Saddam's Word: political discourse in Iraq
This is the first serious attempt to understand modern Iraq through a close examination of the political discourse used by the Ba'th regime and its leader, Saddam Hussein. Drawing from newspaper articles and official publications, as well as Hussein's public statements, speeches, and writing, Saddam's Word demonstrates how the regime's propaganda defines the range of acceptable public discussion and manipulates history in an attempt to unify diverse and competing ethnic and religious groups.The revival and rewriting of Iraqi and Islamic myth, along with the construction of viable contemporary myths in today's language, are key instruments in the regime's credibility. Its 29-year hold on Iraqi power - unbroken through war, economic disaster, and ethnic strife - can be largely attributed to the subjugation of the media and public discourse to its own ends.
By analyzing political terms, concepts, and idioms as disseminated through the official Iraqi mouthpieces, author Ofra Bengio illuminates Iraq's political culture and the events that these expressions have both reflected and shaped. Bengio succeeds not only in adding another dimension to our understanding of the "Saddam enigma" but also in illustrating the more universal truth that under any regime, political culture is built on the word. Saddam's Word will be of much interest to students and scholars of the contemporary Middle East, to observers of Saddam Hussein and his regime, and to those interested in how a regime maintains power by controlling public discourse.