I wrote about the hanging of Sadaam last month. In the intervening time I’ve reread that entry at least three times, contemplating whether or not I should edit or delete it. It reflects a certain callousness and insensitivity that I’m not proud of. But I’m going to leave it up since the point of the article was really to reveal this ugly little facet of my personality, which it does quite well. Instead, I just want to temper it with a few postscripts.
First, I oppose the death penalty. I’m not militant about it, though, since I don’t feel the fervent religious or moral abhorrence that so often goes along with this issue. Instead I merely regret the loss of an opportunity for us to grow spiritually. Killing something to avoid dealing with it solves nothing and, while I won’t go so far as to say it has a destructive effect on our social consciousness, I do believe that the struggle to find a more humane way of dealing with inhumane things is an ennobling one. It forces us to grow and evolve in profound ways, and to become a more accepting and enlightened society. The death penalty is, in effect, a moral blinder for humanity that we will need to remove at some point.
As for Sadaam and his countrymen’s decision to put him to death, I am so far away from being qualified to pass judgment on that it’s barely worth talking about. I will merely say that Iraq is a country divided. Sadaam’s crimes and subsequent execution are byproducts of the religious rift that is currently tearing Iraq apart. Criticizing past actions does nothing and wastes energy that should be spent on helping the two sides come together and find a common way forward.
One last comment: I don’t actually think the court clerk in Baghdad doesn’t know what a ski mask is (well, probably no more so than anywhere else in the world). ‘Apologies to anyone I may have offended.