Out of curiosity, why is Saddam Hussein the only world leader who is routinely referred to in the mainstream press by his first name alone, rather than last? Saddam this, Saddam that. Nobody refers to our prez as “George” except when being diminutive. Oh. Just answered my own question.

9 Replies to “Saddam”

  1. Dang, you’re right. So the theory needs to be amended to “Why do we always refer to fascist leaders of small countries by their first name?,” to which the answer is still, “It’s a subtle form of diminution.”

  2. Hussein is not a surname. Saddam banished them. His own (al-Tikriti) is shared by the entire “mafia family” with which he rules the country.

    I’m waiting for the Sopranos version of this. Why hasn’t Saturday Night Live done the Saddam-o’s yet?

  3. I think this started with the previous President Bush, and if I understood what I read on this a while ago right, it’s a very subtle game he was playing with the name. With the accent on the second syllable, as Saddam pronounces it, Saddam means something like savior, or victor or something like that. With the accent on the first syllable, as Bush senior pronounced it, it means little boy, and also becomes a homonym for sodom, and all that that entails.

    Love him or hate him, Bush Sr. was a sharp cookie.

  4. Keep in mind that there is another national leader in the Mideast (King Hussein of Jordan) so part of it may be to reduce confusion.

  5. Saddam is also how most English speaking Arab newspapers refers to hime. It’s his given name, whereas Hussein is his father’s given name. He’s like Madonna; it’s just Saddam.

  6. Do you know that the actual name ‘SADDAM’ means destroyer?

    Hence his objective!!


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