Home » SOAPBOX: Comical Ali Was Funny – Our Stooges Are Not

SOAPBOX: Comical Ali Was Funny – Our Stooges Are Not

by Jimmy Rhatigan

War is never acceptable.
Thousands of massacred soldiers; civilian innocents in body bags; razed cities; countless homeless; it is nigh impossible to find a positive.

Post war statistics make horrendous reading.

The odd miracle may come from a killing field; a mother and child sruggling but still alive; a bullet-riddled soldier somehow staving off the Grim Reaper.

If we fast-track back to the War in Iraq we will find a character who gave war correspondents and TV viewers many good laughs in a vale of tears.

He was perhaps the Three Stooges wrapped into one.

Some may remember the Iraqi Information Minister who became famous, or perhaps infamous for his nickname Comical Ali.

Ali, real name Mohammed Saeed-al-Sahaf, earned his aka as he ranted and raved about the enemy being miles away as TV audiences heard bombs exploding.

He won his pet name because of defiant media statements which seemed to have increasingly little basis in fact.


Pic credit: Micheál Martin, Author: Oireachtas,Source: Wikipedia. License: (CC 4.0 International)

In layman’s lingo, Mohammed spewed out porky pies.

In his piece de resistance, his final message to the media as he fled the Iraqi capital he said US troops had been driven out of Baghdad.

The latter was as American soldiers listened to him at the other side of the road.

In our fear-gripped country where a virus has already claimed over 4,000 victims, we have our very own version of The Three Stooges.

Stooges, Larry, Moe and Curley, at one time a quartet, were a hilarious slapstick team that entertained millions worldwide.

Our trio of dark comedy may be viewed as entertainers by a Golden Circle of friends but to a majority of others they could be seen as individuals who make love, not war, the love being of themselves.

As we fight World War 3, Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Eamon Ryan fight a private battle among themselves as they bid to hog the headlines, lashing out crazy teasers that win them coverage they more often than not don’t deserve.


Pic credit: Leo Varadkar, Author: Oireachtas,Source: Wikipedia. License: (CC 4.0 International)

Unlike our pal, Comical Ali, they serve their own greedy wants and needs and those of their political parties that are obviously far more important to them than the people they are supposed to represent.

In a nutshell, votes for the future are more vital than the welfare of local communities, even at a time of pandemic.

Like Ali, all three are masters of waffle. And, sadly, they would not be averse to spinning a yarn as they pretend to be buddies in coalition.

Any of them would possibly stoop to claiming that the world is square and that Elvis is alive and living in Cork in the hope of grabbing propaganda anywhere, online or in print.

The difference between Mohammed and our trinity of spin is that the Iraqi probably did no real damage as he may have said that the American soldiers were climbing a mountain when they were washing their bits and bobs in a local river.

Yes, it was inaccurate and disrespectful, but it was not mé féinism.

Truth is usually the first casualty of international conflicts.

The same is true of our battle of wits between Ireland’s trinity, none of whom have learned the meaning of the words leadership and vision.


Pic credit: Eamon Ryan, Author: Oireachtas,Source: Wikipedia. License: (CC 4.0 International)

Mohammed’s misdemeanours may in hindsight have been born out of love of his country rather than for any self-gain.

It is painful to watch Varadkar and Martin particular as they unashamedly fight an uncanny turf war, grappling for limelight, as their fellow Irish men and women struggle for their lives.

Ryan is more often than not a mere spectator, perhaps asleep, dreaming about the next time he would stuff his foot into his mouth, or cycling to work with lettuce sambos for lunch.

One feels that Ali may have joined thousands of others in having a laugh at himself.

The sorry situation is that our trio of tricksters will always be happy to snigger at us, confining us to the plebs’ department of life as they feather their own comfy nests.

Their pretence is pitiful. The impression the three would like to give is that all is well in the coalition marriage bed as they play footsie.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Civil War politics has never been buried and the lust for power is still alive and well.

Control is the key and to hell with the consequences for the rest of us.
Iraq would appear to be back on an even keel.

But we still have a huge road to travel unless we give the boot to those who may have got drunk on power and show no signs of going cold turkey.

War is despicable.

Bad leaders will inevitably drag us to a date with The Devil.

We should remember that an empty house is far less hassle than a bad tenant.

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