Thursday, January 04, 2007


Saint Saddam: The apotheosis has begun

"I sacrifice myself. If God wills it, he will place me among the true men and martyrs," wrote Saddam Hussein in a letter reported by the BBC two days before his execution. And indeed a number of voices warned that the execution of Saddam would do nothing more than produce a martyr.

But the Bushies listen to nothing other than the voices in their heads. And of course, they couldn't even arrange for their surrogates to pull off a creditable execution, if such a thing exists. Now Saddam is being elevated to martyrdom with breathtaking speed around the world, whatever the view or near-term consequences may be in Iraq.

Here are some reactions:

Libya has announced that it will build a statue of Saddam. The country has canceled public celebrations of a religious holiday, is observing three days of mourning and is flying flags on government buildings at half mast.

Fawaz A. Gerges pens an analysis from Egypt

One had hoped that the new Iraq would be built on a more humane and democratic foundation than the old, but as we have seen in other key decisions, the Iraqi leadership and the Bush administration are oblivious to the broader legal, moral and political ramifications inherent in Saddam's execution.

By all standards, Saddam's sentence is widely seen as illegitimate, as his trial was neither fair nor impartial....

Ironically, Saddam was already politically dead and his bitter legacy disgraced. But now, his hanging, coupled with his defiance, has turned him into a "martyr" among Sunni Muslims worldwide, with leading religious authorities saying that Saddam was a freedom fighter defending his country against the American occupation.

And that was ABCNews!

We learn the Palestinian reaction from Michael Widlanski, writing in the extreme right-wing FrontPageMagazine

In a bizarre and rare display of unity, Palestinians of all political stripes saluted Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi dictator, while strongly condemning those who carried out his execution.

“Saddam Hussein has entered history as a symbol of state nationalism [wattaniyya] and Pan-Arab nationalism [qawmiyya]…who helped the Palestinian revolution,” asserted a communiqué issued by the Fatah movement of PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. The Fatah statement was read on official Palestinian radio and TV.

This is a blow against all that is Arab and all that is Muslim,” declared VOP [Voice of Palestine]....

Even the regularly scheduled Fatah celebrations of its own anniversary were overtaken by crowd salutes to the dead Iraqi dictator.

“By blood and by spirit, we will redeem you O Palestine,” chanted Palestinian crowds holding aloft pictures of Saddam, as they paraded in the rain-swept main square in Gaza Sunday evening.

In Tunisia,

Hundreds demonstrated on Tuesday here against the execution of Saddam Hussein, as labour union leaders here charged Britain and the United States with responsibility for an act they said would worsen the situation in Iraq.

The demonstrators assembled outside Tunisia's labour union headquarters carried Saddam portraits, chanted "Martyr!" and denounced the United States as murderers.

Perhaps the most amazing reaction comes out of India from the Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena normally berates the Indian government for not slaughtering enough Muslims!

Lashing out at the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Shiv Sena has termed it as an act of “martyrdom”. “Saddam’s execution is evidence of USA’s arrogance ... it is a parody of justice,” an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna said.

Criticising US President George Bush, the editorial said if Saddam was held guilty for massacre of Shias in 1982, the US president was hundred times more “guilty” for the death of lakhs of Iraqis in the last few years. “Saddam was a fighter and he died like a fighter. He died a martyr’s death for his country,” it said.

If anyone tried to write a novel of international intrigue positing this level of ineptness by a major power, no editor could possibly accept it as credible. Yet this is the surreality in which we live.

Related post
Shushing Saddam (1/1/07)


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