FC: Eurekistan, a "pious playground" for Taliban fighters (satire)

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Nov 12 2001 - 10:07:03 PST

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    A Playground for the War-Weary
    12 Nov 2001
    By Mad Cow Culture (madcowcultureat_private)
    Eurekistan will not become the 194th member of the United Nations.
    The country, folded into the northeastern neck of Afghanistan and Pakistan,
    has a higher GDP than Somalia, a better literacy rate than Finland, and
    more hotel rooms than Breezewood, Pennsylvania.
    That is apparently not enough for the United Nations, which said Eurekistan
    lacked a number of assets civilized nations need. These include: a standing
    army, a degree of racial, religious and ethnic unrest, and a profitable
    trade in arms exports.
    Eurekistan's Prime Minister Mohammed Smith, a former manager of client
    services for Euro Disney, counters that "we are interested in building a
    nation that does not need guns and ethnic unrest to fuel the economy."
    He believes, to his dismay, that Muslim member countries of the UN General
    Assembly joined together to block Eurekistan's request for admission. ""I
    think my brothers do not fully understand the Charter of my country which
    is dedicated to peace, joy, and wholesome family entertainment. There is
    nothing un-Islamic about our business practices. We encourage family
    members to come here on a kind of pilgrimage of fantasy."
    Despite Smith's proclamations, Eurekistan is as much a business as a
    country. The genesis for the idea came from Saudi Prince Abdullah, who thought
    the war-ravaged region would be well-served by a version of Euro-Disney
    that would be acceptable to fundamentalist Muslims. The Prince suggested
    the idea to Disney which quietly provided technology and sophisticated
    animation software to get the business off the ground. The Prince, who
    provided the investment capital, saw Eurekistan as a kind of Orlando for
    war-weary families, freedom fighters and terrorists who wanted to get away
    from the front lines.
    Prince Abdullah purchased a rock-strewn plain, about the size of Monaco,
    from the Taliban who were short on revenue because poppy production was
    down. The Prince then built a theme park, thousands of hotel rooms, dozens
    of mosques, and a scattering of paradise oases for dignified lounging.
    The rides are very sedate and proper, reflecting various scenes from the
    Scriptures including "A Ride with Noah," "A Walk through the Red Sea," and
    "A Trek Up Sinai." After each ride visitors relax in tree lined settings
    which include rivers of honey and maidens who serve fresh fruit.
    Smith argues that the theme park and accommodations are consistent with
    Muslim piety and decorum. He suggests his brethren lighten up and be more
    sensitive to people's needs in the here and now.
    "I want to remind my people of their rich and complex ancestry," he told
    the Pakistan Gazette, an English language daily. "We invented the number
    system. The word "algebra" is of Arabic origin. Islamic thinker and
    philosophers contributed to the flowering of Western and Eastern cultures.
    So we have been firmly anchored in the sensate world. But we have been
    taken down a dark corridor"
    "I want to remind my brethren that we are also the product of Rumi, the
    mystic poet, and a Muslim. Eight hundred years ago Rumi celebrated the
    ecstatic body and wisdom that exists beyond religions."
    But Mohammed Smith appears to be a realist and plans to make adjustments at
    the Eurekistan Islamic Theme Park. "I get complaints from fundamentalists
    is that this park is too airy, bright, and joyful; that it doesn't reflect
    the dark and forbidding side of the culture. The Taliban even suggested
    that only night-time joy rides should be acceptable."
    To satisfy his various constituencies Smith plans to add a Hell Pavilion
    where visitors can actually torture condemned unbelievers played by very
    responsive dummies. Children will be encouraged to take part in this
    Smith will also add a Shooting range where visitors can shoot, bomb, or
    bazooka an enemy of choice. The clamor is for American targets, but he is
    trying to resist the call. "After all," he notes, "I also expect Muslim
    Americans to visit our country."
    Ironically, once he made his intentions clear, UN General Assembly members
    have signaled that Eurekistan might be favorably received as a new member.
    But this will have to wait until the UN completes its session on Fighting
    Apparently Saudi support made all the difference. Prince Abdullah denies
    saying that the war in Afghanistan will be good for business.
    This article written by Mad Cow Culture (madcowcultureat_private).
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