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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Jonathan's Song - Capital Punishment, Saddam and the Poor

When they say, 'repent, repent, repent'
I wonder what they meant.

The following is expansion on a comment from a previous post of mine entitled, 'Jonathan's Song'.

...I've seen the future brother; it is murder...
Leonard Cohen - 'The Future'

Since its posting, Saddam Hussein was executed and I thought it timely to comment on it.


Capital punishment in America is reserved almost exclusively for murderers

No society has a right to take life away from anyone through state-sanctioned execution. Such killing-by-consensus can never be justified. The killer is wrong for killing and killing the killer is just as wrong.

I maintain that not one second of life will ever be returned to the victims who died at the hands of the accused when their killers are in turn killed.

I say, 'accused' because, quite a few people remain on death rows across America based purely on circumstantial evidence. They have been condemned to death by a popular vote. In America, all it takes to kill the accused is for a jury of peers to be swayed by emotional appeals from the prosecutor. State-sanctioned lynching has nothing to do with justice.

Killing another Human Being for vengeance has no rational basis other than to mollify the pain, suffering and loss through imposition of death on the accused. It is a means of sanctioning blood lust - passed off as, 'offering closure' to the victims which is just plain bullshit in my opinion.

And what of those in the world who are actually guilty of whatever atrocities warranting execution?

I just read and watched the leaked video of Saddam's actual execution - what a foul revelation on Humanity that turned out to be. It is disturbing for a variety of reasons. I think the biggest problem has to do with a lying American president's agenda to carry out his vendetta.

America's involvement in Saddam's brutal end remains at the focus; we put him into power, we wrongly linked him with the 9/11 bombing as a reason to depose him. We destroyed the Iraqi infrastructure while offering no viable plan to re-build the war-torn country. We hunted him down. We presented him to a court system which stands guilty of denying him his due process and finally, we delivered him to a sectarian lynch mob under the pretext of recognizing the puppet government's right to self-determination. What a lofty gesture on the part of George W. Bush's administration - lofty and convenient that is.

Saddam still posed a threat to American security and that is why he is dead. He had the audacity to stand up to the United States and that, quite simply is why he is dead. When his political alignment was in tune with American business interests, we gave Saddam the weapons and power to destroy his enemies and even his own people. As a matter of fact, before he defied the US, his genocidal tendencies went completely ignored.

Historically, it has been as though America believed the rest of the world was blind to her involvement in the suffering of the Iraqi people when we not only looked the other way but supported the vainglorious dictator as he tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians and his fellow Iraqis. All this took place during Presidents Reagan's and Bush I's Administrations. This is precisely why Saddam's death has done nothing to improve America's standing in the pan-Arab world.

The man was undoubtedly a tyrant and his murderous role ought never be forgotten. It should never be denied. The way Saddam was tried and the way he died have turned hm into a a martyr for some. For others, the story of his rise and fall shows what happens when America meddles in another country's affairs.

I am certain neither the tyrant's nor the liar's legacies will be kindly remembered because their levels of hate, violence, deceit and full-scale destruction have become hallmarks for justification of holy terror by fanatics who are fighting to establish themselves in the wake of Saddam's defeat. Thanks to Geroge Bush, Iraq has been reduced to rubble and street violence has replaced state terror.

At the beginning of America's campaign to oust Saddam, contrary to then secretary of state, Donald Rumsfeld's early prediction that the Iraqis would 'embrace' us as liberators; the reality is they hate us.

Here's a timely example; in the leaked cell-phone video of moments leading up to Saddam's hanging, his executioners taunted him with jeers and invoked cleric Moqtada al Sadr's father's name. Aside from raising the question whether this lynching was carried out by the Iraqi state or by al Sadr's militants themselves, the event reminded everyone present of al Sadr's father who was one of the religious Shiite clerics that Saddam had killed during his reign - while still in good standing with the US.

The younger, more brutal al Sadr is identified as the shadowy leader responsible for the past year's exponential rise in sectarian violence that now threatens Iraq with full-blown civil war. The Iranian backed cleric is making himself know as a powerful leader in that troubled land. Once he has secured his power, I'm betting junior isn't willing to overlook or forget who gave power to the man who killed his father.

Now, Saddam - this enemy of the Shiite controlled Iraqi state - was put to death by the people for the atrocities committed at his command. Meanwhile, America's current president, George Bush II (the poster child of pro-execution) - like Pontius Pilate - washed his hands of it by 'assenting' to the will of the Iraqi people when in fact he remains the agent provocateur for Saddam's hanging.

I am no fan of Saddam, but let's call his execution what it really is - his final silencing and 'closure' not only for his victims families and more pointedly, as a threat to the US. There is only one problem here; thousands of ruthless killers - of the Saddam Hussein variety - have been spawned directly because of the violence and selfish agenda carried out by the American business interests that put Saddam in power in the first place. Only later was he taken out of power when he no longer served their purposes. The billionare's club which includes Geroge Bush & Cheney-Halliburton won and the world suffers once again. When will we learn?

