bardseyeview

A Shakespearean Glance at the People and Issues of the Day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Richard II and George Galloway

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Like Richard II, George Galloway has a flair for the self-dramatic.

Galloway is a member of the British parliament and long-standing apologist for Saddam Hussein who, it is clear to any thoughtful person familiar with him, accepted oil-for-food money from Saddam. To think otherwise at this late date would represent an exercise in keeping one's mind so open that one's brain falls out. The money was intended for those who were suffering under Saddam's regime, and was doubtless offered to Mr. Galloway either in exchange for or in appreciation for his services as that regime's loud apologist. King Richard II:

"And for these great affairs do ask some charge:
Towards our assistance we do seize to us
The plate, coin, revenues, and movables,
Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess'd."

For years Mr. Galloway had the world at his command. A princely podium from which to amplify Saddam's arguments and at his back the UN and an Arab Islamic world united in opposition to the West. Fat times proceeded, but they were ultimately to be followed by lean. The Americans, aided by his own British army, at last rolled into Baghdad after twelve lost years that approximated Moses' lost forty, and the coalition behind Galloway began to fall away:

"What is become of Bushy, where is Green?
That they have let the dangerous enemy
Measure out our confines with such peaceful steps?
If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it:"

That 'Bushy' is a bonus. Let's take it as a reference to the first president Bush, who hesitated at the brink of Baghdad, but who can't help Galloway now. And as if that weren't enough, how much more galling for Galloway to see the slow steady progress of a civil Iraq, Shia, Sunni and Kurd, a nation forming itself even under the storm of terror:

K. Rich: "I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke."

Scroop: "Peace have they made with him, my lord."

Mr. Galloway was recently invited to testify in front of a US congressional committee, under oath, about his involvement in the criminal diversion of the oil-for-food money. At the time his performance was considered a rhetorical success and a matter of some chagrin for the legislators who interrogated him. The art of public speaking has long since withered here in America, and our stolid, mush-mouthed, pork-delivering congressional hacks were no match for Mr. Galloway's silver tongue.

"And thou a lunatic lean witted fool,
Presuming on an ague's privilege,
Dar'st with thy frozen admonition
Make pale our cheek, chasing the royal blood
With fury from the native residence…"

So it was a matter of some comfort to discover that hard evidence has now been assembled that flatly contradicts the admissions Mr. Galloway made under oath. Mr. Galloway is now self-dramatically challenging the Americans to indict him:

"Give me the glass, and therein will I read, -
No deeper wrinkles yet? Hath sorrow struck
So many blows upon this face of mine,
And made no deeper wounds? – O flattering glass,
Like to my followers in prosperity,
Thou dost beguile me."

There are certain public figures who display such infamy, and such psychotic unawareness of it, as to invite decent men to look away from them in daylight. Michael Jackson is probably America's great contribution, though murderers like Scott Peterson and O.J. Simpson may trump a mere molester the way a flush beats a straight. Galloway, Saddam's and perhaps also Richard II's soul mate, seems to be another.
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