Satan, the superpower.
Soon after its completion, the book went into circulation underground without the author’s name. Last year, the pan-Arab daily Al Sharq al Awsat published the book in serial form, and numerous copies were printed in Beirut and elsewhere, selling for the equivalent of US$5 with a picture of Saddam on the cover. The first page of the manuscript, the paper reported, was signed and dated March 18, 2003, when the American invasion began.