A man's execution, a click away?
Margeaux Corby / Columnist
The video is blurry and shaky with little light. Still
Saddam Hussein is recognizable as the rifle-wielding madman
who terrorized the Middle East. Four or five masked men put a
black cloth around Hussein’s neck before tightening the
That is where the officially released video ends. The
bootlegged copy continues with shouts, jeers and a sudden
collapse of the floorboard under the dictator’s feet.
For a few seconds there is only blackness and then
Saddam’s face is clearly focused on the screen. The
Butcher of Baghdad is dead.
The video ends in a trembling state of complete
Despot Hussein was charged with the 1982 massacre of over
140 men and boys in Dujail, Iraq. He was executed on Dec. 30,
and now you can watch it in the comfort of your own
YouTube and Google Video, just to name a couple, feature the
underground copy of Hussein’s execution. On YouTube you
merely have to sign up as a member, enter a birth date
confirming you are 18 or older and the cell phone shot video
is at your fingertips. You can watch a man die.
I will not question Hussein’s execution or the style.
This man was served a justice that none under his regime were
Many lawmakers were upset and even outraged at the
undignified manner in which Hussein was killed. In an article
in The New York Times, Sen. Susan Collins expressed her
disapproval by stating that the taunting of someone before
their execution is entirely unacceptable.
Despite the spectator’s derisive remarks, does anyone
really think that the man ultimately suffered? No, Hussein
died with a mercy that his own victims were never
What is disturbing is the almost frenzied demand to watch
the Iraqi dictator’s death. I searched for the video
out of curiosity and was rewarded with several options.
If someone were to type in “Saddam Hussein
Video” or any slight variation into Google, the search
engine responds with a multitude of choices.
People are fascinated with the idea of seeing a man die and
one could argue that it was just this particular man that the
public wished to watch hang.
Hussein ruled with such terror that surrounding countries
cowered, but does that mean we have the right to watch his
The last public execution in the United States was a 1936
hanging in Kentucky. The government has since imposed
restrictions on witnesses of executions.
American terrorist Timothy McVeigh was executed in front of
300 people by closed circuit television. Despite the number
of attendees this was not considered public.
Unless you were involved personally — related to the
victim or to the offender — there is no sane reason to
watch someone’s death. Life is scary enough without
having the image of a corpse swing back and forth.
Hussein was a monster, but we should not be able to watch
him die. Not as a favor to him but as a favor to
Whether it is a dictator or not, one can abstain from seeing
a person hang. For such a video to be totally available to
anyone able to access the Internet is appalling.
Children today are more computer savvy than struggling
parents. I think Hussein should have been executed, but I
should not have the ability to watch it on my laptop. The
Internet is a wild and free place but a little bit of
humanity should exist.
Google Video and YouTube’s media can exhibit morality. I believe deeming an execution video inappropriate is not a severe type of censure. We must draw the line of video postings when it shows the death of an individual.
We should enforce a sense of decency on ourselves. In a society of instantaneous communication, sometimes saying no is best.