In all candor, when we take the life of another for vengeance and call it justice, we damage ourselves and the rest of Humanity collectively. Such decisions to terminate the life of an offender are based upon the infectious nature of hate.

Call me strange but I do not agree with executions because killing of any Human Being - no matter how heinous the crime(s) committed diminishes all of Humanity. Violence is not an answer. It is merely the selfish rationalization for vengeance - a chance to be what the agressor is - a chance to kill with justification. So my question is; why become killers like those whose actions we condemn?

Compassionate treatment of someone who does not deserve it is the mark of Humanity. Violence is too easy - but we seldom hold the peaceful in high esteem.

No, we elect, we follow and we choose people who offer simple solutions - like violence, a tonic for the masses as a response to fear and insecurity.

Will the real George Bush please stand up?

It is too bad we can't elect people who say what they mean - and mean what they say.

How odd that we find videotaped beheadings vulgar and repulsive and yet we take comfort in watching the gruesome specter of Saddam's neck being snapped by the weight of his own body.

A person that comes to mind for me when I think of Capital punishment – one who was entirely innocent and who did not deserve to die was Jesus of Nazareth. He died at the hands of a few insecure people who were able to sway public opinion with their piety. Don’t you consider it ironic how, at least in the Christian perspective, a fellow Human Being - and savior of the world to his followers - was executed? Ironic indeed when you see his preaching was based on peace and love - that he not only would die such a violent death - but moreover even more unbelievably, that future generations of his followers would pervert his own suffering and death as reason to kill those who do not share their beliefs in G-d!

Jesus' pharisaical following - ones of the same varieties which he loathed and chided during his short life - would invoke both his name and the name of their Creator in order to justify the killing of one of G-d’s children – to justify killing of their own brethren - incredible. What a testament to their savior, to their G-d, to the peace and love that Jesus called for. Review of history reveals just how twisted so many of Jesus’ blood-thirsty followers have become; like their Muslim counterparts, they kill in G-d's name and they call it 'justice.'

Because of our ability to dominate and rationalize, we Humans arrogantly proclaim our peak status on the hierarchical ladder of life on earth. Well, as a member of the "higher species" on the planet, I'm not impressed with
my species anthropocentric self-indulgence because, no other species on the planet engages in ritualized killing of one of its own.

Our 'lower' counterparts dont turn to philosophy and religion to rationalize killing but, they are bent on survival so they take care of themselves first. They seem berift of empathic qualities. We are also able to ignore eachother's starvation without compassion. However, what does seperate us is that we are cognizant of starvation and still we do noting about it.

Moreover, ours is the only species on the planet that completely looks away way when fellow Humans languish in starvation.

Consider this; somewhere in the world, right now, a child is starving to death but where do you see it in the popular media that an emaciated, fly-ridden child garners any attention?

Rest assured, tonight, as we go to sleep, hundreds of thousands of children have breathed their last - they will not awaken tomorrow morning. Where is the Fox News Network coverage? Where are any of the cameras? Do we see CNN's News Anchor Paula Zahn or CBS's Katie Couric with their sexy, brilliantly toothy smiles giving it the attention it deserves.

While their children go to sleep with full bellies in warm beds, children who were not fortunate enough to have been issued from their wombs endure the ache of hunger as their final experience of life. Who is covering the dying children's final thoughts as their life ebbs away?

…and the following morning? The same number of innocents will perish from starvation as well – for no other reason than they have no voice. By circumstance, they are poor and for that reason, they will be subject to starvation, exploitation, torture and death. Their shrunken bodies will not be satiated by execution of their tyrannous overlords.

Nevertheless, we popularize state-sanctioned execution and call it, 'justice'. We cannot afford such a self-indulgent form of justice - not when all that money could be better spent feeding the innocent and clothing the poor.

Nothing ever comes from violence but more violence. It is a vicious circle that I pray will close in on itself when the world finally realizes that only love can melt even the fieriest of rages.

We hate at our own peril. Perhaps this is the price of self-importance. We remain the only retributive species on the planet and if it goes unchecked, it will be our

Perhaps your 'Amen' reflects an agreement with my world view and then again, perhaps not. I do thank you either way because you have given me a chance to reflect on your comment and to elaborate on something that is constantly on my mind - peace.

Thank you for your post and be safe, whoever you are, wherever you may be.

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At Tue Jan 02, 01:48:00 PM MST, Anonymous Crizette said...

Very nice post! I totally agree that the killer is wrong for killing and killing the killer is just as wrong. For me, Saddam's execution would just create more trouble. They say Saddam's execution would bring justice to the people he killed before. It can never be justice -- it's more like a revenge for me -- totally different thing. Justice doesn't have a motive -- revenge does!

At Sun Jan 07, 12:40:00 PM MST, Blogger iamnasra said...

I recall in Eid ( where we celebrate a festivity ) it was the news of the execution of Saddam. I personally heard from family around me and some friends we were totally sad, I was really sad what ever he was- it was a crime a day where all the muslim world are celebrating eid heas execuuted. Iraq is still going through a very stormy time and its going to take some years ...


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