Saturday, December 30, 2006

Side Show

Ali Al Massedy, who videoed Saddam’s hanging, said, “I saw fear. He was afraid.”

Do you see it?
Yes. Of course. It’s not terror, not dread. Fear is exactly what it is. And yes, fool that I am, I do feel compassion.

He is numb. He is fighting to contain his bowels. He is aware of the air passing through his nostrils. His testicals have drawn up into his body. The corners of his mouth pull down. Time is slow, but there is so little of it. The rope of the noose scrapes his ear as it passes over his head -- it is rough, and it roars like the end of the world.

The platform gives out under him.

He dies instantly. His body twitches.

When the execution was over and the witnesses had returned to the Green Zone, they were met with cheers. Massedy stated, "All Iraqis will be happy from the north to the south to the east to the west."

They have a right to rejoice. It means something to them. Saddam was responsible for the deaths of one and a half million people. Every Iraqi will have known someone who was raped or tortured or killed. Compassion for Saddam would be taken by them as a profound moral corruption. Ding dong, the witch is dead. But the east has many witches.

He was clutching a Koran. You can’t see that. Its comfort can only have been emotional. There was no spiritual relief. We know this because of his final words. "He was saying things about injustice, about resistance, about how these guys are terrorists."

A blustering fool, then. A bitter old man stupid with indignation. On December 13, 2003, when he was pulled out of the pit he was hiding in, the first thing he told his captors was: "I am Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq and I am willing to negotiate." Yesterday in the looming presence of the gallows he said: “Iraq without me is nothing.” Perhaps those were his last words. The reality was that Saddam, without Iraq, was nothing.

He died an unrepentant fool, too possessed by arrogance and narcissism to meet death with even a shred of real dignity. He had only the dignity of contained fear.



ELAshley said...

I understand the feeling of compassion. I felt it somewhat myself. Mostly I felt sorrow that Saddam chose to spend his final 8 weeks studying the Qur'an, a book in which is no salvation found.

Happy New Year

Jack H said...

Yeah. The fantasy is that someone would have come to him in the long night and spoken words of truth and mercy. It cannot have happened. Instead, we hear that one of the hangmen cursed Saddam on the scaffold, and Saddam cursed him back in return. Character is destiny.

May this new year bring you fresh blessing.



Anonymous said...

While Saddam deserved to die, it is clear from the manner of his execution that we have handed the government of Iraq over to a bunch of Shiite thugs. Do we really want to "train" any more of these terrorists?

Jack H said...

The blunt question is, "Aren't all Shiites thugs?" The subtle phrasing would involve an acknowledgement that theirs is a different culture. We cannot say, by any reasonable standard, that the execution was rushed. He died exactly three years and two weeks after he was caught. If there is corruption involved here, it would be that of our own culture, that so languorously pursues justice, in cases of so-very-clear guilt.

The pictures are sobering. Well they should be. His crimes were beyond description, though. I will not recite the testimony. Enough to reference meat-grinders. In dealing out justice here, how could we expect it not to seem brutal? Maybe a silk rope? Maybe a carpeted gallows? That fat ugly brutal men put the noose on his neck is only what can be expected. All the fairy princesses must have been otherwise engaged.

The only complaint can be that it seemed sudden. A little thought will dispel that illusion.


Anonymous said...

Here is a very sobering thought. I too feel sorry for Saddam, but IF, I repeat, IF, if Saddam Hussein at some point in his younger years prayed to our Creator God and asked God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to forgive his sins and to make him a born again Christian, THEN he would have been born into God's family and he would be a "Child of God" for all eternity. Jesus says that we MUST be "born again" to enter into Heaven. If Saddam Hussein became born again into God's family, then today he is in Heaven with Almighty God.

My dear readers, if God has offered His only begotten Jesus to you as God's Gift of eternal life in Heaven, and IF you have rejected this Gift of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you have committed the 'Unpardonable Sin' that God talks about in the Bible. Then God says you must burn in hell forever. That's what God says, and it is my understanding that God makes the rules on this issue. You and I don't make the rules on how to get to Heaven. It's all laid out in God's Word, the Bible. IF all the above IFs have come to pass, then Saddam Hussein is in Heaven and all people alive on earth today who have not asked the Lord Jesus Christ to save them by the time they die, then they will burn in hell forever. It's a choice we all have to make. I chose to ask Jesus to save me when I was 20 years old, 47 years ago. What will your choice be? God is not a dictator. He will not force you to get saved. God is waiting patiently for you to call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and ASK Him to save you from your sins and from a burning hell.

Jack H said...

Greetings P --

Sharing the Gospel is always appropriate, and your pious reiteration of my point in "Side Show" is welcome. The obvious fact, of course, is that at no time whatsoever in the entire span of Saddam's life would he have even begun to consider the course you've laid out. There will remain that section of our souls, that pities Saddam, for all his evil. Hell is no joke. But that's God's lookout, and I'm not going to expend too much energy, lamenting God's justice. We can pity the man, and we can hate the gross evil that he worked. We can be pleased that there is a God who eventually provides justice, and in the mean time we can suffer and endure the vileness of this fallen and unregenerate creation. After all, what other choice do we have?


Anonymous said...

Okay, it bugs me when someone says, "if Saddam Hussein had accepted Jesus Christ as his savior 30-40 years ago, when he was executed, he would have gone to heaven."

Bull hockey! If he had accept Jesus, he wouldn't have needed to be executed...

AND, if heaven is filled with his kind of people...Or those on death row who like to 'hedge their bets' - well, I'm just not sure that's where I want to go.

Do I pity Saddam? Heck no! I sincerely think (and pray) he is burning in hell.

Jack H said...

If you don't pity the damned, you haven't really thought about it. If you judge those who make it to heaven, you haven't looked at yourself.


nanc said...

i talked to God about saddam for a very long time - i'd hoped he would come to repentance. compassion - yes. glad it's over - yes.

i feel sorry for his cat:

j.t. said...

I don't feel sorry for Saddam or his fat and surely well fed cat. The truth is, If Saddam truly in his heart accepted Jesus Christ as his personal saviour even as the trap door opened, and I mean TRULY. Then he is in Heaven. Jesus died for ALL of our sins. Even shirty arse dictators. I don't presume to understand God, But I am thankful he is willing to portion out so much mercy. I as most of us will surely need my share of it.

Saddam has all eternity to think about what he has done. 3 years was worth it.

Jack H said...

Greetings N -- I don't know whose crimes are greater, Saddam's or who ever posted the picture of that cat. But since Saddam is dead, I have to go with the catman -- his potential for evil is still with us.

J -- I don't imagine much thinking gets done in hell. I imagine it's more of an emotional experience. Psalms talks about God's refining fire -- in context it's the trial that brings repentance. There is no repentance in hell. That fire is not for refining. The souls in hell are as pure as they'll ever be. Removed from the presence of God, they are removed from every thing of worth. The fire is not quenched and the worm does not die because the damned are the chaos and they are the worms. But we shouldn't let our craving for justice obscure our capacity for compassion. Only victims have a right to rage -- and we are not Saddam's victims, in any direct sense. It's a balancing act.