BIL RUH, BIL DAM

I’ve been wanting to know for some time exactly what those Iraqi crowds were chanting in the days of Saddam (remember back then?); all I could make out was dam ‘blood’ (and of course “Saddam”). Then I went here and found, among much else worth your attention, this:

“bil rooh, bil daam nafdeek ya saddam” – we will sacrifice our soul and blood for saddam.

Which is a roundabout way of saying: Salam Pax is back. I’m much relieved, and catching up on recent Baghdad life. (Thanks for the link to Graham at MetaFilter.)


Interestingly, the saying goes back at least to 1967, though then it exalted an earlier pair of Arab leaders; from this reminiscence of Jerusalem:

The June 1967 War started when I was eleven. The days preceding it were filled with wild rejoicing. Many people took to the streets, overjoyed by the moves of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s president, which included ordering the United Nations Emergency Forces to withdraw from the Sinai and closing the Straits of Tiran, and King Hussein’s signing of a defense pact with Nasser. They shouted: “‘Ashaa Hussein wa Nasser” (“Long Live Hussein and Nasser”), “Bil ruh bil dam nafdikuma ya Nasser wa Hussein” (“We sacrifice our spirit and blood for you, Nasser and Hussein”)…

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