gannsno.gifI confess I have not seen the grainy Saddam Hussein execution video via mobile phone. I do not intend to. I do, however, join the Vatican, the Italian government, the British government – even the Cuban government, whose statement obviously reflects their solidly anti-American stance – in deploring the widespread dissemination of Saddam’s execution video.

This isn’t a commentary against the death penalty, nor is it a commentary against the governments of America or Iraq. It’s a commentary, if you will, on the desensitivitization of the general populace, whose blood lust and/or curiosity has fueled the rapid spread of a barbaric act caught on video.

Update: Apparently, several boys have committed suicide, unintentionally for the most part, in copycat Saddam hangings. What did I tell you? Footage like that shouldn’t be shown!

Yes, it has been proven that Hussein was behind some of the most truly atrocious acts ever committed against humanity. Yes, there will be a considerable number of people who will want (demand, even) proof of Hussein’s death at the gallows for sheer retribution for his crimes. Yes, there will be those who will insist that Hussein’s death will bring a new era of peace in Iraq, and therefore will want some evidence that Hussein did, in fact, die.

Having said that, with hits rocketing through the roof for websites that have linked to the gruesome vid, I wonder what the motivation is for a typical blogger for placing the video on his blog.I wonder how many people, who would not have otherwise needed nor wanted to view the video, clicked on it out of sheer curiosity and ended up losing their appetite. According to most blog comments, it wasn’t pretty. I don’t think it’s supposed to be.

In this age of widespread technology, I think we’ve lost sight of the humanity in each other. Regardless of whether or not one supports the death penalty, unless one has become so numbed by death and violence in media, one should not have to encourage the proliferation of what can only be described as a snuff video, over the Internet. While Saddam may not have been a good man, I would not wish his life reduced to mere spectacle, on him or on anyone else. Call it what you will – it has become a spectacle, another reality TV sideshow.

Psychologically speaking, watching someone die or killing someone results in tremendous repercussions that can haunt people to their deathbeds. Just ask survivors of war or crime; speak to one-time murderers in jail; interview soldiers who’ve had to defend your country by putting to death those who would seek to ruin its peace. Putting this video online and encouraging people to watch it is, opens the door to psychological trauma for people who may not be ready to view such footage.

To sum up: it is not in my place to support or condone Iraq’s death penalty, nor is it in my place to say whether Hussein deserved death or clemency. I do think, however, that filming and airing the footage did more harm than good. If you haven’t seen it, please don’t, because its alleged graphic nature could be quite traumatic; if you’ve seen it, I ask of you, please don’t disseminate it any further.

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