Dead Men Walking!

Two and a quarter years ago, from lovely Toronto, I wrote the following:

I don’t give a toss what happens to Saddam. To me, he just symbolises the archaic, cruel, backward and inflexible 22 regimes constituting the Arab world. He has fallen. His last abode was fox-hole from which the coward was dug out of, that is the picture I will treasure for the rest of my life. That was a just end to a despot who has no remorse for any of the heinous crimes he committed.

But that action was the catalyst for a new reign which holds much promise for one Arab nation: a hope for democracy, freedoms, and accountability.

Arab leaders take note: Saddam’s fate is awaiting you unless you diligently and honestly work with your people to ensure a smooth hand-over of power, respect for freedoms, inculcate transparency and tolerance and be ready to be held accountable within the law.

The current situation in any Arab country is miserable. Walk in any Arab street, go into any Arab office and you will be faced not with a proudly displayed copy of the “bill or rights”, or even an extract of the Qur’an, but rather with large pictures of current rulers, their forebears and descendants who in some cases are just started having wet dreams, all of whom are elevated to the status of Gods whom the populace are directed in no uncertain terms to worship. They are the all-wise and all-benevolent.

read the rest…

Today as I listened to the fate of one Arab despot and his unquestioning cohorts, these images immediately came to mind:

Saddam montage

And other than what I have written two years ago, the thoughts that crashed around my mind were manifest, paramount among them are these: to our respected Arab leaders we currently have ruling over us, which of the above pictures are more humiliating to them? Are they doing anything at all to allay the possibilities of this happening to them at some point in the future too? Do they feel affected at all by what is happening in Iraq, and if so, on which plane do they associate themselves with those events? Do they ever think of their mortality? Do they think of their legacies? Do they think of the longevity of their families’ rule? Do they think of their people at all when faced with such events? Do they think of their people when confronted with the end-game of Saddam’s trials?

Or do they think that they are infallible, untouchable, untenable? Hence, completely secure in their positions?

I don’t know, I don’t have the answers. But one thing is as sure as night follows day, is that their fate will be as humiliating as what has happened and will continue to happen to Saddam until the trap-door drops, and even more, unless they fix their rule and start to really work hard at making their peoples complete partners for progress and treat them like the citizens they are, rather than serfs to be trod on at will.

I know that the Arab’s memory is rather short, but today, this very day, will they remember what awaits them? Are they listening? Are they learning?

Arab leaders take note: Saddam’s fate is awaiting you unless you diligently and honestly work with your people to ensure a smooth hand-over of power, respect for freedoms, inculcate transparency and tolerance and be ready to be held accountable within the law.


  1. Anon Counsel

    Unfortunately Mahmood, I have a feeling that the events in Iraq over the last 3 or so years have given the current Arab leaders more comfort. I have a feeling that they think (or delude themselves into thinking) that if they were leave or to transfer too much power to their people, then their country too would fall into the same type of chaos that is currently gripping Iraq.

    I think that the Iraq war has been counterproductive in relation to this issue. I hope I am wrong, and not just in relation to Arab leaders but all Middle East leaders.

  2. Post

    Which raises another question: <conspiracy theory alert> Could it be that they (Arab/ME leaders) are actually funding, aiding and abetting the turmoil in Iraq to prove your deduction?

    To me at least, it does ring true, or partly true and makes sense. Otherwise why are the borders so porous and how can destitute Iraqis get that many weapons? The stream seems to be unending in both weapons and people who are willing to use to kill other Iraqis.

    Regardless of the above, the basic tenet is that if “they” don’t start real change, then it might take a few more years, and it might get ugly and painful, but they’ll be gone and I’m sure that history will forget that they ever existed. No legacy.

  3. Anonymous

    Mahmood, i actually always thought of that, there is no way that all ammunition was there for grabs all this time! theres a point of entry, many points of entry, why are these never “mentioned”? we never see any news reports talking about blocking all these weapons from getting in iraq did we? it just seems theres a higher hand helping this violence take place.

  4. Akkad

    Lovely thoughts, Mahmood.

    I have an alternative hypothesis. Let me start with the necessary admin work first.

    To be exact: you hypothesis was, it was all because the Iraqi leadership abuse of power under Saddam Hussain. The alternative hypothesis is it was because, in so far as the US government, Saddam and his whole regime got spent soon after the end of the Iran-Iraq war. But the monster would still cling to power against the wish of the various US Administrations, starting with that of George Bush, Sr. Had it not been thanks only to the accidental lull during the two Clinton Administrations, Saddam would have long been gotten rid of or ordered to hang till death, under the same or similar preludes as the one that came to climax today.

