"It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive. All the organs of his body were working – bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming – all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned – reasoned even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone – one mind less, one world less."
-George Orwell, A Hanging
I did not have any interest in watching what was essentially a "snuff" film of the execution of Saddam Hussein, but after days of avoiding the video, curiosity overwhelmed my revulsion to the man and the "punishment" that the Iraqi judiciary had decided was just.
For the record, in case anyone cares, I have no particular affinity for the "Butcher of Baghdad" and although I am against capital punishment, I understand the desire of the Iraqi people to want to put an end to the former regime’s most obvious and apparent figure.
But, when I watched the grainy, low tech killing of another human being, I was struck in the same emotional place that I was when I watched the killing of Nick Berg and read about the butchering of Theo Van Gogh. Another person is dead. The memories remain. The killing will continue. The violence continues with no visible end in sight and no apparent plan to end it.
So there it was, Saddam the Sunni at the gallows, with some semblance of dignity I might add, offering an Islamic prayer as he was being taunted by Shiites loyal to warlord Muqtada Al-Sadar. And to add grotesque injury to the human sacrifice was the timing of it all.
For Sunni Muslims the time of Saddam’s execution was during the Eid ul-Adha holiday, an act that was clearly carried out by the Shiites to make a point to the Sunni minority that they were no longer running the show (the Shiites began their celebration of Eid the day after Saddam’s execution.)
Now, anyone who knows me is quite aware of my rather low opinion of organized religion, however, this kind of naked insult and explicit act of humiliation should offend anyone, regardless of their theological disposition.
Just the same as it should when a children in a Mosque are blown to bits as they come to pray during Friday worship, or when the Taliban blew apart the ancient statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Such examples are limitless...
These kinds of acts do nothing but exacerbate the precarious state of humanity in the Islamic world and is something that we as American’s should be ashamed that our elected officials and self-appointed bureaucrats would give their nod of acceptance to. But these are the times we are living in.
And, so there it was in my inbox, an "advertisement" if you will of an audio recording of Mumia’s take on the execution.
I listened to it, but really didn’t have to. I knew what he would say, I knew what facts he would omit, I knew that he would place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the United States for "arming" Saddam in the first place.
But, as we who bother with things like facts have figured out, there is the real world and than there is "Mumia-world". Periodically this two worlds collide, but usually not. Mumia, with his myopic and distorted vision of the world, tempered by his unabashed hatred of America make his creed-screeds as predictable as they are boring.
I could go into a long rebuttal of much of Jamal’s "facts", but am of the view that those who bother with things like the truth have already discarded his pitiable defense of Hussein and that those who worship at the feet of Jamal already have their heads down and eyes closed in a kind of smug obeisance to their "leader".
Oblivious to facts, reason, or the sense of irony of a man who shot another man in the back and than in the head having the audacity to criticize the killing of a dictator who oversaw the destruction of thousands of civilians and soldiers alike, the "free Mumia" soldiers march blindly and proudly along.
What is also striking to me is also Jamal’s looseness with the facts. Which western nation was truly responsible for the arming of Hussein? Look it up folks, it is France. The same nation which now honors cop-killer, Jamal with honorary citizenship, and street names, was the primary western state supplier of weapons to Iraq. Of course Jamal left that inconvenient part out of his venomous tirade.
No reason to shit where you sleep I suppose, or rather shit on the country whose citizens send obscene amounts of money to aid in your defense. It is far easier for Jamal to blame America for all that is wrong in Iraq and everywhere else in the world, than for him to offer a more balanced and truthful accounting of the disaster in the middle east.
Easy for him, because there is almost no chance that like Hussein, Jamal will ever see an executioner. Since the 1970's when the death penalty was reinstated only three executions have been carried out. And they were done after the men had abandoned their appeals.
So, unless Jamal gives up his legal blitzkrieg, one can expect more commentaries to be made available on the public airwaves produced by a man who murdered a public servant.
This is truly sadism as offered by a masochist. When will it stop and more importantly who can stop it?
I am very much for freedom of speech. I think Mumia should be free to talk in his little cell all he wants, but when it comes to him going on the public airwaves to preach his gospel of factually deficient excoriations of the nation that feeds, clothes him, allows him some semblance of a life after he stole the life of another. A nation that gives him a seemingly endless amount of reviews of his case in which he is clearly guilty, I think a line ought to be drawn.