30 December 2006
This morning at Iraqi time, Saddam Hussein was hanged, executed for committing murder to the inhabitants of the village Dujail.
Reactions have been typically mixed: from
When you live in a country where the death penalty does not
exist, like myself, then a reaction needs to be covered with
subtleties indeed. For there is of course a general feeling that in
this way, justice is done for all the horrors that Saddam has
committed - not only in Dujail, but also in Halabja, against Iran
and against many, many Iraqis. Is this type of justice enough,
though? Killing a killer may do justice to the feelings of those who
survived him (which, I believe, the majority of the people in
What executing Saddam certainly does not do is solve
anything in the situation in
I won't begin to try and suggest a solution for the
From my Latin classes, I remember Sallustius, writing about the death penalty as something that does not punish, but merely liberates from the current situation that the criminal is in. And indeed, death does not punish and certainly does not change anything for those who remain. It is merely an escape for the person that is executed, not a punishment. Instead, would it not be much more useful to force the convict to do something useful for his people? Forced labour for the rest of his life serving his country in the most modest way? That would at least be a real punishment, for a permanent humiliation, and perhaps could lead to some personal growth for the killer, which, in a spiritual sense, would benefit all of us.
So yes, I do believe that this execution serves no real purpose. May, however, the Iraqi people find a way to deal with their situation and may the other nations have the courage and spirit to add something constructive to that process.