Thursday, January 8, 2015

Interview with a Martyr

The barbaric attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo just reminded us all of the following key fact.  More than bullets, guns, mortars, cannons, air strikes, or “boots on the ground,” the forces of tyranny, intolerance and darkness fear the pen.  While the use of police, soldiers and all forms of lethal military force have little psychological effect on these mindless fanatics other than to make them look forward to “martyrdom,” it’s the threat of ridicule that has the murderous rats quaking in their blood-stained boots.  Those who would enslave us all in the name of religion fear only our scorn, derision and laughter.

Let’s let them have some more of that.  Plenty more. 

Read the post below.  Enjoy it.  Laugh out loud.  Share it with your friends.  Find other satirical posts like it—they’re out there.  Share them, too.

Today I added the French words “Je suis Charlie” to my blog, Facebook, and Twitter account headers.  I urge every person who craves freedom and who despises the forces of religious enslavement--especially if you are a journalist, writer, news consumer or reader-- to do the same and then, having done so, to celebrate it and to urge others to do likewise.
--Forrest Carr
Je suis Charlie

“Interview with a Martyr”
Gloomberg News Service
for immediate broadcast

It’s been one year since Taliban operative Hassan al-Libi blew himself up in a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan, killing more than 30 men, women, and children.  Recently al-Libi sat down with Gloomberg News reporter Rip N. Reed for an exclusive interview.

Gloomberg News:   Mr. al-Libi, thanks for agreeing to sit down with us today.  May I call you Hassan?

Hassan al-Libi:   Certainly.

Gloomberg News:  Hassan, tell us a bit about yourself.  What’s the 30-second sketch of your life?

Hassan al-Libi:  I was born in Buraydah, Saudi Arabia.  My family grew dates.   In 1989, I met Sheikh Osama bin Laden in Riyadh.   After he formed al-Qaeda, I traveled with him to Pakistan.   Following his death, I fought alongside the Taliban.  Last year, I decided my time had come for martyrdom.  I strapped on a bomb vest and blew up a wedding party in Kandahar.  The target was a police commander, and his family and friends.

Gloomberg News:  Talk to me about why you joined the cause.  What is it you’re fighting for?

Hassan al-Libi:  We will not rest until America has been driven from all Islamic lands, Israel has been destroyed, and Islamic Law has been imposed throughout the world.

Gloomberg News:   If you achieve those goals, you’d put a stop to all modern culture—books, movies, and music, and so on, I take it?

Hassan al-Libi:  Yes.  Those things are impious.

Gloomberg News:  And you’d cover women from head to foot in burlap?

Hassan al-Libi:  You jest.  We do not use anything so rough.  But we would cover them, yes.

Gloomberg News:   Why is that?

Hassan al-Libi:  Because the face of a woman is a source of corruption.

Gloomberg News:  You mean it sometimes gives rise to lustful thoughts.

Hassan al-Libi:  Yes.

Gloomberg News:  You know, in western culture, men have lustful thoughts, too.  But they’re expected to deal with it.   Can you see how forcing women to run around in what basically amounts to little tents, in reaction to your inability to handle your arousal, might seem in the eyes of some to be a little unfair?  Misogynistic, even?

Hassan al-Libi:  I am helpless before the law. 

Gloomberg News:   Okay.  Hassan, let’s turn to your career as a “freedom fighter,” as you call it.  Were you known for anything in particular?

Hassan al-Libi:   In the later years, I served as a courier for Sheikh Osama.   I also helped run al-Qaeda’s website.  You may have heard of my most famous contribution, the article entitled “How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom.”

Gloomberg News:   You sound like you’re pretty proud of that.

Hassan al-Libi:   I am.  I know of at least three people for whom it secured martyrdom. 

Gloomberg News:   Suicide bombers?

Hassan al-Libi:   We prefer the term “martyrs.”  But no, in this case, my brothers went to their reward because of an accident.  

Gloomberg News:   An accident?

Hassan al-Libi:   Yes.  In my bomb making instructions,  I got two of the steps out of order.  But this in no way lessens the value of their martyrdom.  And I quickly updated the web posting to fix the instructions.

Gloomberg News:   So those three martyrs are up here with you?  Have you seen them?

Hassan al-Libi:   No, I have seen no one but my wives.

Gloomberg News:   The 72 virgins?

Hassan al-Libi:   Yes.

Gloomberg News:   So how is that working out for you?

Hassan al-Libi:   To be honest, not exactly as I expected.

Gloomberg News:   How so?

Hassan al-Libi:   Well, my wives are very voluptuous.   Wide, lovely eyes like pearls.  Large, round breasts.  Eternally young.  Very beautiful.  Exactly as promised.

Gloomberg News:   And yet?

Hassan al-Libi:   Well, you know, I was married once before.   And like my earthly experience, with each virgin, the wedding night is quite blissful.  But then after that, it sort of settles down into a routine.   And I expected it to be different from what I had experienced on Earth.

Gloomberg News:   How is it not different?

Hassan al-Libi:   Have you ever been married?

Gloomberg News:   Yes, I am married now, in fact.

Hassan al-Libi:   Does your wife tend to—how may I put this—remind you of things?

Gloomberg News:   Remind me of things?  How do you mean?

Hassan al-Libi:   You know.  Impress upon you the importance of doing things in a way she finds more pleasing.

Gloomberg News:   Oh.  You mean, “nag.”

Hassan al-Libi:   Perhaps that is the word I am seeking.

