After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Saddam at the Iraqi Blogodrome

Goodbye Iraq's butcher;
may you never grow in our dreams.
You were the farce that placed itself
where lives were torn apart.
You called out to our country,
and you tormented those already in pain.
Now you belong to hell,
and in shame we spell out your name.
And even though we try,
the truth brings us to tears;
all our words cannot express
the nightmares you brought us through the years.
Goodbye Iraq's butcher,
from a country lost with or without you,
we won't miss your iron fist
not that you ever cared.

Poem by ihath

Iraqi bloggers all reacted immediately to the announcement of the death penalty for former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The responses are as varied as there are bloggers but I see out of these one common thread comes through. That there is a sense of some relief that one painful chapter of Iraqi history has passed even though some do not see an end to the current one.

If you read no other posts read these:

Hala_s gives her support to the execution verdict and roundly criticizes those who complain about the trial.
So what! This is what he deserves. A theatrical court! Again so what isn’t it better than no court at all?

A lot are worried about the injustice the trial reflected.

A simple Iraqi man had the best answer and said on TV, “Those who think of it this way have never been ruled by a dictator and simply have no idea what dictatorship means”.

...Hasn’t anyone thought of how important it is to recognise the real cause of our conflict and who was behind it in the first place?
Let us forget about his crimes, who brought the Americans over?
If we don’t learn from the past there would be no future for us.

The western media iwas even worse, “Shia and Kurds are celebrating and Sunnis are lamenting!” How come I don’t meet with those Sunnis?

The British tried to stir up strife between Shia and Sunni from 1917 to 1958 and failed. The Iraqis natural and impulsive unity and love for each other wouldn’t allow it. While after nearly 50 years it took them few months to cause this uproar.

Who do you think is responsible for turning us to a fertile land for this?

Chikitia gives the essential history of what it was like having grown up in Saddam's Iraq. From early childhood where she was taught in school to love Saddam through to the slow build up of anger as she became aware of all the injustice around her:
I grew angrier when I learned that the Kuwait gimmick proved to be a green-eyed monster in disguise. I grew angrier when my high school chum told me how bitter it felt to be fatherless, knowing that her dad was actually alive and kicking in Iranian dungeons, paying the price for a reckless kid's passion for adventure. I grew angrier when a friend of mine told me that she was once married to a communist whose body was found in a mass grave in Nasiriya...
Chikitita called that friend after the verdict was announced, expecting her to be happy, but:
She was in tears.

"Get outta here don't tell me you feel bad?" I teased ...

"Well I do! My neighbour lost her sons. The militia killed the four of them and wrote Wahabis on their door! I've known them for 30 years, for God's sake!" she said.

"So not feeling good about the verdict, eh?" I asked.

"He killed my husband, but I have never been as scared for my son as I am now," she said."
Riverbend expected the verdict but she wonders what is left for America to do:
I’m more than a little worried. This is Bush’s final card. The elections came and went and a group of extremists and thieves were put into power (no, no- I meant in Baghdad, not Washington). The constitution which seems to have drowned in the river of Iraqi blood since its elections has been forgotten. ... Reconstruction is an aspiration from another lifetime ... Things must be deteriorating beyond imagination if Bush needs to use the ‘Execute the Dictator’ card. ...

It’s not about the man- presidents come and go, governments come and go. It’s the frustration of feeling like the whole country and every single Iraqi inside and outside of Iraq is at the mercy of American politics. It is the rage of feeling like a mere chess piece to be moved back and forth at will. It is the aggravation of having a government so blind and uncaring about their peoples needs that they don’t even feel like it’s necessary to go through the motions or put up an act. And it's the deaths. The thousands of dead and dying, with Bush sitting there smirking and lying about progress and winning in a country where every single Iraqi outside of the Green Zone is losing.

Opinions from around the blogodrome

Iraq the Model sees the verdict as a step towards democracy:
This is the beginning to build the foundations for the state of law and accountability we're fighting to establish, and the verdict we expect to come tomorrow will ... send a strong message to some of the current mini-Saddam's of Iraq who will also have their own days someday.

I'm speaking about the leaders who try to hinder the process of building the nation of pluralism and rule of law; those are just as criminal as Saddam and even if we bore with them so far for one reason or another this patience will not last indefinitely.

We had waited for thirty years to see Saddam in the cage and we will wait again to see the rest of criminals meet the same just fate.

Hammorabi agrees: "this is not going to bring back the beloved ones that he killed to their families but at least it will sooth their long-lasting inflamed wounds and above all it will help to prevent similar things to happen not only in Iraq but elsewhere. The sentence of Saddam is a step forward for the end of a dark period on the life of Iraq and the world. This may give more hope for the Iraqis and stability in the region."

Asterism (that's me) smells irony. I commented that with Saddam executed the Baathist opposition in Iraq will be defeated. And now, after failing to defeat the Mehdi Army militarily and through pressure on the Iraqi government, "America has handed the Mehdi Army the defeat of its biggest internal opposition in Iraq on a plate."

Nibras Kazimi also sees the end of the Baathists and the insurgency:
From the very beginning, the Ba’athist strategy in launching the insurgency was to re-instate Saddam Hussein. ... And all this energy expended in cunning, propaganda, guerrilla warfare and bringing the country to a sectarian boil was for one crazy goal: bringing back Saddam. ... Today, we learn that the insurgency is doomed, and that the insurgents know that they are facing doom. And today, they have come to recognize doom in whatever length of rope is necessary to hang a man—indeed, to hang an era.

