Monday, May 29, 2006

Arrakis and Iraq- From Dune To The Dunes

Regime Change on the planet Arrakis... ring any bells? When the news about the President Bush's failure to control Iraq after the occupation came about, any reader of Frank Herbert's novel Dune would not be suprised. Herbert explained the ethical nobility implied in the Islamic approach to battle. His freedom fighters, the Feydakin, believed that sacrificing one life to ensure the deaths of many of the enemy was an extremely sensible and honourable way to fight a war. The higher the number of enemy deaths taken in an attack, the greater was the revererance bestowed on the self-sacrificing soldier

The similarities between Arrakis and Iraq in Herbert's are many. A desert only of value for what lay beneath its soil, which was a commodity considered a necessity by many civilisations, ruled by puppet regimes whose primary function was to maximise product output, ravaged by a failed change in ruler.

In the book, assisted by his sister, the Abomination Aliah (I kid you not) , deposed ruler Paul Atreides is assimilated into the indigenous culture, amd utilises his knowledge of both invading and local philosophies to successfully organise a revolution. He forces a society reliant on a precious commodity to become subservient in order to continue to function.

The homeland succes results in a massive Jihad that reshapes human existance to conform with the social mores of those who control the oil... er, I mean spice.

The fact that Frank Herbert wrote all this in the 1960's makes the similarites between the current situation in Iraq and the cirucmstances of the novel all the more impressive. I've wondered, right from the day of September 11 2001 whether any of the Bush Administration advisors had read the novel. Anybody who had would have an idea of what to expect when they invaded Iraq.


At 7:12 AM, Blogger Nick Helmholdt said...

Very insightful. I just finished reading Dune and thought there was definately something very familiar there. It's strange too how Arrakis was exploited for the spice (melange) that was necessary for interstellar travel just as Iraq produces oil needed to power cars, trucks, planes, boats, etc.


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