Sir-- The taunting of Saddam at his death has further weakened any possibility of reconciliation between Sunnis and the Iraqi government, and gained some sympathy for this mass murderer ('Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein executed' Al-Ahram Weekly 28 December-3 January). Had film of his atrocities been screened at the scene of his execution, it would have been harder for the Iraqi administration's enemies to make propaganda out of the hanging, and onlookers would have been less inclined to taunt, being absorbed in the film's horrors. Perhaps such a film should be shown at future hangings and imprisonments, wherever they take place, for crimes against humanity.
Guilty all the same
Sir-- You are no doubt correct that the trial was less than perfect in terms of its procedures. However, according to an international law professor of Johns Hopkins University, while indeed there were far more serious crimes committed than the one for which Saddam was convicted (the Al-Dujail killings of 140-plus citizens, including very young boys), that particular crime was the only one on which Saddam's actual signature was present. Thus the juridical proof.
Mary Kevorkian Aziz
Remember the innocent
Sir-- The same day as the butcher Saddam was executed, his supporters executed 75 totally innocent Iraqi civilians. These civilians were not condemned for any crimes, they were not guilty of anything. Still the supporters of Saddam and in extension Saddam himself, perpetrated this kind of daily mass execution of men, women and children. These 75 innocent victims had no financial backup, no millions of stolen US dollars hidden as safety for their families, no lawyers and no media support. Try to give justice to these innocent people instead of giving justice to a cruel and ruthless upstart lacking proper family values and who fostered two monsters as sons.
Not the best example
Sir-- In 'Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein executed' ( Al-Ahram Weekly 28 December-3 January) it was a wise decision not to publish the author's name, because no one should be proud of portraying Saddam Hussein as an example of "defiance and strength". Furthermore, a true journalist would never belittle the crimes of a dictator by stating, "Under Saddam more than 100,000 Iraqi Kurds were killed in Northern Iraq as part of the 1998 Anfal campaign." According to the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, over 655,000 Iraqis have died unnaturally as a result of the US-led invasion of Iraq. Is the author's purpose to make the reader forget Saddam's crimes against the Kurds by trying to impress us by quoting the seemingly more appalling 655,000 deaths? As a Muslim, I am dismayed at the death of even one human being. When the numbers get this high, who dares to compare them? If the author thinks he can convince readers that Saddam is a hero merely by saying that US forces are responsible for more deaths (even the ones Iraqis inflict on each other), then he is actually insulting us.
Sir-- I was appalled that your newspaper printed Curtis F Doebbler's obituary of Saddam Hussein ( Al-Ahram Weekly 28 December-3 January). Mr Doebbler is an unfortunate example of what happens when hatred for the West overcomes all reason, and in Mr Doebbler's case, it has led him to apologise for the crimes of a genocidal dictator. I cannot imagine what a victim of Saddam must have felt reading Mr Doebbler's piece.
Change of heart
Sir-- One only has to look at Al-Ahram 's commentary on the Danish cartoons back in February and comparing it to that of the Holocaust conference to see that you are in no position to be crying about bias and double standards. Like many Americans I stood by Arabs and Muslims after 9-11. Yet over the past five years we have seen how your media, political and religious leaders actively encourage hatred, ignorance and disrespect while violently protesting when you get a small dose of your own medicine. All polls show that anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiment is increasing. This is no doubt because we are educating ourselves about your culture and seeing what a one-way street your demand for respect and diversity is.
Keep the excuse
Sir-- With all due respect, your argument for the Palestinian government of Hamas not to recognise Israel has missed its mark ('Still Jews only' Al-Ahram Weekly 14-20 December). For one thing, recognising Israel would take away the only excuse that Iran has to fight the Jews. If Palestinians have a state and it coexists peacefully with Israel, why would the Iranians ask for wiping out Israel assuming they do so now because they are concerned about the Palestinians' suffering. As for Hamas, they had a golden opportunity to respond to the conditions set by Israel and the international community by agreeing to recognise Israel on their own terms. They could've agreed to it if they were promised to have the 'sanctions' lifted and given a specific date for the establishment of a state.