    The said lull was thanks only to a re-order of US priorities. The evidence is that the decision to get rid of Saddam remained on the cards, awaiting the right time and triggers. The Administration of G. W. Bush (the incumbent US president) knew from the start both that it needed to declare him a war president sooner rather than later – – especially with regard to his presidential appointment being in such serious doubt as we still remember and need not remind of here. As it never forgot to finish the business left behind in Iraq by his father, George Bush, Sr. Like the latter’s Administration, his son’s first one also bet considerable US fortunes that only resuming the fire works in Iraq could substantially boost his chances of re-election for a second term. In short the temptations of returning to Iraq were too great – not to mention all the oft-mentioned OTHER temptations, which we need not mention here … THEM BEING TOO OBVIOUS.

    Testing my hypothesis, would require putting under hypnosis all the leaders you mentioned – in the interest of accuracy. The finding in such experiment would not be only statistically significant. It will be unanimous. All we have to do is to remain faithful to our duty Uncle Sam, all those leaders will till you. That’s all we need do to avoid a fate like those suffered at US hands by Saddam (Iraq), Marcos (Philippines), Sadat (Egypt), King Faisal (KSA), Arafat (Palestine), or Noriega (Nicargua).

    Since achieving that state of hypnosis is almost impossible for the population proposed to be examined is too immune, we’d have either to abandon the project; or – better still – presume that the alternative hypothesis cannot be rejected anyway.

  5. Hassan Ali

    A defiant Saddam Hussein said today he was not afraid of being executed, after witnesses at his trial described the horrors of his rule, including use of a human meat grinder.

    The first witness in the former Iraqi president’s trial on charges of crimes against humanity told a Baghdad court that he saw human blood and hair in the grinder being used at one of Saddam’s prisons.

    Ahmed Hassan’s harrowing account came amid farcical scenes in which the defendants repeatedly interrupted proceedings and the defence team walked out in protest at the conduct of the trial. Saddam taunted Mr Hassan, saying he was in need of psychiatric treatment.
    read more

    ed: removed full article and blockquoted the first paras for brevity

  6. Akkad

    Hassan Ali, May I take permission from both Mahmood and you to say that the the link alone was enough.

    At first I thought I was reading your own comments, buck luckily before too late, it came to my mind to click only to find out that (i) it would be easier to read at source (ii) the ten-months old article.

    Kind Regards.

  7. Suad

    Have you noticed any change in how governments treat their citizens since the fall of Saddam Hussain?

    Lets change the question slightly and say, “Will ALL dictators learn from this?” Saddam and his regime is not more dangerous than the U.S government who has been acting like a God on Earth or the Middle East policeman, dictating their will and demanding everyone to listen and obey.

  8. Ingrid

    As much as I agree with Saddam’s deserved demise, other issues such as the culpability of the US propping him up and aiding and abetting him during his dictatorship comes to mind. I wrote a post on the neglected reason for the US’s involvement which is the threatening replacement of the Euro vs the Dollar. Saddam switched his oil payments from dollars to euro in 2002. On the face of things, we see current conflicts in the light of historical settings. But, scratch underneath, and more disturbing issues show up. I sure hope that Iraq stabilizes at some point. On another note, I wonder what the wisdom is of hanging Saddam vs him facing the death squad. It’s not about what is considered deserved justice for him, but I have been thinking about potential retaliation for such punishment and wonder if pro-Saddam allies in Iraq will copy hanging others. Those thoughts were kinda going through my head.

  9. Yousif

    I think we should think of the way he was trialled. It was not a court of justice. The court was internationally declared not fair. The judge was clearly and obviously biased. It was more of a play by actors many doubt they’re US influenced. The judge ruled guilty even before the court started deliberations. Even when the judge started acting in an unbiased way they changed him! Some evidence was so ridiculous and unsubstantiated that it made a joke out the Iraqi justice system.

    Also think of the timing of the ruling. 3 days prior to US elections. Something smells nasty here. I am sure in such a high caliber trial the judge should’ve wisely delayed the ruling until the elections have passed to avoid doubts regarding the bias of the trial.

    As much as we want him to pay for the lives he *may* have been responsible for. The trial was a disgrace to the ways of democratic justice. I hope the Iraqi people will keep their calm about this. There are serious concerns over the implications of this on the already unstable country.

  10. bikeshed

    any word on how and when this is meant to happen? will it be behind closed doors or in the middle of bab elshargee…and what we all really want to know…will he get the traditional sent-off parade?

  11. Post

    Sorry Yousif, I have to ask this: Do you have any iota of doubt that he is guilty, or are you just playing silly buggers, in other words devil’s advocate?

  12. Costa-guy

    Not in the mood to discuss politics so briefly..

