April 29, 2003

DEMOCRACY! WHISKY! SEXY! Well, so far we’ve got two out of three!

“The movie is much more beautiful now because there’s sex,” said a beaming Mohammed Taher, 18. Since Saturday, when the theater reopened with a freshly uncensored version of the low-budget flick, he has seen “Blue Chill” three times.

Baghdad has gone through a revolution in the past three weeks, casting off decades of censorship and state control. Banned books, satellite dishes and video CDs are now sold on the street – as are alcohol and women.

Nobody knows how long the permissiveness will last. Iraq’s American governors brought together Iraqi political leaders yesterday to discuss a new government, and many Baghdadis believe that once it’s in place, some of their freedoms will disappear.

Conservatives are counting on it. “Everything against Islam, everything we hate, has been imported by the Americans like a disease,” said Abbas Hamid, a 60-year-old merchant. “We’ll fight them. We’re tired now, but we’ll rest up and use our guns to drive the Americans out.”

For now, Hamid appears to be in the minority as Iraqis excitedly discover worlds of vice – and virtue, too – long forbidden by the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein.

Christina Aguilera’s belly button: irresistible force for freedom!

(Via Zach Barbera).

UPDATE: And Kylie Minogue is doing her part (er, parts?) for liberty, too!