In “Bad Politics, Worse Prose,” Foreign Policy lists some of the worst books by some of the worst people. If you think regular authors are full of themselves, wait until you read the bombast of a dictator like Saparmurat Niyazov, aka Leader of All the Turkmen, who renamed the month of September after his book on Turkmen identity.

Here is Muammar al-Qaddafi, in his collection Escape to Hell, on urban decay:

Yesterday a young boy was run over in that street, where he was playing. Last year a speeding vehicle hit a little girl crossing the street, tearing her body apart. They gathered up her limbs in her mother’s dress. Another child was kidnapped by professional criminals. After a few days, they released her in front of her home, after they had stolen one of her kidneys! Another boy was put into a cardboard box by the neighbourhood boys in a game, but was run over accidentally by a car.

I bet Qaddafi is still kicking himself for not having the girl with the abducted kidney get hit by a car while she stands in front of her home.

And here is Saddam Hussein (maybe), in his first of four novels, Zabiba and the King (soon to be adapted by Sacha Baron Cohen):

Even an animal respects a man’s desire, if it wants to copulate with him. Doesn’t a female bear try to please a herdsman when she drags him into the mountains as it happens in the North of Iraq? She drags him into her den, so that he, obeying her desire, would copulate with her? Doesn’t she bring him nuts, gathering them from the trees or picking them from the bushes? Doesn’t she climb into the houses of farmers in order to steal some cheese, nuts and even raisins, so that she can feed the man and awake in him the desire to have her?

Apparently I’ve been giving it away too easy, because I have never had a woman – or a Russian – or whatever this bestial allegory is about – surprise me with raisins in bed. Nuts once. But never raisins.

For more, including the stale imagery of Joseph Stalin and a surprisingly nuanced mystical poem by Ayatollah Khomeini (who called for the death of Salman Rushdie for his “blasphemous” novel, The Satanic Verses), click here.


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