Insincere Salutes

Hail the Father.
Hail the Son.
Hail One-Man-Triumphs.
Hail infamy.

Hail Dying Republic.
Hail fledgling monarchy.
Hail the death of shame.
Hail the death of Liberty.

Hail impotent army generals.
Hail corrupt government officials.
Hail fear and Viagra.
Hail sycophancy.

Hail Black Mercedes.1
Hail yellow license plates.2
Hail million-dollar villas in an impoverished country.3
Hail ill-begotten fortune. Hail luxury.

Hail privileged sects.
Hail persecution complexes, historical grudges, conspiracy theories.
Hail billion presidential posters.
Hail Arch of Fictitious Victory.4

Hail Kalashnikovs.
Hail sharp daggers.
Hail intelligence reports.
Hail apparatus of internal security.

Hail participatory democracy.5
Hail the price of a cup of coffee.6
Hail idiotic sense of honor.
Hail bribery.

Hail silent ordinary citizen.
Hail rare and weak erections.
Hail Sacred and Unapproachable Vulva.
Hail dying dignity.

Hail Christian women who disdain me.
Hail Muslim women who despise me.
Hail Veil of Tradition.
Hail Veil of Misery.

Hail Glorious Past.
Hail accursed present.
Hail bleak future.
Hail unswallowable reality.

Hail Judaism.
Hail Christianity.
Hail Islam.
Hail blasphemy.

Hail Third World.
Hail Least World.
Hail Last World/Dead World.
Hail fucked-up country.

 March 1999


1 Most government officials in Syria at the time owned one or more black Mercedes.

2 Importation of cars in Syria was strictly controlled by the government at the time. Indeed, cars of all kinds were considered luxury items and were subject to a 300% “luxury tax.” To avoid such a hefty tax and to own the kind of cars which cannot legally be imported to Syria, government officials, their relatives and acquaintances used to obtain yellow license plates which allowed for cars purchased in Lebanon, where they were much cheaper, to be brought to Syria without paying any taxes. The license was temporary but was easily renewable .

3 Most high government officials own one or more such villas.

4 Shortly after the Presidential Referendum was conducted, construction began on an Arch of Victory to be dedicated to the President. The Arch was being constructed along the famous Mazzah Highway in Damascus, and had it been allowed to be completed, all tourists, diplomats and foreign dignitaries would have had to pass under it on their way to Damascus. As it happened, however, construction was halted mere days after the inception and all traces of the Arch were removed. For the whole project turned out to be the initiative of one of Bashar Al-Assad’s cousins – an arch-rival of his to succeed Hafiz Al-Assad as president of Syria.

5 Syria’s system is often described, by Syrian government officials and their lackeys, as being a “participatory democracy.”

6 Long ago known as Baksheesh.