Marshmallow26 has a sense of hope from the verdict. She writes, "It is true that the history will remark this event as the end to all those black days in Iraq’s History correlated to the long stretch of 35-year time… But hopefully it will recover and heal up all wounds of our nation, and makes it to stand up on its feet again and show to the whole world of what a united cites subjected to one country we are, and what a great people Iraqis are…"

Ishtar interviews two Iraqis who both lost family to Saddam. The first a Sunni from Tikrit whose father was killed by Saddam for plotting his assasination:
He went on to say but after the topple of Saddam and the instalment of a new government who claims to be in opposition of Saddam, we thought our family would be rewarded as it had sustained a big damage because of my father, in the contrary, my eldest brother house was cordoned by the vehicle of the ministry of Interior and its men ... kidnapped my brother who is 36 yr and after 24 hour we found his body dumped in the trash.

Since that time, I with my family and his family are moving from one place to another in fear of death squads, and you want me to be happy?!!!

The other was an old man who lost his only son for being a member of the Shia Dawa party:
He said, “ I began to envy the people who were considered as martyrs in time of Saddam, at least, he used to grant them permanent salary, car and piece of land and a salary for their parents, what did Dawa party give me for my son? only car bombs and IEDS.

Raed Jarrar looks at the American hand behind the verdict:
The bankrupt bush administration seems to be planning ... to announce saddam’s death verdict ... in a pathetic attempt to manufacture a small victory in Iraq to effect the mid-term elections. After 16 years of wars, sanctions, invasions and an ongoing occupation, the only victories that the bush gang is still celebrating in Iraq, after capture of the former ally and showing him in his underwear, is executing him now.

At the same time that millions of Iraqis were and are still being killed, injured, and displaced because of the U.S. interventions, at the same time that the Iraqi social fabric is being destroyed and turned into fragments, at the same time that Iraq as a state is being “wiped off the map” and cut apart, at the same time that everyday in Iraq is worse than the day before, and at the same time that tens of thousand of U.S. solders are being killed, injured, and traumatized for the rest of their lives and trillions of the U.S. taxpayers money wasted, the one and only victory that the bush administration can claim is hanging the former dictator.

Zeyad, however, thinks the timing is unrelated to the US mid-term elections but takes issue with Americans who see the verdict as a sign of progress in Iraq:
Take a look at the celebrating Iraqis on the streets: whose posters are they carrying? This is not as much a celebration of the death of Saddam as much as it’s a celebration of the birth of new tyrants and warlords. The tide has turned forever. The new victors in Iraq are the followers of Sadr and Hakim, and as the Ba’athists and Sunni insurgents and jihadists become more localised and irrelevant, the next conflict will be between those two. The way I see it now, the breakup of Iraqi is inevitable. It is already a fact on the ground and there will be nothing but bloodshed in the near future. Is that a milestone for Iraq?

Neurotic Wife does not want Saddam dead. She says: "He got away, way too easy... Way way too easy... With just a pull of a rope, he will be gone, but the mothers, the orphans, the fathers, the sons, everyone, everyone who lost their dear and beloved will never forget him nor forgive him...Never... To suffer in a tiny cubicle of a cell, with no toilet, no clean water, no good food is what he was supposed to get...Exactly like what he used to give...To say I want him tortured is an understatement. No International Court of Law will allow what I have in my mind for that criminal...Hanging him is a great great pity..."

The last word goes to Shalash al-Iraqi as translated by Zeyad:
I have extremely conflicting emotions, as if I’m standing in a huge rubbish dump, and they want me to smell old rubbish. I’ve forgotten Saddam’s crimes when faced with the atrocities of brutal crimes we experience today. I am choking with death and they want me to remember the deaths of my grandfathers. ...

We do not want the enemies of national unity to exploit this event by killing our people in the name of revenge for Saddam Hussein, when they are far from being his supporters, or for others to dance with joy for the sentence, when they are liars. Because there is nothing we have gained from his fall except death, death and death, and fear, fear and fear.

I do not deny that Saddam was a dictator. Show me one person in the Green Zone who is democratic, even on TV.

I do not deny that Saddam was brutal, terrifying and mystifying. Are the brothers in the Green Zone angels of mercy?

Saddam used to appoint his relatives and party members. Do you want me to bang on my head?

Saddam stole the people’s riches. Do you want me to tear off my clothes?

Saddam was a traitor. Do you want me to hurl myself on the floor?

Saddam was sectarian. No. I have to laugh at this one. ...

We came out of Saddam’s night, but we fell into a well, when will we come out?

And Finally...

Konfused Kid reviews the trial as one would review a movie...

Asked about his performance on the trial, Saddam Hussein said that he could've done a lot better and that his performance sounded robotic and uneven, no where near his accolade-earning performances in earlier seasons, while we all respect the great multiple-award winning figure for his fiery and inspirational performances...


While the script was predictable to a great degree, the writers did an especially nice job by some neat touches here and there, there was an ingenious scene where Saddam Hussein, upon hearing his death sentence, shouted: "Allahu Akbar", and a watcher above also said the exact same words - except Saddam said it in protest of the court's injustice while the wather applauded that court's integrity....such an ironic and fascinating display...


The director does an absoluetly brilliant job as always, the visuals are slick and Saddam's make-up is absolutely spot-on, every camera captures a sublte nuance and the special effects are downright spectacular. Brilliant.

and ... cut!


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