The footage of Saddam Hussein’s execution from a cell phone has spread across the Internet faster than panty-free Britney Spears. The reaction to the footage is mixed, just like America’s reaction to the war. Either justice was served because a tyrant was killed or justice was not served because his execution was mishandled and undignified.
Either we as a nation truly believe in the dignity of every human being or some people are excluded. The reaction to the footage is incredibly mixed because our gut instinct and our sense of justice clash.The video on YouTube has been watched more than 1 million times and the comments left by users reflect society’s views.
A user comments, “F— you Saddam – I hope your death was painful and your dirty corpse is rotting in Hell.”
Another user comments, “Well, I thought I’d be happy to see this man die … but I just can’t picture other people playing God that way. He did do wrong … but I don’t know … I’m in shock.”
Asking around Main Campus, many people had not seen footage of the execution. For some, it was too graphic, some didn’t care or realize the footage even existed and others disagreed with the execution.
Junior Marc Garabedian “made it a point” not to watch the footage. He was simply tired of the war, the trial and the situation in Iraq – a feeling that many Americans share. Sophomore Meaza Iyassu said she feels Hussein should not have been executed. Like many people, she worries that the sectarian violence will worsen and that Iraq will not be able to sustain a stable Democracy.
“It’s inhumane to me to be excited to see someone being killed. It goes against my religious beliefs and my personal beliefs.
I don’t want to see someone die,” Iyassu said.
Americans cannot imagine what the Iraqi people went through under Hussein’s rule. Seeing people celebrate an execution and cheering for death is unsettling, but we don’t know how it feels to watch the man who tortured our country pay for his crimes.
“He’s dead now, but do you really feel justice?” Iyassu asked. “I don’t think justice was served at all.” Once the video leaked, President Bush expressed his disappointment in the handling of the execution.
He told Jim Lehrer, “It basically says to people, look, you conducted a trial and gave Saddam justice that he didn’t give to others. But then, when it came to execute him, it looked like it was kind of a revenge killing.”
Temple student Ersin Ulke watched the video out of a “morbid curiosity.” Upon seeing the footage, he felt a bit of sympathy due to the “barbaric nature of the execution.”
He felt that justice was served, but in an uncivilized, brutal way. “It sort of goes against the whole idea of spreading Democracy there,” he said. Toppling Hussein’s regime and trying him were seen as victories. The execution is not so clear-cut.
There is the sense that every human being deserves to die with dignity and that death is too graphic a thing to watch and enjoy versus the sense that Hussein got what he deserved and that the people he killed have been avenged. Yet the inner conflict between dignity and revenge only ends in a stalemate.
Carolyn Steeves can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.