An Open Letter to the American People

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Rufus T. Deby, President of the Republic, Head of State, President
of the Council of Ministers, and Grand Poobah of Chad

It is true that
never before has it been the case that the candidates for President
of the US paid such attention to our country, especially as they
are now doing in the great state of Florida. All the talk on the
news is about Chad this, Chad that, pregnant Chads, one-legged Chads,
swinging Chads – you know, I saw about a dozen or so Chads
swinging outside my window just today. Now is the time that Chad
must seize to make its case to the people of America – as one
of our ancient proverbs says, you never get a second chance to make
a good first impression.

Because of this
unique opportunity, we are hiring the PR firm of Hill
and Knowlton
to create a brand name for ChadTM within
the confines of your great country. As our spokesperson, we have
hired the inimitable Chad
, who has been a dependable if low-key presence in movies
and TV, what with his thick head of hair and mod athleticism. He
will be most ably assisted in his efforts by two of my favorite
singers, Chad
and Chad Lamarsh.
These gentlemen, as we like to say in Chad, can play both kinds
of music… Country and Western! Ah, to be out on the lonesome range,
the dulcet tones of Chad Brock echoing from my Walkman…

But never mind
all that. Working closely with Mr. Mahamat Nouri, my Minister of
Human Organ Exports, Mr. Bassomnda Ndikibrulngar, Minister of Consonants,
and the rest of my cabinet, we have been devising plans to make
Chad a tourist Mecca. That is an example of our people’s joyous
sense of humor, because, you see, we are Moslems, and, well, Mecca…
But it is not for me to be the one to labor a point. Anyway, it
is our hope that, in respect to the acquisition of a newly burgeoning
tourist industry, that we can become the Mongolia of central Africa.

Also, I’m really
hoping that our new-found prominence will prompt that very tall
and blonde lady with those legs like the endless desert sky, who
is she… oh, yes, perhaps Ms. Anne Coulter will come to our country
to interview me, and maybe perform the dance of one thousand veils.
I guarantee her eventual safe return to the US.

Those stories
you may have read about our country, about the practice of arbatachar,
where we tie the victim’s arms tied behind his back for torture
employing a granny knot of a particularly nasty complexity taking
many hours to untie, or stories of prisoners being forced to wear
hospital johnnies that don’t close in back, of beatings with processed
meats, and of endless days of being subjected to heavy sarcasm…
these stories are all the most insubstantial of fantasies.

What is more,
tourists no longer need have fear of any rebel groups. The Armed
Forces Front for the Chad Republic, the Chad National Front, the
Renewed National Front of Chad, the Chad Front for Democracy, the
Dissident Chadian Front, the Chad Lesbian and Gay Alliance Front,
or the Chad Front Against Drunk Driving – all of these movements
have been brought into the democratic process of our nation, and
now realize that their interests are fully represented in the person
of the President.

Previous tourist
efforts were largely unsuccessful, due to the corrupt and inefficient
nature of my predecessors, who are now, thankfully, rotting in my
prisons. The Chad ice festival was a complete and miserable failure.
Our bid for the Winter Olympics was summarily rejected when IOC
officials discovered that we have neither mountains nor snow. Speaking
of which, I would very much like to meet this Miss Tonya Harding.
Now she has what you Americans call spunk – she would know
how to deal with her rivals in the harem, without whining to the
President about her petty grievances.

But it is the
future of tourism in Chad which is shining as brightly as the desert
sun. Chad is rapidly entering the modern world. For instance, in
our efforts to fully electrify Chad, we are now running the world’s
longest extension cord from the Aswan Dam to our capital of Fort-Lamy.
When this project is completed, sometime next year, we will be holding
The Chad Film Festival, featuring screenings of all 4 versions of
Beau Geste.
Other events are in the planning stages, including a major Star
Trek Convention and an episode of The Antique Road Show.
And of course we will preserve traditional favorites, such as the
famous “Hanging Gardens of Chad,” just outside the Ministry of Justice.
Also, we have this thing left by the French, which we are sure you
will enjoy:

(If anyone can
give us any tips on what this is or does, we would be especially
grateful to them in perpetuity.)

However, in
our efforts to modernize, we will neither lose sight of nor mar
the natural beauty of our land. Our breathtaking Lake Chad is surrounded
by many miles of lovely, sandy beach. In fact, the beach stretches
from the shore of Lake Chad all of the way to our country’s borders
in every direction. (You know, if Ms. Coulter is not available,
then perhaps your Ms. Paula Zahn would be as kind as to come and
interview me.)

During these
recent events of your presidential election, I have seen the pictures
of your older citizens in West Palm Beach wearing the thick sweaters,
and can see that the Florida environment is too chilled for their
elderly constitutions. Here is a group who would love a vacation
in Chad during their harsh Florida winter. I can reassure them that,
here in our land, one can fry an egg on the sidewalk… if, of course,
one can locate an egg or a sidewalk! Ha, that is simply more of
our joyous sense of humor – of course, we have several sidewalks
and dozens of eggs in our country!

Oh, and a final
note to the lovely, blonde Mrs. Tipper Gore: If your husband turns
out to be the loser, it may be that you would like to meet someone
who knows how to establish his rule over a country. And I’m sure
you would enjoy playing drums at our annual Dung Beetle Festival:

Rufus T. “Do Not Call Me Debbie!” Deby

21, 2000

Callahan is a regular contributor to,
and Stu Morgenstern is contributing editor at The
Frumious Bandersnatch.

2000, Stu Morgenstern
and Gene Callahan

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