Like most civilised people, I have serious misgivings about the execution of Saddam. Not that, morally, the mass-murdering bastard didn’t deserve it; just that:
1/ keeping him in permanent captivity seemed a more appropriate and less martyr-like fate;
2/ it seems doubtful that his execution will diminish sectarian tensions in Iraq – and it may even increase them by further alienating the Sunni middle class;
3/ it denied the Kurds the opportunity to have Saddam tried for mass murder/genocide over the Anfal campaign;
4/ it allows people like Kamil Mahdi (Iraqi expatriate, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter university, quoted in the Guardian of December 30), to say things like this: “It will be taken as an American decision. The worst thing is that it’s an issue which in an ideal situation, should have unified Iraq but the Americans have divided Iraq” (strangely, though, in the same Guardian article, one Toby Dodge, “expert on Iraq at Quenn Mary College London university “, opposes the execution on the grounds that “it completes the Islamicisation of the insurgency”);
5/ I am, in principle opposed to capital punishment. Even for Saddam. Even for Hitler. But I’m not going to sign any petitions or go on any marches over the execution of mass murderers, war criminals or other friends of Mr George Galloway, should they be finally brought to justice;
4/ Finally, there’s the old “victor’s justice” argument. It’s true that Saddam’s trial and execution are “victor’s justice”. As were the Nuremburg trials…
But, perhaps “victor’s justice” is better than no justice at all.
It’s certainly better than this sort of disingenious apologia for Saddam, from his erstwhile supporters in Britain, who now no longer have the guts to come out openly and state where they stand. On balance, I have more sympathy with Sham, whose raw anger is at least honest.
The most thoughtful comment I’ve read on the execution came from Fouad Ajami (author of The Foreigner’s Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq), writing in today’s (UK) Sunday Times. I strongly suspect (though I don’t know for sure), that Ajami supported the war. That would not, in my view, invalidate the following assessment:
“It will be said on the “Arab street” and by the critics of the Iraq war worldwide, that this verdict, and the entire judicial process that issued the death sentence, were an affair of the American occupation, cut to America’s political needs. Iraqis from Kurdistan to Basra will pay these qubbles no heed.
“If it took a foriegn war to bring about this justice, and to introduce into Arab politics the principle of politcal accountability, so be it.
“So much of the political and economic life of the Arabs today – the satellite television channels railing against the West in perfectly good western idiom, the oil industry that sustains practically all that plays out in the region – has its origins in western lands.
“Nuremburg, too, was victor’s justice. The Iraqis who endured the tyranny while the world averted its gaze from their suffering are owed their moment of satisfaction”.
Will Rubbish is a bad, bad man. But he does make exceedingly good YouTube videos.
This says it all. Made shortly after he was arrested, it’s still just as relevant today.
Have been listening to Radio Galloway on the subject, which has already offered me a number of things to talk about, but if you will indulge me gentle reader, I’ll hold off that until tomorrow – just in case he’s on again and has anything to add…
Just a quick point which I thought I’d make in public (cos it does look a bit dodgy – hat tip to Dave in the comments) with regards to mis amigos Lalamimi and Wanderslore. The more hawk-eyed amongst you will have noticed that they no longer appear in the sidebar as contributors to this site. This isn’t because I’ve suddenly turned all Gerry Healy over Christmas and cast all PSC’ers and ex-Millies into the outer darkness. Nor have I thrown a pathetic hissy fit over a perceived slight like some people I could mention. So fear not.
It’s just a technical matter due to this blog having been forced finally (in spite of my valiantly ignoring the prompts for some time) to switch over to new version of Blogger. Mike was already on the new version thanks to his own site having already made the switch. And in spite of a number of false starts, and in spite of much cursing and muttering of “this is all fucking beyond me, this is”, I managed to pilot Denham through the process a few days ago. Larry seems to have worked it out sans assistance, resourceful young man that he is.
So Lala and Wanders, just follow the prompts when you log in and you should be sorted. If there’s a problem, let me know and we’ll try to sort something out. And be quick about it – people are starting to talk…
At the risk of boring you all with trivia (if you want so see something topical, go look at the BBC; apparently they’re gonna hang Saddam Hussein or summat), I thought I’d update you on my ban situation, gentle reader. Since updating my last post on the subject, and even posting kind comments to the SWP Kevin the Teenager bloggers concerned offering praise for their intestinal fortitude upon the reinstatement of my comments and the lifting of my ban, it seems that the lads have had another lapse of confidence. Ergo, out yet again went the comments, and yours truly is once again banned from their site. Perhaps they detected some hint of sarcasm in my praising their courage for allowing me to laugh at them… perhaps they just crapped themselves again like they did the first time.
Either way little fellas, it’s a pretty rum show – can’t we all just get along? Even if you do name yourselves after kids’ cartoon characters, I’m sure you can have a moment of maturity and take the hand of friendship when it’s offered to you… here’s a gesture. I’m sooorrry that I pissed myself with laughter when you said that the political “Vermin” of last year was the National Union of Students bureaucracy (who in taking the title presumably beat General Pinochet, George Bush, Nick Griffin, Vladimir Putin and Saddam Hussein, amongst others). I really am. And I’ll let you all go to the movies next Saturday and I’ll un-ground you too. And I’ll even let you stay up late to watch Newsnight, but not until John Rees is next on.
