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Little Red Riding Iraqi
“Blood? Hey! You’re not Aunt Zeinab. Those aren’t her dentures.”

July 23, 2004

Once upon a time there was a girl called Little Red Riding Iraqi. She was on the way to visit her Aunt Zeinab when a US helicopter circled her in the forest and started shouting instructions in Arabic through a loudspeaker.

“I don’t speak Arabic you jerks. I’m from a well-to-do secular family in Washington. I’m going to see my aunt.”

“What’s with the hejab?” yelled a marine. “You look Muslim.”

“It’s a hood! Ever heard of Red Riding hejab!”

Seeing she had a point, the chopper dipped its nose, swerved, and flew off to destroy a village just like in those Vietnam movies, only no one was wearing a pointy hat.

“Bastards!” said the girl. Ditching her red hood for a green one, there and then she decided to become a Shia rebel. She walked for hours and hours deeper and deeper into the woods. She was accosted by several Cambridge graduates trying to become journalists. Finally, she reached Aunt Zeinab’s cottage. She knocked on the door. “Come in,” said a voice.

“You got a cough auntie?” said the girl. She walked in and saw a big bad Wolfovitz sitting in her aunt’s bed. “Oh. Aunt Zeinab. What big eyes you have,” she said.

“All the better to see you with my dear,” said the wolf. “Only I forgot my contacts so come closer, there’s a good girl.”

“My, auntie, what weight you’ve put on,” she said.

“All the better to sit on your oil reserves with,” said the wolf.

“And, my, what big ears you have!”

“All the better to pick up Al-Jazeera with,” said the wolf.

“But what’s with the fangs?”

“All the better to suck the blood out of your country with.”

“Blood? Hey! You’re not Aunt Zeinab. Those aren’t her dentures.”

“Okay, you got me. I’m a big bad wolf. But could I interest you in joining the Governing Council at all?”

“At my age?” said the girl.

“Age is no matter. Got any convictions?”

“Sure, freedom and justice for all.”

“I meant criminal convictions.”

“Of course not.”

“You don’t? Darn. Never stole candy even?”


“Money from your parents?”


“ Wouldn’t be a Baathist by any chance?”


The wolf sounded dejected: “Look. We could use a high-profile person like you, even if you’re not a crook.”

“No way, buster,” she said. “Where’s my auntie?”

She pulled one of his ears. The wolf made to grab her, but she ran away, trusting Allah to deliver her to safety, even though her aunt had just got eaten. The wolf jumped out of bed and chased her into the forest. But he stepped on a landmine and was liquidized. Little Green Riding Hood, meanwhile, skipped ahead gaily until she found an opening -- in Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. And they all lived unhappily ever after.

* *

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To Peyvand Khorsandi

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By Peyvand Khorsandi



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