Sunday, November 05, 2006

Head and Heart

Rhetorical Questions:
Did anyone think Saddam would be found innocent?
Did anyone think Saddam would receive anything other than the death penalty?

Take a look at the image below:

Composite 4 panel image of demonstrations for and against Saddam's death

Key to the graphic (going clockwise):

  1. Policemen celebrate the news of the death sentence.
  2. Iraqi Shi'ites celebrate the news of the death sentence. The posters are of Muqtada al-Sadr and his father who was murdered at Saddam's orders
  3. Sadr city residents celebrate the news of the death sentence.
  4. Tikrit residents protest the news of the death sentence.

There's really not much I can, or indeed should, say here. While I know and love Iraq, I'm not Iraqi, it's not my place to tell Iraqis what to do. The people of Iraq have suffered, are suffering, and will continue to suffer, far too much because meddling foreigners, chiefly the United States, want to dictate what they do and say in their own country. So I'll confine myself to saying what I believe:

Saddam is a bad man. In fact he is genuinely evil. His hands are dripping with Iraqi blood. If ever there were a man who deserves death Saddam deserves it. I wish I could be there to watch as the noose is put around his neck and he is slowly hoisted into the air. I want to watch him die, and I know having seen similar hangings, that it is a slow and painful way to die. I want him to die slowly and painfully for all the evil he has wrought. I want him to die slowly and painfully for all the pain and despair he brought to friends whom I love. That's what my heart tells me.

My head and my conscience tell me something different. First as a Catholic it is an article of my faith that the death penalty is always wrong. That it arrogates unto man something that is properly left to God. I have always believed that. Secondly even a monster like Saddam Hussein is entitled to a fair trial. He didn't get one. There's no doubt what the verdict of a fair trial would have been. There's no excuse for his actions and there's no excuse for not giving him a fair trial. The measure of how civilised a country's legal system is, is the extent to which it protects everyone accused of a crime. The strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the monsters and the benevolent. This trial was a show trial organised by and for the occupation. It was not organised to benefit the Iraqi people and it will not benefit them.

I do not and cannot condemn any Iraqi celebrating today. Were I an Iraqi, had I or my people suffered as the people of Iraq have suffered under this man of blood I too would be celebrating.

But I would still be wrong to do so. God put us here to celebrate life not to celebrate death.

markfromireland

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