Wednesday, April 26

Depressed insurgent wants to rediscover joy
in blowing things up.

Baghdad, IRAQ — (AP)Two years ago, veteran insurgent Aswan Zhirie couldn't wait to get off of his worn sleeping mat and set roadside bombs. Today, the sullen Sunni can barely muster up enough energy to get out of his cave.

“Allah as my witness, I used to love the whole process,” Zhirie said without emotion. “I would obsess over picking out the perfect bomb, then spend all morning tweaking the detonator so that even the slightest movement would set it off. Now, I just sit in my cave and take the occasional pot shot or throw a rock. I'm bored.”

Fellow insurgents Rzam Attahla and Babel Hamalaman are worried about their friend and have made numerous attempts to bring him out of his funk. “I don't know what's with this guy … nobody had more fun hiding bombs than Aswan…after arming them, his eyes would bug out and he would flick his tongue like a serpent,” Attahla said. “Yesterday, he slept through an ambush.”

Zhirie is determined to do whatever it takes to recapture his love of explosives, even if it means subjecting himself to Tamzalakahallaham, the ancient Sunni ritual of rebirth in which a man shaves off his beard and eats all the clippings.
“In my culture, you don't just pop a Zoloft and everything gets better, " Zhirie said flatly. “We are judged by three things: our devotion to Allah, our hatred of the West, and the fullness of our beards. By eating my beard, I symbolically return to a pre-pubescent version of myself … back to a time when anything was possible. If this ritual works like it's supposed to, I should be back to my old explosion-loving self by the time my beard grows back. Allah willing, of course.”