Saddam's 'Disneyland': How Dictators Explore Historical Ruins

Saddam's 'Disneyland': How Dictators Explore Historical Ruins

Iraqi dictator has appropriated symbolism associated with the country's historic ruins to evoke past glories and feed self-worship

It is so gleaming that it is difficult to look at the palace, which stands on angular facades and open windows in the intense Iraqi sun.A short winding road leads to its summit, where loose gravel is covered by shades of olive and palm trees that grow freely in the once luxurious gardens.This was one of Saddam Hussein's most opulent palaces.Inside there are marks of his extravagance on the delicately carved doors and trim and the large chandelier still hanging above the foyer.The walls are now graffiti-strewn, surrounding children play soccer in echoing spaces, and pieces of glass from the chandelier scatter across the floor.And so the palace of the then mighty dictator became an empty ruin.From the balcony of the dictator's room, the plains lengthen and another ruin appears: the broken walls from which, 2,500 years ago, the city of Babylon ruled the world.The amazing view is no coincidence.The intention was for visitors to look at the ruins of Babylon and realize that the...


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