Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gallows Repentance?

Has Saddam finally seen the light? Is he repentant for all of the rapes, tortures, murders, and other crimes that he has committed? It would appear that way based on words he spoke yesterday. Maybe behind the mask is a coward. Maybe he thinks if he says something nice now, they will spare him the hangman's noose.

Here's my first reaction to Saddam's letter of November 5, 2006, which came out yesterday exhorting his former people to neither hate each other nor commit violence against each other or against the American aggressor--he sees the reality of his impending doom, and he thinks that if he says something nice now that he will get off the hook. Having recently read Between Two Worlds by Zainab Salbi, and based on her contention that millions of Iraqis despise him for all of his rapes, torture, and murders, somehow I think he's on the hook to stay.

By like Ms. Salbi, I have some sense of pity for him as well. What a wasted life--wasted in the wasting of others' lives.

My other thought is, 'Wouldn't it be nice if the Iraqi people actually listened to him?' Because, taken by themselves on this momentous fortnight before his death, they actually mostly make sense.

I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking. I also call on you not to hate the people of the other countries that attacked us. Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love, forgiveness and brotherly coexistence.

Okay, so he sort of gets it right, but most Iraqis think that Saddam is to blame for the American presence in Iraq. But just think of the possibilities if the Sunni and Shia could really sit down and forgive each other. This is hard to imagine, except as influenced by divine providence, which makes it entirely possible. It is a bit ironic that Saddam inflamed a lot of the tensions that Sunni and Shia harbor toward each other, which now, in a society of greater openness, have boiled over in to acts of revenge and re-revenge.

Here, I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if he wants, he will send it to heaven with the martyrs.

Zainab Salbi mentions in Between Two Worlds that Saddam could on rare occasions be one of the most courteous people she had ever met, but as a result of most other associations with him, there is no person she is more afraid of in this world. Her book portrays a general sense of intense fear of the man in the lives of the thousands of people she knew or became acquainted with.

It would have been better if--like Mohammed, Moses, or Jesus Christ--The Butcher of Baghdad would have offered his life as a sacrifice to God instead of the physical and mental deaths of thousands upon thousands through his debauchery and perfidiousness. Because of his life of treachery, it is hard to imagine his "soul" containing any substance at all, much less anything worthy of a sacrifice to God.

I suspect God pities Saddam, too.

Note: Click here for further discussion of this issue at A Soldier's Perspective.


Kari said...

I agree Frank, now that it seems he is really going to hang he is changing his attitude. Funny how certain death will do that to a person.

Sorry to say but I can not put my full faith that it is sincere and I can't see the Iraqi people doing the same.

PJ said...

You know, Frank I really don't see much a change of heart in his comments. His whole life speaks for itself. Hate, murder, torture, violence, racism and religious intolerance. I often wonder how Liberals in this country can accuse Conservatives of the same things while knowing that people like Saddam are the personification of these traits. I have pity for the people he commited his atrocities against, but I'd have to be a lot better Christian than I am to feel pity for him.

Frank Staheli said...


You raise a very good point, which caused me to reflect on my own feelings. I suspect my claim of pity for him amounts to theatrics, because it really isn't true--it's more a sense of dismay or even anger at "a wasted life--wasted in the wasting of others' lives.".