Monday, January 08, 2007

Dictators, Despots and Death

As most people know, Saddam Hussein was executed on the 30 December 2006. The amount of dictators in the world had been shortened by one.

Strangely enough I felt no satisfaction. The reason why I say that it felt strange that I felt no satisfaction is that men like Saddam Hussein are to an extent the mortal enemies of the philosophy that I live by.

He was a despot who ruled through fear and terror. In short men like him, abuse the very spirit and goal of governance in the most horrendous way imaginable. He was a war monger, instigating two entirely unnecessary invasions of neighbouring countries (Iran and Kuwait) and conducted brutal authoritarian crackdowns including using poison gas on those opposed to his rule. He had torture rooms and death squads and was setting up his sons to follow in his place.

So why do I find no joy in his death. A couple of reasons;

1) I cannot feel joy over the extinguishing of the life of any human, be they ever so vile.

2) His trial was not what I would consider to a fair one. His lawyers were assassinated and intimated, the judge was changed, he was not allowed to question the validity of the evidence submitted against him.

3) He was never even tried for the most heinous of his crimes.

4) His appeal was dismissed rather quickly.

5) His death was not in the cause of justice but of revenge. And as a signal to the Iraqi Sunnis with regard to their planned fate by the Shia government.

To me reason number 3 is particularly significant. He was found guilty of and executed for the death of 148 people and the illegal arrest of 399 others. In 1982. If that is the standard for which dictators can be removed from office through invasion why is Robert Mugabe still lording it up over the unfortunate citizens of Zimbabwe?

What of his use of poison gas on his own citizens, what of the mass murders. Will those crimes never see the inside of a courtroom? Will the evidence never be brought into the light.

Considering the sources from which he acquired the means to those weapons it is not surprising. As the joke goes, How did the Americans know Saddam had WMD? Easy they checked their receipts.

Oddly enough, this crime against humanity was not even enough to make the Americans avoid meeting him face to face. For example, there is a famous photograph, dated 1983, in which Donald Rumsfeld smiling shakes hands with an equally smiling Saddam. For those of you not in the know, Dear Old Donald was until recently the “Secretary of Defence” of the USA. In short, his job was to get his old associate Saddam.

And of course, the way in which Saddam was executed, by members of the very death squads that are so ravaging Iraq at the moment is also more than a little off putting. To put it into a South African context. Disclaimer I know this a rather simple contextualisation but it is sadly the best I can do.

Imagine Russia had invaded South Africa in the 1980’s. They ended apartheid and deposed the government of PW Botha. The figures which they then establish to rule the country would be the PAC. The PAC would act true to their nature. E.g. lots of dead white people. And then on 16 December they hang PW Botha, while chanting “Kill the boer, kill the farmer!”

So while I celebrate that there is only less despot in the world, their remains at least 40-50, and some of them are the best friends of the Americans. Oh what a world.

Daily Tally
Weight = 100kg
M = 1

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