Saturday, 30 December 2006

Death of a Tyrant

There can only be one subject for today’s entry: the execution in Baghdad, just before dawn this morning, of Saddam Hussein.

When I heard the news yesterday that his lawyers had been told to collect his personal belongings, and this was an indication of his immanent execution, I felt physically sick. Whenever I hear of an execution I always have the same knotting pain in the pit of my stomach. Irrespective of the crime, capital punishment is a barbaric act.

Saddam Hussein was a tyrant and undoubtedly through his actions caused the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. But his execution benefits no one. Indeed it is likely it will establish him as a glorious martyr in the hearts and minds of his followers.

Margaret Beckett the Foreign Secretary has placed on record The UK Governments opposition to the use of the death penalty. As have spokespersons of a number of counties, the notable exception being the USA.

Those governments who have judged and condemned Saddam Hussein, should now judge their own moral standards. In reality few if any Country has a moral code governing its conduct. Policy is influenced by commercial considerations, national prejudices and priorities. It would be wrong to give examples, as this would give the impression that the countries identified are the sole culprits. Unfortunately examples can be given of both large and small countries, from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Even the United Nations, theoretically established to guard the innocent and maintain ethical governance has failed because it too is a victim of the self serving priorities of member counties.

So day there is one tyrant less, but is the World a safer and happier place to live in?

No comments: