Saturday, May 27, 2006

Genghis Rock

When I was little, my aunt used to tell me the savage stories of Changiz Khan -- the Mongol leader who tore through Asia and into Iran, tilting chidren's heads back and cutting out their tongues with his sword. He didn't just kill, she would tell it, but would brutalize -- women, children, pet dogs and goats -- anything in his way. I would imagine him at his bloody task, perhaps even incapable of stopping himself since, as I supposed, his fingernails were long, sharp claws like the chang in his name so says (chang is Persian for 'claw'). Of course Iranians would pass down such tales of this warrior -- whether his brutality is true or not, there is no doubt that he ravaged Iran in his path of domination and the conquered rarely look favorably upon the conqueror.

For the Mongols, however, Changiz (or the English spelling, Genghis) was a hero, a God (there exists a cult in Mongolia that worships him) -- the greatest Mongol ever to have lived. So naturally, like another Asian god, Freddie Mercury, a rock opera has been made in his honor. "He was a good husband, a good son, and a good friend and I wanted to show him that way," says one of the makers of this opera. Hmmm...I don't know about the rest, but if by "good husband" you mean a man who slept with so many women that today, according to a scientific study, 1 of every 200 men in the world can trace their genetic material back to him -- then, well, I guess the Mongolians have different standards for their menfolk.

Nonetheless, if you happen to be in Mongolia in the near future, it sounds worth a peek, if only to bask in the moshpit of a man who knew how to use his weapon. Ahem...