Saddam, Eid, Sacrifices and Symbolism : Another Eid Message ?
Now what has Saddam got to do with Eid al-Adha apart from being executed on it ?
Here is my 2 dirham's worth. I was not going to post about any topic except fans and such until next year, but waking up to hear Saddam has been executed does deserve a mention.
Oh there is no denying that Saddam Hussein deserves a zillion deaths for all his crimes, and I am very happy the man got his punishment. However, why should that have to ruin my holiday ? or the collective holiday in Arab countries and burden them with associating the Eid forever with Saddam's death ?
As a conspiracy theory ( which abound in my part of the world) it counts as a master stroke, and hence the mixed feelings with which the news have been greeted in the Arab world and the blogosphere. We have been denied the right to rejoice his death. It came too late, the wrong timing AND for the wrong reasons.
Most people I spoke with think it has 'Made in USA' stamped all over it (no offense , see above reference to conspiracies); especially because of the time and date. We kept hearing how the Iraqi government headed by Maliki is sovereign and so made the choice. However, when you read the following tidbits , you wonder ever so slightly who the real sovereign is in Iraq?
**Example :my comments in blue , and emphasis in bold mine :
'"We wanted him to be executed on a special day," National Security adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie told state-run al-Iraqiya television. ' [ref] - yes Eid is very special , but why ?
"Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie witnessed the execution and said the procedure followed Islamic ritual and international standards "to the letter". [..] He said the former leader arrived "handcuffed and holding the Koran to his chest", as Iraqi officials took custody of him from the US-led coalition. [ref] -could be interpreted as yep his fate is sealed give him to his people now to kill him , we don't want the headache or the backlash from the Arab world.
"Najib Naimi, a former Qatar justice minister, said: "The Americans called the defence team to pick up his personal belongings. All these indications show he will probably be executed tomorrow." [..] The official dismissed a comment by a senior US official that Saddam could hang as early as tomorrow, saying it was "none of the Americans' business" to decide when the former dictator would die. [ref] - we are told and shown Maliki and the 'sovereign' Iraqi government signed Saddam's execution papers , but it looks like it was more predetermined in advance .
So if the Iraqi government was sovereign, I'm sure they would have chosen another day after the Eid and most probably not in the sanctified months, what's the hurry ? Saddam was going nowhere, and they were discussions re. executing him at a later date following the rejection of his appeal. So what happened ?
Moreover, in the Muslim calendar consisting of 12 lunar months, there are four sanctified month الاشهر الحرام : three of them are in sequence; Zul-qidah(11th), Zul-hijjah(12th), Muharram(1st), and Rajab(7th). During these sacred months specific acts are considered forbidden/restricted ( haram); prominently war fare/the shedding of blood. A terrorist can disregard that for sure, but not a head of state, the representative of a government. Especially since this person or body has the power in theory to declare war.
So the fact this special date was picked could indicate it was dictated by someone who knows the power of the symbolism of the 'special day'. A conspiracy theorist would say it is an unveiled message : ''dear Arab Muslims, just as you are slaughtering your sheep, we are slaughtering one of your presidents - and you are impotent. We can prop and remove any of you at will ! ' . This is not anti-West, these are the ideas floating around and which I thought worthy of being shown to you in order to hear there are no basis for these claims.
A sample of people's reaction here on the BBC site . Bold is mine , which emphasizes the above theory even though it may sound ridiculous to many ears.
Saddam was murdered for standing up for his country. His death in itself is a crime which has been committed by supposedly, decent and democratic cohorts. The whole thing smirks of hypocrisy. His murder should serve as a lesson to all the present allies of the United States that should they decide to challenge the hegemony of the United States, the same fate shall befall them. Saddam's death was premeditated!
ayo awoyele, peterborough, United Kingdom
He was "out of control", that's the only reason America invaded, captured, tried and executed him. He was no more a 'criminal' than those who equipped him to commit those crimes, rather, they are no less a criminal. He wouldn't do as he was told, so he had to go. Welcome to the modern world. I wonder who would be found guilty of 9/11 if they were tried in the same way? This was no trial, it was 12 months of finger pointing in the vain and arrogant hope it would justify an absolute mess.
N Kenworthy, Crewe
While the following is the reaction at the Iraqi blogosphere (hattip Salam Adil from Global Voices) , among a collective sigh at his death there are a bunch of other ideas.
Today was a 'special day' the first day of the Eid al- Adha or the Eid al Kabir , a happy occasion to meet friends and family, a culmination of the Hajj and a commemoration of the time Prophet Abraham intended to sacrifice his only son Ismael upon God's request and how God in his mercy gave him the sheep instead and so set a precedent that human sacrifice to God was no longer acceptable as in paganism. Check here for significance of this story.
"This momentous event also teaches us, through Ibrahim, that human life,
Ismail's, Ibrahim's, everyone's, acquires its meaning and value from God -- The
Source of Creation -- and not from nature. It signifies that the good things in
life, represented by Ismail, derive their value not from the mere fact that they
exist and can be valued, enjoyed and delighted in, but from God, The Source of
Creation Himself. Ibrahim was, in some sense, giving back Ismail to receive him
again on the proper basis.[...] The Ismail of Ibrahim was his son. But you, who
is your Ismail ? what is it ? Your degree? Your reputation? Your position? Your
money? Your home? Your car? Your beloved? Your family? Your knowledge? Your
title? Your dress? Your fame? Your soul? Your spirituality? Your Beauty? Your
strength? Your career?" ."
The Eid spirit has been irrevocably destroyed , leaving a bitter taste. As much as I was anticipating watching Saddam die, I did not want to see that today and not under these circumstances. Could you imagine attending an execution on Christmas :( ?
This BBC commenter has encapsulated the feelings of many in one single sentence:
" I feel saddened by the death of Saddam, not because he deserved to live
but because it is taking place under US occupation of Iraq ".
Further reading :
(1) Juan Cole ( hattip you know who you are - so if you want me to aknowledge you send me an email ) .