Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wacky Sunni-Shi'ite Morning Radio Show: The Baghdad Morning Zoo

by William Prendergast

Hey, look at this:

Sunnis, Shiites Join in Radio-TV Station

Using jumper cables and a 12-volt battery, plus financial backing and technical help from the United States, Sunnis and Shiites are broadcasting with one voice in Iraq...

The young staff - two Sunni and two Shiite Muslims - works together to produce a menu of Arabic news, public affairs and entertainment programming, a collaboration that would not have seemed remarkable before Iraq's sectarian divisions hardened into tit-for-tat killings last year.

Now, however, the project puts the staff members at risk, both because of their cooperation with one another and their affiliation with U.S. forces and the State Department.

The U.S. military spent $36,000 to fix the transmitter and generator for the new station, which now broadcasts across Baghdad and into other areas where sectarian killings and kidnappings have become common...

Never mind that, what is the Sunni-Shi'ite Morning Zoo Radio Show LIKE? Is it funny? Let's see:

Bumper music: First few bars of Middle-Eastern version of My Sharona...
Voice and sound effects under music: (machine gun fire) “AAAAGH!” “It’s party time!” (car horn) (sound of explosion) (kazoo playing opening notes of Iraqi national antherm)

Announcer: Get ready, believers! You’ve entered the Twilight Zone! (first few bars of the Twilight Zone theme) ...because you’ve arrived at the Baghdad Morning Zoo, with your hosts everybody’s favorite Shi’ite madman, Taqi (sound effect: buggeda-buggeda-buggeda) and Sunni-boy himself (sound effect: doll saying “Ma-ma”), Akbar!

(Sound effect: cheers and applause as “My Sharona” fades out.”)

Akbar: Good morning, heretical scum!
Taqi: Good morning yourself, murdering dog!
Akbar: And a good morning to our listeners in the greater Baghdad area, wherever you are hiding. The Americans have given us tens of millions in aid to set up this radio program for you. So let’s get the jumper cables connected to the battery and get this show on the road. Are we on the air? Taqi, are we broadcasting?
Taqi: Does your mother entertain American servicemen? Of course we’re on the air, pork eater.
(laugh track)
Akbar: Ha ha! Good one, Taqi. That’s the kind of outrageous banter you’re going to be hearing from us, my friends. But it’s all in good fun, eh, Taqi?
Taqi: Of course. But his mother does entertain American servicemen.
(laugh track)
Akbar: Don’t milk it to death, Taqi. Okay, what have we got for the fans this morning?
Taqi: Well, we got a packed program. First, we’re gonna do some funny phone calls.
Akbar: Oh, I love that.
Taqi: Then we do Baghdad Lesbian Dial-a-Date. Because it’s a real Western-style shock-and-awe radio show, right here in Baghdad.
Akbar: Baghdad Lesbian Dial-a-Date! Birqa-chewing! It’s hot hot hot! (plays clip of Ricky Martin singing “Hot! Hot! Hot!”)
Taqi: Then at the half hour, we got Fatima with the traffic and the weather.
Akbar: I can tell you the traffic and the weather right now. The traffic’s on fire and the weather: mostly smoky, because of the traffic.
(laugh track)
Taqi: Oh, you are a character.
(Sound clip from Pulp Fiction: “Just because you are a character, doesn’t mean you have character.”)
Taqi: Harvey Keitel. I love him. Let’s see if we can get him on the show, some time.
Akbar: No. He’s too normal for this show.
(laugh track)
Taqi: Okay, time for the first prank phone call. (sound of him punching in the number)
Akbar: Who you calling now, you nut?
Taqi: General Petraeus, commanding officer of the US Ground Forces.
Akbar: How did you get his number?
Taqi: It’s in your mother’s Rolodex.
Akbar: You Shi’ite pederast!
Taqi: Quiet, it’s ringing—
Petraeus: Hello?
Taqi: (disguising his voice to sound American) Hello, General Petraeus?
Petraeus: Yes?
Taqi: This is the Baghdad Public Utilities Commission. You haven’t paid your bill this month.
Petraeus: What?
(Akbar giggles.)
Taqi: I said you haven’t paid your utilities bill this month, your electric bill. This is just a courtesy call, General Petraeus, to let you know that even if you had any electricity, we’d be shutting it off right now.
Petraeus: Who is this?
Taqi: I told you! This is Baghdad Public Utilities Commission! Are you a deaf General, or something? Listen—is your refrigerator running?
Petraeus: I—let me check...Yes, yes it’s running...
Taqi: Well then you better go catch it! Before it blows up! You dork!
(He hangs up. Taqi and Akbar chuckle.)
Taqi: I love to do that.
Akbar: And he always falls for that one, the uncircumsized dog.
(The show goes on for another three hours, but never for more than twenty minutes in the same place.)



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