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Baghdad Disneyland financier tells Iraqis: ‘I’m not here because I think you’re nice people.’

By Faiz Shakir on May 5, 2008 at 2:34 pm

"Baghdad Disneyland financier tells Iraqis: ‘I’m not here because I think you’re nice people.’"

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Llewellyn Werner, chairman of C3, a Los Angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the “Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience.” In pitching his Disneyland idea to a deputy Baghdad mayor, Werner – displaying little sense for Iraqi culture – said the waterpark is “integral to the sex appeal” of the new amusement center. Speaking in deliberately slow English, Werner told the Iraqis, “One of the fastest growing sports in the world is skate…boarding.” NPR’s Eric Westervelt reported:

After explaining skate…boarding, Werner tells the assembled Iraqi business and government men, “I’m a businessman. I’m not here because I think you’re nice people. I think there’s money to be made here.”

Listen here:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/05/nprbaghdaddisney.320.40.flv]

Update

The Mother Jones blog highlighted this quote from Werner: “I also have this wonderful sense that we’re doing the right thing – we’re going to employ thousands of Iraqis. But mostly everything here is for profit.”

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