Saturday, December 30, 2006

Eid Mubarak...Did you see Saddam's Video?!

Something shook me to the bones when I saw saddam's hanging and that picture of him dead in a white shroud.

Sure we can all say Saddam deserves to die, Saddam deserves to pay for what he's done, but when it actually happens infront of our very own eyes the chilling effect is undeniable.

He was such a powerful figure and seeing him in the state he was made me really sad. I know what Saddam did during his time in office. I know the lives he ended and those he ruined forever and I have no sympathy for the man but as I watched that video these questions ran through my mind...

  • How will hanging Saddam undo the crimes committed against Shiites in Dujail?
  • How will hanging Saddam answer for chemical weapons against the Kurds, mass graves everywhere in Iraq or the invasion of Kuwait and the war in Iran?
  • Why is this sold to the Iraqis and indeed to the whole world as a triumph for those who lived the horrors of Saddam's regime when those people had absolutely no say in ending that regime?
  • Most importantly, how will hanging Saddam stop the everyday sectarian violence in Iraq?

What angered me the most was how most of the media tried to stage the reaction of the world as two camps for and against the death sentence and how some Iraqis ,the Shiites and the Kurds to be specific, were elated and some of Saddam's supporters were mourning.

It is true the reactions varied some celebrated and others vowed revenge but to put the story in those two black and white pigeonholes is an insultingly simplistic way to handle it. If nothing it is because this false victory that some Iraqis celebrate was only allowed by the very people responsible for the destruction and division of their country.

With all the studio guests and phono's… with all the party leaders and political analysts why couldn't anybody highlight the fact that this execution led by a farce trial was entirely an American agenda. That George Bush wanted to look macho after the big blow in mid-term elections in a bid to win a cheap point with the American popularity polls.

Why couldn't anyone get Nouri Al Maliki ,or any other politician for that matter, to answer why he couldn't postpone the execution as he wanted to, or about the legitimacy of the trial and the execution that were done in a court of an occupied and currently un-sovereign country. And if the country is indeed sovereign, why was it left to the Americans to decide that the execution happens on the first day of Eid Al Adha , in a blatant disregard and disrespect to one of the holiest days on the Muslim calendar.


"Today Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial - the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime." US President George W Bush

Translation: Today I got back at Saddam Hussein. That son of a bitch who tried to kill my father. He was executed after a trial we staged making it look as if an Iraqi judicial system really exists-This is the kind of justice we allowed him to deny the victims of his brutal regime …a regime we supported in the past when he helped us kick Iran's ass.

"I welcome the fact that Saddam Hussein has been tried by an Iraqi court for at least some of the appalling crimes he committed against the Iraqi people. He has now been held to account. The British government does not support the use of the death penalty, in Iraq or anywhere else." UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett

Translation: I welcome the fact that we are finally rid of that bastard. He has been tried for some of the appalling crimes we watched him do over the years and chose to do nothing about it. The British government does not support the death penalty but can do nothing about it in Iraq or anywhere else.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Veronica Guerin ...Was It Worth Losing a Life?

In our first journalism theory lecture,Chris Horrie showed us a short film about journalists who were killed while doing their job.

Veronica Guerin's story kept haunting me ever since I saw that presentation. I was drawn to her story for all the obvious reasons of course; she was a very strong willed woman ,braver than alot of men I know,really good at her job mainly because she loved it.

I've just finished the film made about her that carries her name and must say it is going to be hard to get over it...her actually...My husband looked at me recognizing my sorrow for Guerin's death and my great admiration for her. He then asked me, "do you want to be like her?" "is it worth losing your life? losing your kids maybe?" I said I didn't really know...Then I said "No...No it's not"

I think what affected me the most was that phone call she got from one of the drug barons telling her that if she writes anything about him he was going to kidnap her son,rape him and then shoot her. She eventually died for her cause and things have changed for the better as far as the war on drug dealers was concerned.She is now a saint,a hero. A dead hero.

At the end of the day there's a son who will never have his mom back, a husband that lost his wife and a woman who put herself and her loved ones in danger to eventually be brutally murdered.

I stand humble infront of that woman's courage and infront of the courage of many journalists who were arrested,detained,tortured,terrorised or killed in the pursuit of truth.

Yet,as an aspiring journalist I have to take a second to ask myself ; is it all worth it? How many awful things in the world have really changed at the cost of the lives of those trying to change them? How far will I honestly allow myself to go? How brave am I really? If I'm not willing to put myself in danger for the job,am I not commited enough? What right do I have to put my family into any kind of danger?

This is not a defeated mentality, marginally sceptic yes. But mostly, realistic.

I am ambitious. I want to be a good journalist. I want to write great stories and reveal truths. I want to question. I want to change the world.I want to live to see it change.