Ok, so I decided yesterday to hunt down and watch the Saddam Hussein execution video. For anyone who has been living in a hole for the last week, Saddam was scheduled to be executed this weekend by way of hanging.
First of all, it is somewhat surprising that they decided to hang him. I guess I am just one of those anethetized Americans who forgets that in other parts of the world there are horribly appalling things happening on a daily basis. Please do not misunderstand that statement. I in no way think that Hussein deserved to live out the remainder of his life locked up behind bars, pulling the puppet strings of his minions from confinement. I agree with the judgement, I was just not prepared to see what I saw.
Moving on... The aparatus used to hang someone is something that I take for granted would have to be constructed for an occasion such as this. I, however, was very wrong. You see in the video this structure (and I did look online to see if I could find the proper name for this Hangman's apparatus, with no luck whatsoever.) A structure that has clearly been around for quite some time. There are years on the scaffolding that have probably seen hundreds if not thousands of men die in a noose. It is constructed indoors in balcony fashion so that the viewers may see the whole process from above or below. When the doors drop open, the spectators below witness the person drop down right in front of them. It's bizzare, and yet a reinforcement to the way less humane societies still operate.
Like I said, I was not prepared to see what I saw. Hussein refused to wear the hood traditionally used to cover the executionee's head. Was this pride? Was this an attempt to insure that the world would be positive that they received their justice? I don't know... but it certainly created the opportunity to make a more dramatic scene. I sat here knowing what I was about to witness, watching them pray and watching him, with his saccharine smirk preparing himself mentally for the last moment of his life. I am looking forward, in the insuing days, for the translation of the video to emerge so that we may know what is being said in his last moments. For the reality of the situation is, that he was mid-sentence when the executioners dropped the doors from beneath him. My stomach dropped at this same instant and my heart pounded for nearly an hour afterwards.
I do not know why this event rendered such a physical response in me. This man could easily be considered this era's "Hitler". It is said that he is responsible for over one million deaths in the Middle East, and that is not even including the countless hundreds of soldiers whose lives were lost in warfare with this man and his subservients. To watch him dangle on that rope, his head twisted in such a way that no person's head should ever be twisted from it's body, was indescribable. It was almost stoic the way the light came through the hatch, open from above, and shone on his lifeless face below. His experssion was that of almost satisfaction, and that alone infuriated me. There seemed no trace of fear, no trace of regret. I believe he felt a sense of honor in his death, and for that reason I believe the execution was a waste on him. He did not suffer like the people he tortured and killed. He did not die in worry for his loved ones like the people he tore from families, and from perfectly good lives. He died knowing that his legacy will live on, and that the rule by his horrible regime will forever be fused in the hearts of the world. It most certainly will not be an event that I will soon forget.
Some have told me it's "sick" to want to watch that. I searched and watched the Nick Berg beheading as well back in 2004. Maybe it is "sick" but I firmly believe that knowledge is power. And in order to be the most well-informed citizen, and most well-rounded individual, that I must see and hear and read as much as is accessible in all dimensions of society. My heart bled for Nick Berg, and I cried for the injustice and inhumanity done to he and his family. I suppose some part of me needed to know that Saddam was actually dead. Needed to know because I have been hearing about him and his vile ways my entire life. Maybe more importantly because there are people that I love who are involved and who have been involved in the wars overseas. Because, were it not for this man, there would be none of our loved ones over there in the first place, and there would not be such political unrest in our own society.
Hopefully this event can bring some peace to a world that has been darkened for far too long.