Monday, January 15, 2007

Saddam vs. Squatters

In the Guardian I read about Saddam’s deserted villa in the French Riviera. It’s an eight-bedroom secluded mansion near Cannes, now "ransacked and ruined":

"Inside and out, the stone walls are covered with graffiti, windows have been wrenched off their hinges and the terraced gardens, complete with 8-metre (25ft) swimming pool, are crumbling under years of weeds and neglect.

"Signs of wealth have been replaced by the detritus of squatters: filthy mattresses, rusting cookers and empty beer bottles. Only a long since quaffed bottle of Château Lafite champagne, a carton of Johnnie Walker limited edition whisky and a dusty pile of Arabic magazines, one containing a photo of Saddam, testify to more opulent days.

"A neighbour said: It’s a great pity to see such a lovely place just left to go to ruin. … you can’t miss what the squatters and vandals have done to the place. But I’m not sure whether I’d prefer having Saddam and family living there or squatters”.

No doubt, it’s a tough call. Imagine you have a $ 3 million villa in the Cote d’Azur. Who would you pick as your neighbour? On the one hand you have people who don’t pay rent, live in this exclusive location for free, and in adittion, paint on the walls and leave beer cans on the floor. On the other hand you have a dictator who murdered hundreds of thousands of people, but has sports cars, millions of dollars in his swiss bank account, and most importantly, keeps the villa clean and does not use spray cans. That’s what I call a real dillema.

No comments: