…the government also consulted Parisoula Lampsos, who the Defense Department believes has passed a polygraph examination in support of her claim that she was Hussein's mistress in Iraq for many years. Lampsos has previously distinguished Hussein from his doubles in more than a dozen cases, one official said, and this time she said he was not the man in the broadcast.
                                 – Washington Post (3/21)

My thoughts drift out to Parisoula Lampsos…

Parisoula. What a wonderful name, exotic but somehow familiar. I don’t want to know the correct way to pronounce it. In my mind, it is the Pari from Paris, slurred into a soft Sue and Lah which somehow emerges as a single syllable. It is an invitation.

Parisoula made a brief appearance on the international scene a few months ago, giving interviews to ABC News from a safehouse in Lebanon. She spilled the beans on the private world of Saddam Hussein. Was it sensationalism? Six months ago it was hard to say. The fact that DOD is consulting with her now gives new credence to her previous statements.

She claims to have been Saddam’s mistress – the favorite of six – for thirty years before fleeing the country with the aid of the Iraqi National Congress. Now she hides, fearing that Saddam will have her executed.

 "He was tender. He was warm. He was nice. He was another person.”

But the years roll by, and as Saddam grew older, he downshifted into Clairol and Viagra. He became cold and cruel. "Saddam, he don't need to force anybody. You are afraid. You are afraid to say no… I was with him because I was afraid of him."

She was ready to leave, but the odds didn’t look that promising. "I told him, 'Why? Let me go now. I don't have anything to give you more. You can have any woman. What you need me? He look at me very, very, very strong. He said, 'You belong to me. You are going to die here in Baghdad.'"

Parisoula. The name should be murmured.

...Intelligence officials also have determined it was almost certainly Saddam, not a look-alike, who appeared in a video recording on Iraqi television Wednesday, a few hours after he was targeted by an American air strike.                               - Associated Press (3/21)

Blue acrid smoke snakes into the room, beckoning young lovers to shyly  dance… Strangers in the night, exchanging glances…"He believe only for Saddam. He look at the mirror, 'I am Saddam.' He went like that. He looks. 'I am Saddam. Heil Hitler!'"…the music, there is something wrong with the music, the source is unknown, it speeds up, it oscillates…I was favorite mistress in his collection, a confidant to his wives… Wond'ring in the night what were the chances we'd be sharing love… “After the rape of my daughter, I felt hatred for him. When I slept with him, I felt I was being raped, too. I admit it was balanced by the good life. I was turned into the palace whore.”

      Before the night was through.

“Shaqraa, you don’t recognize me? I’m here. I’m right here.”

There is a liquid feel to the air. Eyes burn. "If you see him in some photos, his mouth is not normal. It droops." Something in your eyes was so inviting… “when the allies seized Kuwait, I sense he been crying. He was with tears. His eye was red, red, red. He told me 'I lose.' I said, 'What?' He said, 'Kuwait.' He said, 'They took Kuwait from me but I will took it again.'"

The sound of a television snapping on. Then two. Then five. Something in your smile was so exciting… It is hard to make out the screen through the smoke, but the screams can easily be heard over the music...irregular accents, skin coming off in strips. A man with a hammer and wire… Christ, I need a drink…"He was happy, happy, happy," she said of the torture viewing. "Happiest day." Something in my heart told me I must have you.

“I am here, shaqraa. Parisoula, I have always been here.”
 
Strangers in the night
Two lonely people we were
Strangers in the night

                      "He never lose. He always think that he will win."

Up to the moment when we
Said our first hello
Little did we know
Love was just a glance away

                       "He don't care."

A warm embracing dance away

“Parisoula?”
 

© 2003, Mark Hoback