One man’s jihad is not another’s. “New Videos Show Graphic Saddam Images,” by Qassim Abdul-Zahra for AP, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
One of the most notorious dictators of the late 20th century, his hands bound behind him, was led up the stairs of the gallows by masked men in leather coats. A few seconds later, a trapdoor snapped open and _ with a crash _ Saddam was dead.
He may have been the first chief of state executed in the age of the Internet and the camera phone. Probably because of that, his death was graphically documented on video, and available worldwide, within hours.
By several accounts, Saddam was calm but scornful of his captors, exchanging taunts and accusations with the crowd gathered to watch him die _ insisting that he was Iraq’s savior, not its tyrant and scourge.
After his captors brought Saddam into the execution chamber, his hands _ which were tied in front of him _ were untied, then tied in the back, Haddad told the BBC.
“He said we are going to heaven and our enemies will rot in hell and he also called for forgiveness and love among Iraqis but also stressed that the Iraqis should fight the Americans and the Persians,” Haddad told the BBC.
The New York Times reported that Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser for Iraq, stood next to Saddam before he mounted the scaffold, and asked him if he felt remorse and fear.
“No,” the Times quoted Saddam saying. “I am a militant and I have no fear for myself. I have spent my life in jihad and fighting aggression. Anyone who takes this route should not be afraid.”
Al-Rubaie told the Times that one of the guards grew angry. “You have destroyed us,” he reportedly shouted. “You have killed us. You have made us live in destitution.”
“I have saved you from destitution and misery and destroyed your enemies, the Persian and Americans,” Saddam responded, al-Rubaie told the Times.
“God damn you,” the guard said.
“God damn you,” Saddam said, according to the Times.
In the video, one of those attending the execution called out praise for Dawa Party founder and Shiite cleric Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr, who was executed along with his sister by Saddam in 1980. The Islamic party has been locked in a fierce decades-old battle with Saddam’s now outlawed secular Baath party. Muqtada al-Sadr, the powerful and radical Shiite cleric in Iraq, is a distant relative of the Dawa founder.
Saddam appeared to smile at those taunting him from below the gallows, and said they were not showing their manhood.
Then Saddam began reciting the “Shahada,” a Muslim prayer that says there is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger.
“Saddam did so but with sarcasm,” Haddad said. But to others, Saddam’s tone sounded calm and measured, neither sarcastic nor frightened.
Saddam made it to midway through his second recitation of the verse. His last word was Muhammad, according to a translation by the Associated Press.
The floor dropped out of the gallows, there was a crash and the chamber erupted in shouting.