Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam....


As is probably predictable, I was upset to hear about the execution of Saddam Hussein. As is probably equally predictable, I am opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances, whether it is an international figure or Scott Peterson. It's wrong.

I get that Saddam was a terrible person. I get that Scott Peterson is a horrible person. That doesn't justify lust for revenge. The image of masked hangmen putting a rope around someone's neck and releasing the switch makes me physically ill. My heart sinks into my stomach and I feel the threat of vomit. This is visceral stuff. The fact that these people are "horrible" doesn't provide an excuse for us to collectively respond in kind. Where does it stop? When does the cycle of violence and revenge stop?

It is nearly 2007. It's nearly 2550 in Thailand. As much as I want to trust in the human spirit and our inherent ability to overcome barbarism, something like this happens and that faith slowly swirls down the drain.

Killing people to prove that killing people is wrong. State-sanctioned homicide is still homicide. Dancing in the streets and celebrating anyone's death ~ collective scheudenfruede ~ is perverted and twisted. It is so base that I can't even imagine it. It's a sick horror movie. I expect green pea soup projectiles and spinning heads. At the end, the credits will roll and we'll be reminded that it was only a movie, just a fantasy, intended to generate fear in bored, numb viewers.

We need to grow beyond this.


Peace,


~Chani

16 comments:

My Heart Runneth Over said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I agree with you in regards to taking a life. It makes me ill as well. I saw those pictures and I felt saddened that a life had to be taken this way as well.

This is the world we live and I'm considered a liberal because I don't believe in taking a life. It's morality I am concerend with.

All the best! ~M

meno said...

I have mixed feelings about the death penalty, but i am sickened by celebrations that occur whenever one is carried out.

dawn said...

I agree wholeheartedly. I don't support the death penalty or the whole "eye for an eye" mentality. What does it say about us that we kill killers? It makes us (as a society) no better.

Pam said...

First, in response to your comment on my last blog, "our own conventions", yes.
As for yours, hmmm. I abhore killing but think that I would try to kill anyone trying to take the life of someone I loved. Or of any innocent, for that matter. I hope I never have to find out the answer to these conflicting emotions.

Tabba said...

I agree with you. I felt sick upon hearing this today. I don't like the idea of killing people who kill people.

But I can't reconcile the whole thing yet. For instance, that story Jen told about the guy who put the GHB in the little girl's sippy cup. I personally wanted to kill him. Scott Peterson. Yup. Hitler. Absolutely. And some other sick-o's I can't name here. I don't necessarily want to be the one to do it. But there is that beast that comes out & it is my instant reaction. I'd like to think I have moved past it. That as I've grown & matured, I have become enlightened. But I guess I haven't.

But I do share your feelings. I really, really do. I can't help but feel that, at the deepest root of the issue, it is inherently wrong.

Snooze said...

I am glad to know there are other people out there who thought the execution was sickening.

Gobody said...

I absolutely agree with you. Somehow, it feels that it is beyond politicians to understand that violence only begets violence, and the vicious circle can only be broken by peaceful solutions. They are not any better than Saddam is they need to kill to solve problems.

Gobody said...

How did I forget to say, Happy New Year! :)

Stephen Newton said...

Chani, yes, of course I agree with you that an eye for an eye is bad medicine. Whenever we kill someone who has killed we're perpetuating the myth that we know who deserves to die and who doesn't. When my son died, I sometimes felt like killing his offenders. The fact that I didn't lets the universe do the job more effectively than i could ever do it. That way, if they are innocent and I am wrong about the need to die, I won't have made a mistake. Besides the universe is never wrong.

Jul said...

I totally agree - the news that Saddam had been executed made me feel absolutely sick, and not because I liked the guy.

Anvilcloud said...

I am onside with you on this. It's state-sanctioned revenge, and it basically teaches that revenge is okay. It's not about whether someone deserves it or not; it's what it says about the rest of us.

UU Soul said...

I agree and feel sickened by it too. When I heard that he was about to be executed, I purposely avoided the media because I couldn't stand the idea of participating in the collective voyeurism. The death penalty achieves nothing positive.

Dave said...

I have mixed feelings about the death penalty but I suppose that I end up crossing over into pro capital punishment when it comes to horrific crimes against humanity. Maybe I am inconsistent since I swing both ways (regarding capital punishment that is!)

You have, however made excellent points! Nice blog by the way!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I have felt as you do since I read Albert Camus' "Reflexions on the Guillotine" when I was about 18. It was impossible to make any argument against his view that the State which executes a murderer has also become one.

I uncharacteristically avoided watching the newsreels surrounding Saddam's hanging. It is a particularly brutal way to die, and I feel that the widespread scheudenfruede is in part a desperate hope that our own president's grotesque hobby-war in Iraq will end, somehow, and the bloodshed will stop.

Saddam was a very bad man, but no one person can embody all that is wrong with the world. We all need to look within ourselves and begin to make things better, one conscious person at a time.

jen said...

oh, chani,
i've come back by a couple of times without commenting..mostly because the whole thing just makes me sad.

Cecilieaux said...

And actually, Saddam Hussein wasn't all that bad in context. Did you know he won a UNESCO prize for his campaign to raise the literacy rate in his country? That he brought universal health care to his citizenry?

Sure, like Tito in Yugoslavia, he had to ruthlessly put down anyone in any of the multiple factions in Iraq to hold his made-in-London country. The proof is that the minute he was removed and the occupier relaxed controls ... we're watching a civil war. Just what happened in Yugoslavia.