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Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves: A Contemporary Fable

av John Egerton

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A satirical tale of the fall of a fabled empire.



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Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves, a Parable of the Reign of George W. Fratbush
Recently while attending the annual meeting of the Southern Historical Association, I happened to stop by a booth belonging to New South Books. As I browsed through the mostly academic books on display, my eyes caught sight of a small volume that looked much like a child’s book of fairy tales. The title, Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieve*, and the amusing picture on the cover, a cartoon of George W. Bush and his gang, made me smile. I could not resist picking it up and thumbing through its pages. What I discovered was a fairy tale, or fable, that went something like this:
Once upon a time in a land known as “America” a tribal ruler by the name of George W. Fratbush, leader of the Publicans, was declared Ruler of the American Empire after an intense struggle with Prince Al Bore, leader of the Sinners. The whole nation waited with bated breath as the two contestants fought for the honor of leading the world’s greatest nation into the new millennium. The outcome remained in doubt until the nation’s highest judicial authority chaired by Sir William Inquest declared, by a margin of just one vote, that Fratbush was the winner, despite the fact that the majority of the people had indicated their support for Prince Al Bore.
Following his coronation, complete with blessings from the nation’s religious leaders, many of whom were members of the Publicans, George II, or “Dub’-yuh” as his friends called him, left his home in the western territories to take up residence in the nation’s capital. No longer would he spend his leisurely days clearing underbrush on his ranch. Encouraged by a close following of sycophants, Fratbush began to believe he was called by Providence to usher in a new world order. Many felt that he was driven in no small part by the desire to avenge the defeat and humiliation of his father, the ineffectual former King George Wimpbush, by King Zip.
King Zip was a territorial leader known locally as “Willie Bubba.” Bubba defeated Wimpbush by speaking positively of the nation’s greatness and promising eight unbroken years of progressive reforms. Thus was King Wimpbush’s reign limited to only four years, rather than the expected eight. King Zip served his allotted eight years, but they were less than glorious. His efforts at reform alienated the rich, while a brief moment of moral weakness that became known as “Zippergate” brought down upon him the wrath of a powerful Publican faction known as the Pharisees.
Very little was expected from Fratbush. Even family members admitted that the lad was intellectually challenged. Much of his early life was in the company of youthful friends who spent their time in drunken revelry. In a moment of weakness, what Fratbush would later often refer to as his “Damascus moment,” young George Dubyiah underwent a religious conversion. This existential experience would later assure him of support from many of the nation’s most popular clerics, especially Mulla Pat (“God is on line one.”) and Mulla Jerry “Teletubby.”
King Fratbush’s rule would have warranted only a mention in an outline of America’s history, if it were not for Osama bin Hiden and the event forever remembered as “Nine-Eleven.” The two were more than causally related. Osama bin Hiden, like Dubyiah, was a rebellious son born to privilege. Indeed, the Bushes and bin Hidens were known to each other. And, like Dubyiah, Osama underwent a religious conversion. But unlike Dubyiah, who became a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, Osama became a follower of the prophet Muhammad, some of whose followers believed in spreading the prophet’s teachings by violence.
Osama was the alleged mastermind behind the Nine-Eleven incident. In a brazen act of terrorism, Osama’s operatives skyjacked commercial airliners loaded with innocent passengers and crashed them into the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing thousands of civilians. Not since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a day that shall live in infamy, had Americans suffered such a blow to their pride. Never again would they feel safe and secure behind two oceans. Would any nation in the world continue to live in awe of American power?
Osama bin Hiden and Nine-Eleven raised George “Dubyiah” Fratbush from among the ranks of America’s most harmless rulers to what he liked to call himself, a “war president.” In a moment, Fratbush saw himself as another Lincoln, Wilson, or FDR, a courageous leader of a beleaguered but free people in a war for the survival of Western Civilization, threatened once again by hordes of barbarians riding out of the deserts of the Middle East.
No one close to Fratbush ever suspected that he was capable of such heroism. Fortunately, or unfortunately as it turned out for America and the world, Fratbush was but the man out front for a cabal of much more intelligent and sinister characters who had followed him to Washington, D.C. Among them were Dick Chaingang, Donald Rumsfailed, Paul Werewolf, John Sackcloth, and Karl “Babyface” Machiavroelli. Historians still disagree as to who was the “Brain” behind the Fratbush rule, whether it was “Bullseye” Dick or Babyface Karl. They, together with others of similar character, would become known to history as “The Forty Thieves,” and the eight years of Dubyiah’s rule in Washington would be remembered as the reign of Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves.
Unfortunately for America and the world community, the eight-year reign of Ali Dubyiah and his Forty Thieves proved to be the most disastrous period in American history. It marked the end of America’s moral leadership in the world community and the beginning of the decline of America as a world power. Once his reign ended and the Sinners returned to power, Fratbush spent his remaining years clearing underbrush and mending fences in self-exile on his western ranch. To the end of his life, he could never understand why God and the American people let him down, or “whatever became of Osama bin Hiden?”
Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves: A Contemporary Fable is very entertaining bit of short fiction that is not only humorous but also a very perceptive and witty analysis of how the Bush machine, together with its ideological comrades, was able to mislead a sizable portion of the American electorate for eight tragic years.
The author, John Egerton, is an independent journalist and author of more than fifteen books. For this analysis of the George W. Bush administration, Egerton chose to employ political satire, or “political science fiction,” and present his findings in the form of a fable drawn from the “recently discovered journals of Ibrahim Barzouni.” The time is somewhere in the distant future, when the “American Empire” is but a memory, much as the Iranian world of The Thousand and One Nights is to the reader. Edgerton said that he meant for the book to be a “cautionary tale.” Written and published while George W. Bush was still in office (2006), Edgerton’s fable appears from the vantage point of 2009/2010 to be rather uncanny.
I have but two regrets about Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves. The first is that I did not know of it until three years after it was first published. The second is that Mr. Edgerton has not seen fit, at least not yet, to provide us with an updated edition, or at least publish more of Ibrahim Barzouni’s journals.
*John Edgerton, Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves: A Contemporary Fable (Montgomery, AL: New South Books, 2006), 144 pp. ( )
  paulrwaibel44 | Dec 5, 2009 |
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