The last words of Saddam Hussein

When the news about the execution of Saddam Hussein broke out, I felt strange. I have no doubt that he was a tyrant who did not hesitate to exterminate his political opponents. But hanging him in front of a handful of audience (who later passed on the recording of the hanging) confuses me. ‘Revenge’ i think is the only word that can aptly describe the moment in which the executioners exchanged vicious words with Saddam Hussein. Certainly, the execution will only reinforce the circle of violence in Iraq.

What is more important to me is that the execution has made it impossible to uncover all of Saddam Hussein’s political crimes, which at various points were supported by the international community, including us in Indonesia. What I mean by ‘supporting his crime’ includes ‘being silent’ on what he did. Two examples: we were silent when Saddam Hussein executed the Kurds, and we did nothing when he waged a war against Iran in the 1980s.

I suspect that we turned a blind eye to what happened to the Kurds because we were the stern supporters of state sovereignty. Just like Saddam Hussein who had to deal with the separatist Kurds, we in Indonesia have (had) to deal with the ‘problems’ in East Timor, Aceh and Papua. Just ask ourselves what many of us thought of the Acehnese who joined the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), the Papuans in the Free Papua Organization (OPM), or of the East Timorese who joined the pro-independence movement. I guess Stephen Krasner was very right to choose the title “Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy” for his famous book.

We viewed Iran as a Shiite state. In the 1990s many in Indonesia scorned Shiite followers in some cities, particularly in Jakarta and Bandung, denying their religious rights to exist. Yet, we cheered Ahmadinejad, the current president of Iran, when he visited our country a few months ago. It just presents a good example that in fact we always choose something that suits our interest (or mood?).

Oddly enough, in his last moment, Saddam Hussein managed to turn the image of his being a secular opportunist tyrant into a martyr through some Platonic words. Below is the last words of Saddam Hussein taken from The Guardian*:

By several accounts, Saddam was calm but scornful of his captors, engaging in a give-and-take with the crowd gathered to watch him die and insisting he was Iraq’s savior, not its tyrant and scourge.

“He said we are going to heaven and our enemies will rot in hell and he also called for forgiveness and love among Iraqis but also stressed that the Iraqis should fight the Americans and the Persians,” Munir Haddad, an appeals court judge who witnessed the hanging, told the British Broadcasting Corp.

Another witness, national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie, told The New York Times that one of the guards shouted at Saddam: “You have destroyed us. You have killed us. You have made us live in destitution.”

“I have saved you from destitution and misery and destroyed your enemies, the Persian and Americans,” Saddam responded, al-Rubaie told the Times.

“God damn you,” the guard said.

“God damn you,” responded Saddam.

New video, first broadcast by Al-Jazeera satellite television early Sunday, had sound of someone in the group praising the founder of the Shiite Dawa Party, who was executed in 1980 along with his sister by Saddam.

Saddam appeared to smile at those taunting him from below the gallows. He said they were not showing manhood.

Then Saddam began reciting the “Shahada,” a Muslim prayer that says there is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger, according to an unabridged copy of the same tape, apparently shot with a camera phone and posted on a Web site.

Saddam made it to midway through his second recitation of the verse. His last word was Muhammad.

The floor dropped out of the gallows.

“The tyrant has fallen,” someone in the group of onlookers shouted. The video showed a close-up of Saddam’s face as he swung from the rope.

Then came another voice: “Let him swing for three minutes.”

* I got the link from http://raincoaster.wordpress.com

8 Tanggapan to “The last words of Saddam Hussein”

  1. Budi Says:

    My friends told me about the execution this afternoon. I surprised at the time. It was too fast I think, especially if we compare it with other dictators (some people say Saddam was a dictator), such as Pinochet. Indonesia has not settled the big case related to the former president, Suharto, who is called dictator by some people as well. I don’t know much about Saddam, but what makes me apreciating him is his belief in doing what he has done. It just reminds me to Hasan Al Banna and some sufis. For them, there is nothing compared to God’s love to be reached after they passed away.

  2. pitoyoadhi Says:

    saya tidak setuju hukuman mati, siapapun dia, alasannya saya tulis di posting saya

  3. bleu Says:

    I guess the Iraqis were just being pragmatic in deciding to hang Saddam as early as they did. They probably have seen what has happened in other countries as they were trying to uncover their former presidents’ political crimes. It just didn’t work. Often, the trials prevented these countries to move forward.

    The Iraqis might have created the decision tree too: (1) hang immediately, or (2) put up further investigations. I believe both branches would be full of violence and human-bombs. Perhaps they’d chosen the lesser of two evils.

  4. philips vermonte Says:

    thanks sudah pada mampir di blog ini. I did not intend to go into the right-or-wrong type of debate on the the capital punishment (it is entirely the government of Iraq’s decision). I was only confused by the way the hanging was carried out. One thing is clear: Iraq is a mess. Every decision will likely be turning out wrong.

    btw, bleu. Is it ‘bule’ PL?…:-)

  5. Pixie Says:

    i think… Saddam deserved to die by rotting to death himself. i don’t necessarily believe in the death penalty, but it shows our country hasn’t changed much. why not let them suffer, for all those they made suffer? instead, we have a handful of an audience to watch him die an easy fast painless death, then celebrate it? we’ve accomplished nothing. but further hatred and violence. thats all i have to say…

  6. arul Says:

    Allahuakbar

  7. puteri Says:

    as memang jahat,bush dan konco2nya yang sepatutnya dihukum gantung

  8. Ali Says:

    I always believe there r 2 types of peoples, 1 who run run and atlast catch by death and the other one who themself accept death, welcome death. Saddam was one of them. No metter he has done sins, but he is ALLAH who decides for him……not us

    And the execution video , Allah Akbar, he was calm, brave and stud firm. just emagine you have rope across ur neck. This is the holy spirt that Allah provided him at that time.

    What a brave death, what else he want…. …. …. ….. ….

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