You see now what a big hearted guy I can be?
Apparently, the Tories – under new, trendy new leader Webcameron – have come up with a list of “12 poeple who made Britain great”, who they propose should be studied in schools.
The Independent, quite rightly, is taking the piss out of this moronic concept of history…
Unfortunately, they have (today, 27 December) asked the posh mockney comedian “Mark Steel” to take the piss…out of common decency and working-class solidarity. Ironic, isn’t it: because “Mark ‘Steel’ Steel” claims to be some sort of leftie?
Steel writes the following in today’s Independent:
“Or whatever she’s called now. Here was a woman who responded to the occupation her peoples’ land by attacking the invading forces, and burning down towns, including London. To which the Romans declared: ‘But why doesn’t anyone look at the positive things that are happening?” and insisted job was done and the insugents defeated”.
What exactly does this twat Steel mean by the above?
1/ That all invasions are bad and must be resisted? (ie: that the allies should have got out of Germany in 1945?, and Saddam is right to denounce the “invaders”);
2/ That the muderers of trade unionists and democrats in Iraq are a legitimate national liberation movement?
3/ That “comedians” know a lot about politics and should be given columns in national newspapers to spout fucking bollocks?
…actually, Steel’s worst sin is… apart from coming out with standard SWP-type anti-working-class crap, is…not being funny: which, given that his politics are rubbish, doesn’t leave him with much in his favour, really.
Funny, in a slightly gross way… anyhow, a very merry Christmas to all our readers!
I know that the bastard offspring of fascist-dictator-loving George Galloway and anti-Israel-obsessed Socialist Workers Party’s unnatural liaison, “Respect”, doesn’t claim to be “socialist”, or even “social democrat”…but even so:
“Stratford Road residents and traders do not want the Red Route. It will hurt 1000 small businesses that line the Stratford Road, and will only save the motorist a measly few minutes…
“Local traders have delivered to the city council a 3,000 signature petition from local people opposing the Red Route…
“Cllr Salma Yaqoob has been fighting for the rights of local traders and residents
“She challenged the council decision in a City Council meeting on economic and legal grounds and delivered petition (sic) “.
All the above comes from the election leaflet of Mohammed Suleman, “Respect” candidate for Birmingham Springfield next May.
The “red route” issue is a matter that local businesmen in Sparkhill (part of Springfield ward) hae been raising for some time. It is all about their trade and profits. The real issue is about clearing the Stratford Road for ease of traffic and safety of local residents: but “Respect”, with their communalistic approach to politics, naturally side with the local businessmen, rather than local working-class people – Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and white: most of whom think the Red Route is a good idea.
By the way: a local Lib Dem tells me that Salma Yaqoob and her people have done a deal with the local Labour Party in Sparkhill, Birmingham: her people have already agreed that the weak candidate Mohammed Suleman (rather than Salma Iqbal, who stood and did quite well at the last local election), will be the ‘Respect’ candidate in Springfield – thus ensuring that the Labour candidate, Mohammed Fazal, retains his seat.
In exchange, it will be ensured that Roger Godsiff retains his parliamentary nomination for the Labour Party, and “Respect”‘s people in the Labour party will all vote for Godsiff. They calculate that Godsiff is the candidate they can most likely defeat at the general election…
The person behind this deal is a long-standing Labour Party and Lib Dem “fixer” within the Mirpuri community: and now “Respect” are part of the communalist equation, dragging Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers down into the mire of communalism and corruption: they didn’t start it, but they are all too willing to play the game.
Something I forgot to mention in my previous post about the “new union”, to be formed (if the members agree in a ballot), by the amalgamation of the T&G and Amicus: the only “left” intervention against the amalgamation at the December 19th recall BDC, was from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP): their leaflet (given out at the conference) stated:
“Does the merger of the T&G and Amicus strengthen workers in their battles in the workplace and in their wider struggles in society? Will this merger strengthen the trade union movement and its ability to take on the bosses and win?
“Socialist Worker supporters in the T&G don’t think it will”.
However: the only SWP member in any prominent position within the T&G is Jimmy Kelly, the Chair of the union. Jimmy is outspoken in his support for the amalgamation. So what does he think of the SWP leaflet? “Bollocks”. How does he reconcile his support for the amalgamation with the SWP’s opposition: “I’m a member of the Irish group; they are a completely seperate orgainisation from the British SWP”.
I promised, a little while back, to give you some film of the great Anita O’Day singing “Sweet Georgia Brown”: here it is. Since then, we have heard of the deaths of Jay McShann (Charlie Parker’s first boss), Kenny Davern, and (most recently), Mick Mulligan (George Melly’s first badleader) : I will have more to tell you about Mulligan in the new year.
In the meanwhile, here’s Anita: