Sick to My Stomach

hangmans-noose.jpgLike many of you, I couldn’t avoid images of Saddam’s hanging blasting out at me from every corner of the web this past week. The top posts on most blogs invariably advertised the most “uncensored” version of the now infamous cell phone footage of the Hussein execution. Not a proud week to be a blogger…

Apart from the sheer barbarism of this film being shared so happily across the world and into our computers, I can’t help but be sickened by everything that this event represents. It was put very aptly by John Simpson, the World Affairs editor of the BBC, reporting from Iraq:

Altogether, the execution as we now see it is shown to be an ugly, degrading business, which is more reminiscent of a public hanging in the 18th century than a considered act of 21st century official justice. Under Saddam Hussein, prisoners were regularly taunted and mistreated in their last hours. The most disturbing thing about the new video of Saddam’s execution is that is all much too reminiscent of what used to happen here.

Yes, Saddam was evil incarnate in so many ways, and few could reasonably deny that the world is better off without him. But his botched show trial and rushed execution (in the words of Iraq’s Shi’ite Prime Minister, “an Eid gift to the Iraqi people”) was primal, tribal justice pure and simple. Shame on us all for even being involved in this morass of sectarian vengeance.

On Purim, we will joyfully celebrate the downfall of Haman, another horrible tyrant who met a similarly ignoble fate on the gallows. But the beauty of this holiday is that it comes as one brief moment of absurdist catharsis. Purim is the day we allow our deepest darkest revenge fantasies to hold sway – largely so that they cannot hold their grip upon us during the rest of the year.  In Iraq, alas, we have all been sucked into a Purim-style nightmare from which there is no discernable end in sight.

Adar has come early this year. Be very afraid…

3 thoughts on “Sick to My Stomach

  1. debbie schlossberg

    at least here in nj today our legislature received a recommendation by a state-appointed panel to cease all capital punishment!

  2. karen libman

    my stomach is hurting too. i believe this and all state sanctioned killing is barbaric. two wrongs still don’t make a right.


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