Turn on your TV now. If you are in Britain ITV is the right station to watch – never mind missing Bob The Builder on BBC2 – just do it, OK? You have just missed the sight of a Baghdad citizen in traditional Arab dress hitching up his robe to make a universally comprehensible pelvic gesture towards a picture of Saddam Hussein, said picture held up by another guy who has just finished whacking it with his shoe – oops, no, he hasn’t finished, more whacking left to do. They don’t think he’s coming back.
I gather the minders didn’t turn up at the press hotel today; like the rest of the Iraqi state apparatus they have melted away. Now the whole of Baghdad looks like the world’s worst organised car boot sale. Horns honking, people smiling, waving, jumping, shouting and looting every official building in the city. I just saw a lady carrying off a vase almost bigger than she is. Chairs seem to be popular, as do tyres. One practical-minded lad has gone for a large bottle of olive oil. Heavens, is nothing sacred? One reporter said that the mob had nicked all the UN vehicles and were driving them around.
I tell you, it’s anarchy out there!
Only – ahem- not our sort of anarchy. I am a minarchist most of the time, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays I am an anarchist, and I am a little bit worried about our good name. I can certainly cheer on the guys who have doused a mural of Saddam with petrol and set it alight; deconstructive art, I call it. Nor do I begrudge most of the looters their spontaneous redistribution of the ruling kleptocracy’s wealth back to the people. But it’s not all innocent fun: reports speak of shops being cleaned out as well as palaces, and that will be hard for those whose wealth and lives were tied up in those shops. Expect also to see the pent-up anger of the people bursting out into mob violence which will harm the innocent as well as the guilty.
When a drug addict undergoes the “cold turkey” cure, he will sometimes go into convulsions. This is the anarchy of cold turkey.