Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saddam: The Execution Scene

As I predicted a year and a half ago, Saddam was executed because of the relatively minor case of Al-Dujail. I was against Saddam’s execution for two major reasons: The first is that I am against capital punishment in general whether it was against a former gangster like Tookie Williams or a prisoner of war and a former dictator like Saddam, and the second is that I have always believed that the only people who have the right to change Saddam’s political regime and interrogate him are Iraqis, not illegal foreign occupiers.

The way that Saddam was executed added some more points to my argument. I would have never guessed that Saddam would be killed on the morning of Eid (the equivalent of Easter for Christians in terms of religious importance), and I would have never expected that it would be carried out by sectarian militiamen. On a day when Muslims are supposed to sacrifice a lamb in honor of God’s mercy, Saddam’s unprofessional executioners made him look like a sacrificed victim of vengeance.

There are two videos showing the execution scene: the official one (which is the one that hit the news some 6 hours after the execution took place), and another more graphic one that was “leaked” to the media.


The second video can be found here. It shows Saddam’s last minutes and it doesn’t stop where the official one does. It shows Saddam with the noose around his neck standing for some seconds while a group of men chant Shia slogans and others praise Muqtada al-Sadr and Muhammad Baqer Al-Sadr (the godfather of PM Al-Maliki’s Al-Dawa Party). Then it shows someone cussing and shouting “go to hell”, then Saddam falling while saying the sentence every Muslim has to say before death: “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”. In fact, he wasn’t even given the chance to complete his sentence.

The execution scene shows some militiamen in civilian outfits covering their faces, either with black face masks or by T.V. digital blurring, holding and moving Saddam who refused, while handcuffed and shackled, to cover his face. The execution scene did not at all resemble a State execution; rather, it looked like a chaotic sectarian act of revenge interrupted by shrieking militiamen who received him from the U.S. forces less than 30 minutes before killing him.

Saddam was given the chance to look like the calm and brave leader who didn’t fear death, and who claimed to love and defend Iraq and the Islamic nation until the last second. At the same time, his executers, hiding their faces, demonstrated themselves as vengeful thugs supported by the occupation and representing only their political party and sects.

It takes a lot of stupidity to lose moral authority to a former dictator with a noose around his neck. It takes a lot of stupidity to turn Saddam's execution to an event dividing Iraqis furthermore instead of uniting them. It takes a lot to turn Saddam from a former dictator to a symbol of resistance and pride. I can go as far as comparing this to how much stupidity and hard work John Kerry put into losing the elections to an inept president like Bush.