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The Short Form

“The One-Eyed TV”

Mushin al-Ramli

Excerpt

We learned this in the second year of war when “Mr. President” gave each family that did not own one a TV. That was after he visited a Kurdish village where people ran away and hid when his helicopters landed in the village square. When his bodyguards brought him some of these escapees he asked them in surprise, “I am Mr. President, don’t you recognize me?!” Their eyes darted about in fear and they shook their heads. Right there and then he issued his decree so that all of the homeland’s offspring could see and know him. TV sets arrived with silver-colored aluminum frames inscribed with a statement indicating that this was a present from Mr. President the Leader, along with his name, his picture, the Iraqi flag, the motto of the Republic, and pamphlets of his speeches instead of the operation manual that had originally accompanied the TV sets. In order for the TV sets to function, he decreed that electricity be extended to reach every village, even the tents of the Bedouins in the desert that we used to see far away on the horizon behind the opposite riverbank. Because they were nomadic, he gave them portable power generators that they could carry on the backs of their camels along with the TV sets wherever they went.