Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Does Saddam Deserve to be Hanged? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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With the announcement of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s guilty verdict, sentencing him to death by hanging, the absent Arab conscience suddenly came to life in fervent defense; some proclaiming the illegitimacy of the court, while others declared that the trial had always been a theatrical play from the start and that it was simply a matter of politics. Others were saying, “sentence him to a life in prison and let history be the judge”, and we began to hear legal terminology – our region continues to suffer from the absence of this law – such as what is ‘legitimate’ and what is ‘illegitimate’.

Saddam Hussein deserves to be executed, whether by hanging or firing squad for his 30 years of rule – if one were to calculate – unto the Iraqi reality that he left behind after he fled. We would find that the country is a hundred years behind the times; with its oil, water and the minds of its children, as compared to other countries that have been born out of the desert womb thousands of years after Iraq, and yet, they served their citizens and built from scratch.

Saddam deserves to be executed for every Iraqi Dinar spent to buy the conscience of politicians and the media and for spreading the corruption that was ‘institutionalized’ during his rule. For all the crates of whiskey, cigars and cars, bank accounts – even the oil coupons – and all the money that has been squandered in waste when it should have gone to the Iraqi people. He deserves to be executed for every bullet fired in his miserable regime and for every tear that belonged to anyone who was tortured, whatever the type and degree of torment – and how can you even begin to gauge that! He deserves to be executed for not sparing the sons of Iraq from numerous wars and for not sparing Iraq the indignity and shame of the American occupation by leaving to preserve the country’s history that was grander and more precious that his own pride. This is the man who fled the battleground in search of a rock for shelter, the same man who used to condemn anyone who abandons the battleground by cutting off their ears and tattooing them with the word ‘coward’.

Saddam deserves to be executed as an idea, not only because the death of injustice comes with his own, but because his execution is the execution of a long line of writers, intellectuals and politicians who were dishonest witnesses and accomplices. They are the ones who welcome and support him only for their hatred of the West who is the ‘enemy’ no matter what the tyrants do to the sons of their own nation.

There is no gloating; this is not a vengeful retaliation but a call for justice that Saddam obliterated by spreading oppression among the people of Iraq. Those who had been led into oppression deserve to rejoice after his departure the same way they deserve to mourn a just leader. There is message in Saddam’s execution and a grave warning to oppressors who continue to live in peace despite their hands being sullied with innocent blood, their people still downtrodden and oppressed. His execution sends out the message that, “Death comes to the murderer, even if it is delayed”.