Saturday, December 30, 2006

Another three day weekend. After going to my mom's to help them reinstall all their software after a computer crash, I'm here at Starbucks. It's busy, papers are rustling, couples discuss whether or not to see Apocolypto because of the violence, kids fidget as parents finish their coffee, and female college students surround a table with laptops open, huddled at the shoulders.

Over in a far away country, a brutal dictator was hung by the neck until dead for crimes against humanity. The whole thing has bothered me and still does. Our papers scream "Executed!" on the front page, as do Internet news sites. One even showed Saddam Hussein dead after his execution. I've been bothered by it not because I didn't think the man did horrible things. He did. I also didn't live under his regime and wasn't an Iraqi woman constantly in fear of being thrown in a rape room or falling victim to one of his horrible sons or party officials who took a liking to me and had my husband killed because he was in the way. Nor was I a Kurd who watched my family, children and neighbors convulse and die horrible deaths from the effects of a cocktail including Mustard and Sarin gas, then watched a second generation be born with birth defects, living breathing echoes of that slaughter. The Hussein regime was horrific. But what did gleefully touting the death walk of a now scared defenseless old man toward his hanging noose do to make things right? Plus, filming his execution is a little too close for comfort to the video of the terrorists' murderous barbarity on Al Jazeera. This whole counting down to a man being killed, extinguished, no matter how terrible a person he was, has really gotten to me over the last few days. I usually don't talk about political things on this blog, because that's not why I started it.

However, I can't help but feel a little dirtied by these events. I don't want this to be the path that world society is going on. Counting down the last hours of anyone's life like it's an event and making it a public spectacle. I believe in justice, but killing, even killing killers isn't justice. If someone is in the act of killing and is killed, that's entirely different, but as an institution it's just wrong. And, the way this was handled in the media makes it even worse. If a human being's institutionalized murder becomes so pedestrian, so available to us and just another passing tabloid headline as we sip our lattes, then what does that make us?

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