Badlands Unlimited/DESTE

Paperback, 5.5 x 8 in. / 144 pgs / 10 color / 7 bw.

Pub Date
Out of stock indefinitely

D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2012 p. 57   

ISBN 9781936440320 TRADE
List Price: $15.00 CDN $21.50

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Preview our Mid-Winter 2022 catalog, featuring new books on art, photography, design, architecture, film, music and visual culture.



On Democracy by Saddam Hussein

Edited by Paul Chan, Karen Marta. Essays by Negar Azimi, Nickolas Calabrese, Jeff Severns Guntzel. Artworks by Paul Chan.

On Democracy by Saddam HusseinIn 2003, after returning from a monthlong stay in Baghdad, American artist Paul Chan was given a gift from a colleague in the human-rights group Voices of the Wilderness: a copy of three speeches on democracy written by Saddam Hussein in the 1970s, before he became president of Iraq. The speeches, compiled here for the first time in English, are politically perverse, yet eerily familiar. The then vice president of Iraq characterizes social democracy as demanding authority, and defines free will as the patriotic duty to uphold the good of the state. This volume takes the speeches as an opportunity to ask what democracy means from the standpoint of a notorious political figure who was anything but democratic, and to reflect on how promises of freedom and security can mask the reality of repressive regimes. With drawings by Paul Chan, including a new suite in its entirety, and essays by Bidounís Negar Azimi, philosopher and artist Nickolas Calabrese and journalist Jeff Severns Guntzel, this book is the inaugural copublication of the Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art and Chanís own Badlands Unlimited.

Featured image, a 2006 charcoal drawing by Paul Chan, is reproduced from On Democracy by Saddam Hussein.

On Democracy by Saddam Hussein

STATUS: Out of stock indefinitely.

"...Discipline teaches us how to appreciate the value and importance of time. It teaches us how to respect a senior and to be kind toward a junior. Discipline also teaches a pupil why, how, and for what purpose anything is used, whether at school, at home, or in the street. All this is part of national education. Discipline teaches him how to sit in the classroom and at the table, not to leave the table before his parents, not to start eating before his parents, etc. This is part of making him an orderly person. We should get the student used to obeying discipline because there are important educational, psychological, and national aspects to that. For this reason and other well-known considerations, we find the student who is used to working under the elaborate obligations of order, when necessary, stands still in the sun with his gun night and day. And when he is called upon to confront an imperialist or hostile force in this hot region he is ready to do it because since childhood he has been used to orderly work and its numerous details, which build up and toughen his patience. If further work details within new contexts crop up he will not be annoyed by them, nor by military life and war, because an image of it has become part of his life and his general upbringing ever since he was a student or a schoolchild..."

Excerpt is from Saddam Hussein's 1977 speech to the Council of Planning, "Democracy: A Source of Strength for the Individual and Society."