Gloomberg News:   Can you give me some examples?

Hassan al-Libi:   Oh, certainly.  “Wipe your feet before coming indoors, Hassan.  Put a coaster under the water glass, Hassan.   Don’t put your big, dirty feet on the furniture, Hassan.  Don’t sit down in the grass and get stains on your robe, Hassan.   When are you going to take out the trash, Hassan.   Put your dishes in the dishwasher, Hassan.  But rinse them first, Hassan.  Clean up your water spots on the sink, Hassan.  Put your dirty underwear in the hamper, Hassan.  When are you going to take me for a picnic, Hassan.  You never bring me flowers, Hassan.”

Gloomberg News:   I see your point.

Hassan al-Libi:   Yes.  Multiply that by 72, and you begin to get the picture.

Gloomberg News:   Is it worth it?  How’s the sex?

Hassan al-Libi:   The sex is adequate, I guess.  I can always perform, as promised.  And yet it becomes—how can I put this?—repetitive.

Gloomberg News:   You don’t sound particularly happy.  Have you complained to the authorities?

Hassan al-Libi:   Well, actually, I haven’t seen any.

Gloomberg News:   No holy men?  No other martyrs?

Hassan al-Libi:   No.

Gloomberg News:   Have you gone looking?

Hassan al-Libi:   Well, I tried.  My palace and its surrounding gardens are beautiful, and provide everything a man could want.   But the garden wall is very high.  And I haven’t found a way to open the gate.

Gloomberg News:   But since you’re a martyr, weren’t you promised the highest form of Heaven?  Aren’t there supposed to be others here like you?  

Hassan al-Libi:   I admit it is a conundrum.   However, from my tower I can see, about a half mile outside my garden wall, another palace, very much like mine.  I observe people going in and out all the time.  So there are other holy men here.

Gloomberg News:   What can you tell me about them?

Hassan al-Libi:    Not much.  They are very far away.   They seem to be wearing white robes, not unlike mine.  But they are also wearing some kind of hat, or maybe it’s a hood.

Gloomberg News:   Can you describe the hoods?

Hassan al-Libi:   I’m not sure.  They seem to come to a long point on top.

Gloomberg News:   Actually, I’ve been over there.  Would it surprise you to learn that the group in that palace is made up of former Ku Klux Klansmen from America?

Hassan al-Libi:   What?  Really?

Gloomberg News:   Yes.  What looks like a palace from here really is a very ornate university building.  Every morning, the Klansmen file into class and get chained to their desks.  Then they listen to lectures on civics, sociology, civil rights, tolerance, that kind of thing.

Hassan al-Libi:   You’re kidding.

Gloomberg News:   No.  And let’s pull this thread a bit further.  Are you a cleric, or a religious scholar?

Hassan al-Libi:   Well, no.

Gloomberg News:   Would it surprise you to know that many of those who are say that this whole virgins-for-terrorists idea is a myth?  An elaborate lie, in fact?  That no one who commits suicide can enter paradise, under any circumstances?

Hassan al-Libi:   Yet here I am.

Gloomberg News:   Yes, here you are.  Which leads to my next question.  Where did you get the idea that the tenets of your faith—which has hundreds of millions of peace-loving followers—required you to slaughter your way into paradise?  Or even allowed you to do so?  

Hassan al-Libi:   I would not phrase it that way.

Gloomberg News:   Required you to become a “freedom fighter,” then.

Hassan al-Libi:   Well, the Sheikh told me so.  And other leaders whom I trust.

Gloomberg News:   Right.  The same guys who tell followers like you to strap on bombs and blow themselves up, along with others, while these righteous men pat you on the back, stand back—way back—smile, give you a big “thumbs up,” and enjoy the fireworks.  Those guys?

Hassan al-Libi:   Well, again, I would not put it that way. 

Gloomberg News:   But you did trust them.

Hassan al-Libi:   Yes.

Gloomberg News:   And you never stopped to think that maybe they might be putting one over on you?  That perhaps participating in the murder of innocents, or killing yourself in the pursuit of it, is not something that entitles you entry into paradise? 

Hassan al-Libi:   But, again, I would say to you, here I am.  What are you driving at?

Gloomberg News:   Well, think about it.  You now face an eternity with 72 nagging wives.   You can’t leave the compound.  Your immediate neighbors are former white supremacists who now have to listen to lectures on human equality, race relations, and the brotherhood of man every day until the end of time.  Does that sound like paradise to you?

Hassan al-Libi:   You know, I think it’s time to conclude this interview.  Your quarter hour is up.

Gloomberg News:   You were under the impression that we’d only spend 15 minutes?  I certainly apologize for that misunderstanding.

Hassan al-Libi:  You know, you remind me of why I and my fellow freedom fighters do not much like journalists.  In fact we have made a point to kill them when we can.  How much more time do you need?

Gloomberg News:   The authorities promised me I could take as much time with you as I want.   I was thinking—I don’t know—a couple of weeks.  Maybe more.

Hassan al-Libi:   A couple of weeks?  That is a very large amount of time for anyone to have to spend with a journalist.  It seems very excessive.

Gloomberg News:   Yeah, I know.  Hell, ain’t it?


If you enjoyed this, please share with your friends.  You can find more snarkograms here.  My well-reviewed novel Messages, a TV news expos√© and crime drama, is written largely in this style.  And I invite you to subscribe to this blog.

©2015 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.

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