The year 2006 ended with the big news of Saddam Hussein’s execution in Iraq. Footage of his hanging was leaked on the Internet leaving many aghast at the manhandling he was subjected to in his dying hours. The blog world has been abuzz with outpourings of feelings towards the event and the rumble was felt in the Bangla blog world. In Bangladesh, the initial reaction among a section of bloggers was that of outrage, especially given that the execution was carried out on the first day of Eid, a day of great religious significance for Muslims. The video footage added fuel to this anger. Despite the fact that the execution was carried out by the Iraqi government, bloggers have had heated arguments regarding the role of the US in the entire scheme of things. This perception led to bloggers condemning the hanging itself.
While commenting on the video, Ali pointed out the anger that was spilling onto the streets of Iraq. In his post he also commented on Bush's failed policy in Iraq and the innumerable deaths that have mounted as a result if it.
Anrinya and Abu Saleh felt that Saddam’s hanging was less of an execution resulting from fair trial and more of a murder. Saleh also felt that the date of the hanging was dictated by the US as a warning and to Muslims in general. In his post he denounced the US aggression in Iraq and called for the Muslims to unite against such oppression and insult.
Fajle Ilahi also voiced his suspicions of a conspiracy with regards to the date chosen for Saddam’s hanging. He then used the occasion to ruminate on the current turmoil in post-Saddam Iraq. He blamed the allied forces of US and Britain, who, according to him, are working to appease the Jewish (and anti-Muslim) lobby in bringing ruin to an Islamic country. If Saddam deserved death for killing 148 people, he asked, what punishment ought to be meted to Bush and Blair for the far larger number of deaths and the chaos that they have brought to Iraq? Like Saleh above, Ilahi also called for Muslim unity to fight the aggression of the West.
Some other bloggers, while admitting Saddam’s atrocities, felt a surge of pity at his execution, especially after seeing the video footage of him getting heckled. In a way, the video and the inopportune date worked in tandem to create the image of Saddam as being more sinned against than sinner. As the discussions grew, some even went to the extent of calling him a martyr. At this point, Alvi called for introspection, saying that in the process of vilifying Bush, people ought not to beatify Saddam, a cruel dictator.
Interestingly, the death video also sparked a debate on the larger issue of death penalty itself. Citing some other cases where death penalty was awarded in India, Trivial Bytes wondered if capital punishment was an effective deterrent or whether it should be reviewed.