Are Arabs Desperate for Leaders with Pride?
THE EXECUTION of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein on Dec. 30 is being decried by many, with some objecting to him being killed on the first day of the Eid Al-Adha holiday, and others saying that he should have been executed when Iraq was no longer under US occupation.
I, too, think that the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government rushed to execute Saddam on the first day of Eid as some sort of grisly present to all of the Iraqis who suffered so greatly under that man, especially the Shiites. Indeed it was tacky and vulgar: I watched the scenes of the noose being placed around Saddam’s neck on Iraqi TV while loud, happy Eid music was played over the creepy scenes of the execution. I also later watched the longer mobile phone video of Saddam’s death (on the Google video website) that actually showed him plunging through the trap door and to a snapped neck that killed him instantly.
I would have preferred that Saddam had been executed after Eid, so as not to upset the feelings of Muslims who had just completed the Haj in Makkah.
We cannot forget what a horrible monster Saddam was, responsible for the deaths of millions of his own citizens (remember the gassed Kurds in 1988?) and Iranians. He was hardly human, killing even his daughters’ husbands when they dared oppose him, and despite this was treated with exceptional dignity by the Americans who guarded him during his incarceration. The world is a better place without Saddam.
In an interview with the young Saudi preacher Ahmad Mazin Al-Shugeiri that I did for the New York Times story “Images of Hanging Make Hussein a Martyr to Many”, which appeared today, he said that: “The Arab world has been devoid of pride for a long time. The way Saddam acted in court and just before he was executed, with dignity and no fear, struck a chord with Arabs who are desperate for their own leaders to have pride too.”
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