02 January 2007

Saddam Hussein is dead

Yet for all purposes, this momentous occasion cannot be commemorated with the appropriate satisfaction of justice being done, or that through his death, Iraq's many sectarian divides have been healed. In short, no justice, no truth, and no reconciliation came out of the meaningless exercise of state terror on the morning of 30 December 2006.

Make no mistake: his execution was barbaric and degrading - mass murderers are afforded far more dignity in their final moments than this. Why were his executioners wearing SKI MASKS?? And why were they chanting a Shia prayer when he was clearly a Sunni Muslim? Charles I, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were allowed to finish their final prayers before their heads rolled - Saddam's gallows were dropped when he was in mid-sentence of the Muslim final prayer, much like how Alexandra Fyodronvna was shot before she could complete the sign of the cross in the basement of Ipatiev House. You could say that no one deserves to die like this.

IraqSlogger points out the symbolic significance of why the execution was carried out on this very day - it seems to be a direct insult to the Sunnis by the Shia government. It's quite a valid point, but I fear that's missing the point - the circumstances of Saddam's death has many uncomfortable parallels to those of a major historical and religious figure.

1. He was executed on the eve of a most important religious holiday

Most people in the capital would have retired to their home villages for celebrations and religious observances. The closure of the capital and the slow confirmation of the news (civil servants of course on holiday) would have prevented mass protests and uprisings.

2. He was degraded by his guards prior to his execution

3. After his initial capture, the burning question was who should be charged with putting him on trial?

Various authorities were mooted - the US civilian court, a US army court martial, an International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague, or by an Iraqi court.

4. He was eventually handed over to the jurisdiction of a petty administrator installed by the occupying superpower

5. During his appearance at the trial, he bore the marks of being beaten in custody

Judging from the remarks on BBC's phone in programme last night, it also appears that most Shia muslims from Iraq were blase enough to effectively say "If you think this is unjust, so be it! Let the blood be on our hands!"

Now, if it turns out that Saddam's grave turns out to be empty in the coming days, we would have literally killed the Messiah AGAIN.

In more serious news, Juan Cole points out that Saddam Hussein received much assistance from the CIA and the US government from his beginnings as a CIA operative to even after Operation Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait.

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