    I say this is a day of victory for the people against Arab leaders.. A victory for “freedom“.

    Most Arab leaders “especially in the gulf” began noticing that democrisy is necessary for their reign to continue.

    The US wants to use it (democrisy) as a mean to overcome the ruling of Islam over the region.

    We (the people) want it to live as normal people.

    I believe in God’s revenge, others may believe in Karma.. The messeage is “What goes around, comes around

    And for those who are screaming: “This is a sad day for Arabism”, I would say: To hell for Arabism if I am going to live my life as an underdog. Frankly, I’d rather be a free-Israeli than a discriminated-worthless-Arab :no:

    إلى مزبلة التاريخ يا صدام وفي إنتظار البقية..

  13. billT

    As much as I agree with Saddam’s deserved demise, other issues such as the culpability of the US propping him up and aiding and abetting him during his dictatorship comes to mind. I wrote a post on the neglected reason for the US’s involvement which is the threatening replacement of the Euro vs. the Dollar. Saddam switched his oil payments from dollars to euro in 2002.

    Ingrid you should read ‘Overthrow’ by Stephen Kinzer. He notes that Iraq “was the culmination of a 110-year period during which Americans overthrew fourteen governments that displeased them for various ideological, political, and economic reasons.” He goes on to say that in all fourteen regime changes they occurred after economic complaints from American companies.


  14. a Duoist

    The thousand years of absolutism in Christian Europe began to crack wide open when the Church’s entrenched system of burning alive tens of thousands of women for fornicating with Satan was utterly discredited by the growth of objective science.

    As objectivity becomes a value in the Arab world (the West received Greek ‘objectivity’ from Islamic scholars), all the Middle Eastern thugs will fall.

    Congratulations to the Iraqi people on their trial of Saddam Hussein; with their blood they have earned their justice.

    ‘Be free,’ Mahmood.

  15. billT

    Saddam is going to make a fine resistance symbol no matter how he is executed. Iraq Sunni’s aren’t going to like it guilty or not. Also got to say the the judges have a huge set of balls since their lives aren’t worth a penny now.

    You know its not like the US didn’t know about what might happen if we invade Iraq. We war gamed the invasion in 1999 with similar results to what is happening now.


  16. Alberto

    As much as I agree with Saddam’s deserved demise, other issues such as the culpability of the US propping him up and aiding and abetting him during his dictatorship comes to mind

    This is an argument often brought forth, but unfortunately for how much it is used, it rings badly flawed.
    The USA (and I am no USA citizen) did not only run business with Saddam, but – hey! – also with the Soviet Union, to the degree that in order to beat Hitler, they were allied with… the Red Army!

    Now, what does that mean: that since they were allied for a while, they were supposed after WW2 to close their eyes before the soviet gulags where 30 millions died?

    Not only, but the Soviet Union, throughout the Cold War, was ceasessly supplied with food for its population.
    I see no contradiction in any of this.

    You don’t make of a guy you don’t like your ebemy in one day: first you try to see if you can move it unto another path by deals. And if you were allied with the soviets for a war, doesn’t mean you have forfeited your right to fight them if they become as much dangerous as Hitler was.


  17. Ingrid

    Thanks Bill, I’ll check that out. Also, for a great post on the trial and the situation in Iraq, check out ‘s “Dismembering Iraq”. Mash writes great analyses and ought to write professionally. But, he’s the son of an ex-diplomat so he’s had the advantage of inside observation as it were,

  18. crazy chef

    we should work on making the world a better place free from dictatorship and sexual and racial and religious oppresian if we do this i believe that we might acctually have a period of peace in this warfaring world! 8) =D 😆 :yes: =O

  19. Post

    Very true, crazy chef, thanks for your contribution.

    How would you go about it though? Because it is a rather difficult subject and people as well as groups are always fighting for dominance. Just look at the electoral scene in Bahrain at the moment.

  20. Will

    How would you go about it though?

    In general platitudinal (?) terms, you be an individual force for good. The sum should reflect the parts.

    Is it pessimistic to say that the nature of the universe is one of conflict and opposing forces?

  21. can we talk now

    i don’t believe in the death penalty for anyone, no matter how evil, they are, as a matter of principle.

    and how..Hanging? so uncivilized. don’t tell me he was uncivilized, that’s beside the point.

    i would rather he rots in jail for the rest of his days, with years to think about what he has done, and i would pray that he lives to be a hundred and twenty.

  22. Alberto

    At times it needs the blood of the patriots, to irrigate it. Other times of the tyrants. But I never saw a revolution sealing its mark with a jail rather than with a guillotine. Advocating jail for Saddam is like advocating jail for Louis XVI or Charles I or Robespierre.

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