Monday, November 06, 2006

Zayed response to the Saddam verdict

One of Iraq's most articulate English language bloggers has a lengthy post in response to the Saddam verdict. Go read his anguished rant and reflect on whether anything is moving in the right direction...

Some Iraqis are saying that the timing of the sentence was intended to influence the mid-term elections in the U.S. Republicans say that’s a preposterous charge, and point to the “impartiality” and “independence” of the Iraqi court. I can’t attest to the former, but I know for a fact that describing the court as independent and impartial is preposterous. The Iraqi government has interfered with the court proceedings from day one. The first presiding judge resigned, citing “interference from governmental officials.” Another was replaced because he turned out to be a member of the Ba’ath party under Saddam, and a third was kicked out because some officials were outraged when he appeared to be a bit sympathetic to the dictator. Two members of Saddam’s defense team were assassinated by sectarian militias aligned with parties close to the government, and the court failed to provide them with the necessary documents on time over and over again. A video of the prosecutor general wearing a turban and sitting in a reception for SCIRI at Dujail was leaked to the court by Saddam’s defense team but was dismissed. One witness was shown on tape contradicting his testimony to the court at the same reception, and so on.


I'll end with Shalash Al-Iraqi's reaction to the verdict, and I wholeheartedly agree with him:

I do not deny that Saddam was a dictator. Show me one person in the Green Zone who is democratic, even on TV.

I do not deny that Saddam was brutal, terrifying and mystifying. Are the brothers in the Green Zone angels of mercy?

Saddam used to appoint his relatives and party members. Do you want me to bang on my head?

Saddam stole the people’s riches. Do you want me to tear off my clothes?

Saddam was a traitor. Do you want me to hurl myself on the floor?

Saddam was sectarian. No … I have to laugh at this one.

My brothers, I truly wished to see Saddam tried for his crimes. But I also wished to see him tried while the country is rebuilt, while freedom is spreading, while joy is overflowing the streets, while Iraqis stay up until morning on the banks of the Tigris, while our schools compete with those of Japan, while our streets are cleaner than a plate of cream, while our riches are evident on our faces, while our displaced brothers under God’s stars return to their families and loved ones, and while joy, joy, joy is everywhere.

Come see our schools. They are ruins and animal barns. Come see our streets. Even though there is a curfew, I don’t know who urinates on them at night. Our people are roaming on the face of earth, some in impoverished countries, and others in tattered tents that break the spirit. Beggars fill the street, and poverty has nested in ruined homes. Depression, disease, drought and horror prevail. I’m left in this wilderness alone after all my friends and relatives have left. A childish fool who doesn’t know how to write his name comes and screams at me, “Shalash! Are you not happy? Yallah, go out in the demonstration.” Wallah, I swear I’m happy, but I’m afraid I would go out and then people would envy me.

We came out of Saddam’s night, but we fell into a well … when will we come out?

Our problem is not Saddam, Barzan, or Taha Yassin Ramadan. Our problem is who is going to be dragged in the night from among his children and family to be found next morning a headless corpse. Inshallah it won’t be you, dear reader or me. Inshallah the fire of sectarians will eat their wood.

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