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The Mad King


As I think about Ali Khamenei, Iran’s “Supreme Leader,” locked in his palace, surrounded by a handful of trusted people, and driven to spasms of rage by the sardonic chant of “Allahu Akbar” every night from the rooftops of Tehran, I am reminded of a play I was involved in many years ago. It’s called Escurial, by Michel de Ghelderod, and revolves around Phillip II of Spain. The King is going mad, his wife is dying, and the dogs are barking, and he keeps screaming “kill the dogs!” 

Khamenei is also screaming “kill the dogs,” but the dogs in this case are his own people, and the dying person is not his wife, but himself. In the end, the mad King of “Escurial” kills his most trusted adviser . . . and if I were in Khamenei’s kitchen cabinet I’d take it to heart.