A ventriloquist and his dummy, Achmed, possibly foresaw Monday’s accident, which killed a suicide bombing instructor. In a bizarre incident of life copying art, the instructor blew himself up along with twenty-one of his students. The accident happened in the Sunni region of Iraq, north of Baghdad. The instructor and his students were part of a militant group formerly tied to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
For many Iraqis, the incident brings a brief relief to the years of violence and killing they have experienced. Last year, nearly 9,000 people were killed and 1,000 Iraqis died in January from suicide bombers. Suicide bombers routinely target events with large numbers of people such as markets, mosques, funerals and sporting events.
Raad Hashim, a liquor store owner in Baghdad, initially burst out laughing when he was told the news. Calling the inept suicide bombing life instead of death to Iraqis, Hashim said the 22 who died could have gone on to kill hundreds of people.
According to sources within the Iraqi government, the terrorists were grouped around the instructor as he was demonstrating how to make car bombs and explosive belts. One of the belts malfunctioned killing 22 and wounding 15.
The instructor was not identified by name, but an Iraqi Army officer told reporters that he was known as a recruiter of militants who was finally able to kill the “bad guys.” Iraqi security forces combed the area after hearing the explosion and 23 survivors were arrested.
Investigators found seven car bombs, and an assortment of explosive belts and roadside bombs at the compound. The camp, located in an orchard 60 miles north of Baghdad, had been a training ground for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The extremist group had already been disowned by Al Qaeda because of its random killing of Muslims.
Jeff Dunham, 52, is an American ventriloquist who has appeared on numerous television shows in the US. Dunham was introduced to ventriloquism at age eight when his parents gave him a Mortimer Snerd dummy for Christmas. Being an only child, Dunham enjoyed being alone and having the opportunity to explore his own thoughts and ideas.
Dunham graduated high school in 1980 and set a ten year goal of getting to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson who was seen at the time as the “holy grail” for comedians. Dunham’s goal was reached on April 6, 1990 when he was a guest alongside Bob Hope.
One of Dunham’s most popular “sidekicks” is Achmed, The Dead Terrorist.
Achmed, The Dead Terrorist
Achmed, the skeletal corpse of an incompetent suicide bomber, is a tool of Dunham’s in satirizing the issue of terrorism. Achmed first appeared in Spark of Insanity, and has been featured in every Dunham television special since. When Dunham asks Achmed how he died, Achmed explains his incompetence with explosives. Achmed says that he and Dunham have something in common as they both suffer from “premature detonation.” The comedy routine, first aired in 2007, is making some wonder if Achmed foresaw the suicide bombing which killed the Iraqi instructor.
Some critics have accused Dunham’s characters of being bigoted caricatures. A commercial in which Achmed and Dunham were to appear was banned after a complaint was received saying the advertisement was disrespectful to Muslims. Dunham said, “Achmed makes it clear in my act that he is not Muslim.”
Achmed may not be a Muslim, but he could qualify as a clairvoyant in that he possibly foresaw the suicide bombing which killed the explosives instructor. In the mean time, school is out.
By Jerry Nelson