By Donovan Baldwin
First of all, despite the title of this article, Saddam Hussein did evil things, and, if there are consequences to come from actions, then he probably got what he deserved...leaving aside any discussions about hanging or other forms of capital punishment.
However, once the verdict was announced and my wife and I became aware that Saddam Hussein was, indeed, going to be executed in days, or even hours, we each agreed on one thing. We felt sorry for Saddam.
I know that her sorrow comes from her personal convictions as a Christian and as an essentially kind person. Mine, however follow a slightly different path.
At least once upon a time, Saddam Hussein loved someone and was loved in return. At some time, he played with his children. Even now, after atrocities which have been perpetrated within his own family with consequences for his own children, his daughter spoke of how kind a father he was and how she could approach him for advice and counsel.
Many fathers who are not proclaimed by world tribunals to be monsters can only wish their children felt so well about them.
How different might the world have been for all of us, and for Saddam Hussein and his family, if somehow the love and affection he experienced for and from his daughter had found a means of extending itself to the world at large. Saddam was a passionate man with the daring, skill, and will to change the world he found into something else. If only he had used the skills and talents given him by whatever God there is to make the world better for all within his sphere of influence, what a different story might be playing out in the Middle East, and around the entire world at this time.
Christianity has been used as an excuse for Christians to massacre Jews and Muslims. Islam has been used as an excuse for Muslims to murder Jews and Christians. Judaism has been used as an excuse for Jews to fight and kill both Christians and Muslims.
True, in some cases, there are other apparently valid reasons for the murder and mayhem which ensued, but often there was either an overlay or undertone supplied by the religious beliefs of the combatants. I use the term "religious beliefs" in place of "religion" because often it is the interpretation of the basic tenets of a religion which provide the impetus for atrocity.
Those like Saddam Hussein, in view of the events unfolding around the world, are examples of how religious beliefs can rule more than just the man who claims that belief. The beliefs within the man, especially the man with the power to act upon them, become the policies, and sometimes the wars, of the nations they lead.
As a New Year approaches, let us hope that from the death of Saddam Hussein will arise a new view of religion and relationships and a world will be created in which a man or woman can hope to grow to be a leader and protector of all, and not just those who wear the same vestments, speak the same language, or worship the same God.
Maybe then, Saddam Hussein will have had a hand in the rejuvenation of the world, but only if we, the living, can find it in our hearts...Sunni, Shiite, Sufi, Hindu, Jew, Christian, Bhuddist, or whatever...to learn what happens when faith becomes a tool for torture and belief an excuse for intolerance.
I am sorry that Saddam Hussein's final vision of the world around him was the hangman's noose and not the smiling faces of his children and grandchildren. I am sorry for the happiness he could have received and could have given, but which somehow never came to be. I am sorry for the tyrant who condemned whole villages to annihilation, and I am sorry for an old, weary, gray-haired man who was told that he must hang for having been that tyrant.
Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area writer, and an internet and network marketing professional. A University Of West Florida alumnus (1973) with a BA in accounting, he is a member of Mensa and has held several managerial positions. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, he became interested in internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. He has a blog on writing and poetry at http://ravensong-poetry.blogspot.com .
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