I watched the news closely as it became clear that Saddam Hussein’s hanging was imminent. Charged for crimes against humanity and sentenced to death on one of the many allegations, he was hung on the 30th of December at the Khadamiyah intelligence centre in Baghdad at 6:00am. I woke up to see the Footage of Saddam, as he walked himself to the gallows, staring down the masked Men that surrounded him. This footage was then followed by clips of footage that portrayed Saddam at the pinnacle of his oppressive tyranny and the interviews of many Kurds celebrating his death, and a new beginning for Iraq.
It couldn’t have been further from the truth. There are no denying Saddam’s crimes and few will take the indefensible position of doing so. However, the situation in Iraq is one that deteriorates day by day, December now officially the worst month of the war since it began-the monthly death toll at its highest.
A minister from Saddam’s government appeared on Sky news within recent days and began his interview by stating that Saddam was a terrorist, but the current Prime Minister (Maliki) and cabinet that govern the country are no less than tyrants. “They are not politicians, they are businessmen getting rich on oil money” he said, as he was cut short by the Sky news correspondent. A figure known by few is that oil leaves the country at $ 18.00 a barrel to the United States and Britain, while international prices fluctuate in the sixties. Yet these statistics and others such as those about Iraqi casualties rarely hit our screens. Few know the real figure of Iraqi casualties since the war began, as numbers of Allied forces increase by the digit.
Many are criticizing the court for not following proper procedure in Saddam’s trial. The law states that in cases regarding capital punishment, a defendant may not be punished till he is trialed on all accounts. The trial was said to convict Saddam by the 27th of January. Yet it happened a month earlier, in what seems a hurried attempt to finish ‘unfinished business’ before the exit strategy is in place.
Libya announces 3 days of mourning, and a CNN middle-east analyst justifies the ‘lack of celebration’ or rather silence as a common norm amongst the Arab world. Another car bomb kills 30 in Kufa. Perhaps that’s why they are still quiet.
In this hour, watching footage of the man undoubtedly guilty of the deaths of over 180,000 Kurds I question if the world has ever so slightly progressed. France used a similar foreign strategy in the 1700’s, invading countries on account of ‘defending the homeland’ and establishing a republic so that the people of that country could enjoy the basic freedoms they deserved. Napoleon had the King of Spain executed at the steel scaffold like a common criminal in front of thousands, promising a brighter future to the people. The French soon had to leave Spain, just like the Americans and the Brits will soon leave Iraq. One questions that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for the Iraqi people, as the anarchy continues and the tyrant is executed a martyr on the holy day of Eid.
Extracts from Saddam’s hand written letter after being convicted of the death sentence:
“Here I offer myself in sacrifice. If God almighty wishes, it [my soul] will take me where he orders to be with the true martyrs, If my soul goes down this path [martyrdom] it will face God in serenity……..I call on you not to hate because hate… makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking. I also call on you not to hate the people of the other countries that attacked us.”
“Dear faithful people,” Saddam added, “I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any honest believer.”
Eman Niazi FY