Altoonia Barnacle reporting from Damascus, special to MNS. Photographer, Ogden Orffe
Munir Malfoof, seen here in this post-mortem, is now a part of the Jalisco Medical School’s cadaver collection.  He only cost $38.50. But that was a year ago.  
It’s a banner year for Syria’s burgeoning cadaver industry.  With the Syrian conflict in full swing and the Syrian Arab Army culling substantial populations of Free Syrian Army deserters (see above photo), Jabhat Al-Nusra fanatics and an assortment of foreign spies, the market for anatomy class specimens is in a state of glut.  “We have too many bodies to use for our classes”, says Dr. Jawad Baboor, Head of Anatomy and Physiology at Tishreen University.  “We have tried to siphon some off to veterinary classes, but, it’s just too much.  The Libyans and Saudis have been perfect for animal physiology studies.”
And so it is.  The Minister of Economic Recovery, Dr. Basil Al-Jadiy, echoed the words of Dr. Baboor but insists that the world market is booming with demand for Syria’s excellent selection.  “We have a vast array of specimens, thanks to our army, security and militia.  We have already sent over 15,000 carcasses to medical and veterinary schools around the world.  We expect demand to increase especially in China and India.  We are exploring markets in the West, too.”  
One of the biggest demands from customers is “freshness”.  As internationally renowned personality and Cast Iron Chef, Ephemeral LeGassy, says:  “It’s like road kill.  You gotta make sure it’s fresh before you start usin’ it”.
The Syrian government has initiated a new classification program similar to France’s “Appellation Controlee” in which the Syrian Health Ministry certifies carcasses as freshly collected, properly frozen and rigorously maintained.  Dr. Al-Jadiy tells us that all new carcasses collected after June 1, 2013 will have a stamp on the hip indicating date of collection, place and name of carcass (when available).  But most importantly, there will be an indication of time of death, time of “cryonization” and an initial indicating the name of the person who supervised the process. “It is our Good Housekeeping stamp of approval”, he said proudly.
“We expect to earn over 13 billion dollars this year from these dead terrorists”. Or so says Dr. Al-Jadiy.
“If the war continues, those countries which sent them over may wind up buying them back from us!  Of course, we keep the weapons.”   
Other Syrians with a more entrepreneurial bent may have different ideas.  We spoke to Chef Abdul-Majeed Al-Qunbali of the Syrian-Epicurean Society about other uses for the carcasses.  Sitting in his kitchen in one of Damascus’ many bistros sipping on juice and coffee, we discussed new ideas for marketing.
Chef Al-Qunbali demonstrates his affection for all kinds of protein for the “21st Century Menu”.
“The French lead the way in this new field of omni-protein nutrition” says the Chef.  “We are going to provide them with the material they need to develop new tastes in Paris.  We are working with them to find ways around their overly-strict dietary and health laws.  We just sent them 150 fresh cadavers to Marseilles by boat and the results are fabulous.”  We asked how so many could have been collected.  “Oh, they have these agents in Lebanon who keep sending the herds across the border straight into our army’s positions.  Well, you know, we then come around and collect the carcasses as a patriotic obligation.  No operation ever takes place from Lebanon without us knowing about it.”  He smiled sardonically as he uttered the following:  “We tell the army, of course.  It makes business easier that way.”

Not wanting to delve too deeply into this new business in Damascus, we contacted Monsieur Anthro Pophage of the Lyons-based Syrian-French Friendship Society to ask about the new techniques for “protein diversification”.  Gesturing broadly with an imp’s smile, Mr. Pophage quickly prepared a delicious en brochette lunch for us.   

Al-Haadi Bel-Khraaya, a Tunisian, provides the delicious entree for our lunch with Monsieur Pophage.
“Do you see?  This has so much potential!”,  as he feasted on Mr. Bel-Khraaya’s thigh cut into small medallions and skewered with vegetables.  “Merci, a l’armee de la Syrie!”  When I asked him if he had a preference for country of origin, he was quick to respond.  “Oh, the Tunisian is the very best.  Algerians are rare and would just upset us.”

Mr. Al-Jadiy also has new ideas in mind if the culinary side of production doesn’t take off everywhere.  “We have found that there are societies which accept fertilizer of every kind.  We have experimented with tomato plants and found them most tasty.  The carcasses of Saudi Arabians resemble cow manure more than any other.”   

In a Ministry of Agriculture publicity photo, this pile of Saudi manure used to be Abdullah Bin Hubayl Al-Ghamidi ‘Aali Khurayyaan Afandi
But Minister Al-Jadiy thinks the Syrian mercantile world can do even better with the plethora of carcasses now decorating Syria’s countryside.  “Have you ever thought of taxidermy?”, he asked insistently.  “It’s the new way to go.  We can now provide superb trophies and Halloween toys.  There’s never been anything like it.”


A dead Ali Abu-Kasool of Saudi Arabia was given new life by a brilliant Aleppan taxidermist.  Here he is seen in his new incarnation as “Hermie” giving comfort to a grieving widow.  “Why, it’s just like having Herman around again,” said Mrs. Winnifred Mandible of Newcastle, U.K.

And so the evolution of new ideas continues to burst from the Syrian business mind.  We will keep you informed as to any new developments including some interesting research by the Hormel Corporation regarding a reworking of it SPAM product. 

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