A tyranny’s end [Archives:2004/752/Viewpoint]

July 5 2004

The way Saddam Hussein was brought in chains was truly humiliating. For many people, the end of Saddam Hussein's rule in itself, regardless of who caused this end, is an example that other tyrannies all over the world should learn from. It is true that the way he was toppled didn't suit many of the Arab nations. But the essence of this lesson is in the fact that he is now a powerless figure with little more than his own voice to come to his defense. He has been stripped of his mighty military, powerful arsenal, and even his own family members. Today, he stands a lone in front of millions of spectators watching him on TV, some with delight, others with sympathy.
Just as we recall the day when Saddam's statue was toppled, today, we can see him in person behind bars being prosecuted by an Iraqi judge. What is next? That is yet to be known. If he is sentenced to death, then that would be a normal consequence for the long list of accusations he is facing. But if he receives lifetime imprisonment, which is unlikely, that is also humiliating.
What other tyrannies and rulers should learn from this example is that no matter how powerful you may be today, you could easily end up in such a situation in which the same people who once hailed you and greeted you in the streets in the thousands, would be the same ones who watch you with mockery on TV. It is all like a drama, as Saddam said, but which is full of lessons to learn from.
Finally, with little left for him to say, Saddam, in my opinion, should only express regret for causing so much harm to his people directly through oppression and limiting their freedoms, and indirectly by involving them in needless wars. He should also stand up and send a message to his Arab colleagues who continue to oppress their people, in which he would explain that their fate could be similar to his unless they regain the respect of their people by allowing them to live freely without oppression and with true democracy and freedom.
I can't stop wondering whether other Arab leaders learn from such events and act upon them or simply ignore them and go on with their lives as usual. It is up to them to take their decisions in whichever direction they wish, but just as Saddam did and whether for good or bad, they will go through the consequences.