Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
There’s no Cal Ripkin, Jr. card, either, in the latest trading card set to hit the market. Instead, Terrorist Trading Cards tout the likes of Osama bin Laden, Yasir Arafat, Saddam Hussein and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s No. 2.
Bordered in funereal black, the cards picture the terrorist in question on the front and, on the reverse, list stats including height, weight and languages spoken. A précis of the terrorist’s career focuses on his American targets.
A commercial printer in the Chicago suburb of Addison, Ill., and three friends came up with the idea. At first, they joked about it. Then, the printer said, “I thought that this would be a nice way to put out some information that I’d like to see countering a lot of misinformation in the press about terrorists,” he told The Jewish Week.
The printer, who is Jewish, didn’t want his name published for fear that he could lose printing clients, or that someone might track him down and scare his family. His partners in the venture aren’t Jewish, he said.
They want to counter portrayals of Arafat as a friend of peace, and of Israel as the problem. “People blame Israel for Sept. 11 just because it’s there. That gets me very upset,” said the printer, who describes himself as politically liberal and a member of a Chicago-area Reform synagogue. The cards “won’t stop it completely, but let’s realize who the enemy really is,” he said.
Forty-two terrorists in his line have their own cards, as do “Heroes of Freedom” President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, and Colin Powell, the secretary of state. “Defenders of Freedom” cards show military air and sea craft. “Weapons of Terrorism” cards show the chemical structure of poisons such as Anthrax and Sarin.
These cards aren’t alone in the post-Sept. 11 trading card category: the Topps Company came under fire awhile back for including Yasir Arafat donating blood in its series of heroes cards. Ostensibly, the Palestinian Authority chairman was helping the U.S. recovery from the terrorist attack.
They are also not alone among the quirky: There are at least two different brands of Torah cards and rebbe cards are on the market, bearing Bible scenes and the visages of Judaism’s great sages.
The Terrorist Trading Cards are available only through www.terroristtradingcardcentral.com. A tinny rendition of “God Bless America” plays while you ponder your purchase. A pack of eight is $2.99, and the entire set of 80 can be had for $26.50.