Saturday, December 30, 2006

la mort d'un tyrant

Yeah, you probably know what I'm going to post about.

Unlike the apathy I feel about President Ford's passing, I feel something about Hussein's execution. I probably feel apathetic about Ford's because he left office when I was 6 months old and I have no memory of his leadership (yes, I have memory of Carter's). That, and the fact that the man has been in and out of the hospital on the brink of death for the last year, leaves me feeling a little more relieved for his own health. I do believe that death is a friend once you reach a certain level of sickness or elderliness. With Hussein, it's different.

I don't mourn his passing. He was a bloody tyrant, so I can't be sad that this human is off the planet. I am sad, though. What I mourn is the incompletion of justice. He still had at least one more trial coming. Why should the victims and surviving family members for whom that trial was to be held be denied the justice of a trial? Why should a trial be deliberately shoved aside like that? Even if he would've been found innocent at the second trial - which I sincerely doubt would've happened - he still would've been hanged for this one, so he'd be no less dead for his transgressions. (Though let's say that scenario had occurred: would the surviving families have felt justice was served by his death, even though he'd been found innocent at the second trial? Perhaps a topic for another post altogether: what is the nature of justice?) That Hussein was going to be executed was certain the moment he was discovered hiding in a pit three years ago. I trust though that Iraqis really wanted justice this time and not just revenge. Frankly, if his trial had been held in America, the case may be made that it was not a fair one, what with all the interruptions and lawyer shuffling. But it was probably far fairer than anything Iraqis had seen in a long damn time. I am sad because the second trial didn't go forward. I'm sad that those who'd weathered so much agony under his spiky fist didn't get to tell their stories in court.

Truthbeknown, I'm also sad because I really feel like he should've been tried at the Hague. He was a war criminal and a had committed crimes against humanity in between wars. If the West who started this current war and supposedly liberated Iraq (whatever the hell that means in their current mayhem) really wanted to hold him to the same standard as other war criminals, he should've been tried at the Hague. ... hmm. That reminds me: I was also sad when Milosevic died. Again, not because I doubt his guilt, but because his trial was never completed; human justice was never served. Though in his case, I gratified myself with the thought that "what goes around comes around." Kind of like with Kenneth Lay. ... yet another person for whom human justice was not carried through. He was found guilty, but it's my understanding that because he died before he went to jail, not only is he sort of expunged, his estate isn't subject to paying any recompense. (Which is barbecued bullshit in my opinion, but I should really read up on all the details of that kind of decision before I blow a gasket.) Maybe that's what irritates me most about Hussein's death: it came before full human justice was decided and if it had to be premature, it wasn't a case of karma taking him out.

I lost no one to his hand. Those who suffered under him are elated and for the relief they feel today, I am satisfied. I am not a fan of the death penalty but am overall generally ambivalent about it as a concept. If Saddam Hussein's death brings closure to a lot of people in Iraq, as proponents of the penalty claim it does (topic for another post, I'm sure), then I am glad for them. For those for whom his execution is justice denied, I am sad for them.

I guess the one good thing is this: An evil man is dead.

1 comment:

Sonnjea B said...

I agree with you about the bbq bs regarding Kenneth Lay. Just because the guy croaked, the guilty verdict is vacated??? What's up with that? So annoying.

And I also thought Saddam should've been tried at The Hague. I know he was evil and the outcome would've been the same, but this felt like a hurried-up, political deal rather than a serious tribunal.

Oh well. What's done is done, I guess.