The Fall of the Imam

The Fall of the Imam by Nawal El Saadawi Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: The Fall of the Imam by Nawal El Saadawi Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nawal El Saadawi
Tags: Fiction, Literary, General
holy poverty, but after I had risen so high and sat on the throne she was no longer a suitable wife for me, she no longer fitted in with this new stage in my life. Besides, the Advisory Council told me that the Imam has the right to a new house, a new cloak of the best material, and a new wife, a woman blonde as honey, with eyes blue as the sea and a tongue that speaks all the languages of the earth. The members of the Council without exception said that this is the absolute right of the Imam, for he is the best and holiest of men. No one could contest my right as Imam to possess the best of wives, a woman without parallel in beauty and knowledge of the world, who will accompany me in my travels and represent me at inaugural functions when required. She will put on the official attire, join in the applause and acclamations of the crowd as she stands by my side in festivals and in celebrations of victory. In defeat she will wear the white uniform of nurses, offer sweets to the wounded and the handicapped, and join the widows of martyrs when they sing an anthem of praise to the dead, as they stand in the Great Hall, their eyes lifted in praise to the picture of the Imam hanging proudly from the monument to victory with his face looking humbly at the heavens.
    My lips mutter verses of praise to God seated on his throne in heaven, but every now and then they curl with a quick intimate smile directed at the Devil. In my ears echo the acclamations of the crowd. I raise my right hand in the air, but my lower lip hangs down over my beard with the humility proper to a holy man. There I stand tall and upright on the platform, wearing the face of the Imam. On my forehead is the mark of the faithful to God, those who believe in Him and pray for His forgiveness, and over my chest hangs the Medal of Great Victories. To my right stands my Chief of Security, and on my left is my Great Writer, followed by my Leader of the Official Opposition. Behind are row upon row of Ministers, representatives of great powers, and personalities of State.
    ‘God is with you.’ Up into the air mounts the shout launched by men and women, children in the uniforms of scouts, girls dressed as nurses, soldiers in their khaki trousers, workers in blue overalls, peasants, their bodies clothed in flowing robes and their heads covered in skull-caps, while popular dance troupes weave their way through the crowds, women dancing and cymbals clashing. A million voices raised in acclamation resound as one voice, which thunders out accompanied by the refrains of patriotic songs and anthems of praise, the beating of drums, rockets fired to the sun, filling space with noise and vivid colours. White pigeons shoot up into the sky in flocks of fluttering wings, followed by planes carrying bombs which have expired many years ago. The sound of the words, God is with you, vibrates in his ears again and again. His eyes, raised to the heavens, asked a question: if Thou art on my side, O God, why have I suffered defeat? Why dost Thou hide from me the secret of the nuclear bomb, and divulge its secrets to the enemy, to the unbelievers? Why deprive Thy humble servants and faithful followers from its benefits? Have mercy on me, O Allah, for I should not be asking Thee to explain the reasons why, or the causes of Thy actions. It is Thy will and Thy will is not to be questioned, for to question is to oppose and to oppose can only bring harm. I thought that this Satan who stands by my side would play his role of opposition within the limits prescribed by my decrees, that he would serve to bestow upon me the honourable reputation of a man of liberty and democracy. But no, he does not know his limits. He has grown arrogant and conceited, filled the newspapers with his pictures and even arranged things so that they are sometimes placed higher than mine. He smiles at me like an angel and then strikes out at me behind my back. He stands close to the representatives of the Great Powers during

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