forum spoke of the recent execution of Saddam
Baghdad. This prompted the idea to introduce "Tales
Of The Fallen" depicting two executions of head of states. One
from the West: King Charles I of England and a parallel theme
from our East, that of the hanging of
President of Iraq.
first tale is from one of the most troubled periods of British history.
the reigns of James I and Charles I, and culminating in the
English Civil War and the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell in the
century, there were significant swings back and forth between two factions:
the Evangelical Puritans ( the Puritan middle class) who sought more
far-reaching reform, and the more conservative churchmen (Catholics and
English aristocracy ) who aimed to keep closer to traditional beliefs and
the time of the rein of King Charles I, the king finally clashed
with the Parliament which was dominated by the Puritans. The Puritans,
or "Roundheads" as they were called, challenged his attempts to
augment his own power— as they were hostile to his religious policies and
apparent Catholic sympathy.
Cromwell's foreign policy was prompted by biased religious fervor,
and under him the Commonwealth became head and protectress of Protestant
Europe. He realized the salvation of the Commonwealth lay in a strong
executive backed by an army.
a result, Cromwellian government has been branded as one of the first experiments
in (de facto) military dictatorship; the so-called ‘Rule of the Major
Generals. Under its rule, the civil war of 1641–53 raged to imprecedent
levels. Catholic sympathy for the king had resulted in the death
or exile of over 600,000 people, or around one third of Ireland's
pre-war population. In the wake of the Cromwellian conquest, the public
practice of Catholicism was banned and Catholic priests were executed when
1, 1648, Cromwell's army advanced on London and carried
off the King to Hurst Castle. Subsequently, on
the 4, 1649, the Commons invested themselves with “the Supreme Authority,”
and on the 9th, the High-Court of Justice to try the King was proclaimed.
When this pageant of the High Court of Justice assembled, it was discovered
that in reality, two-thirds of the members had been drawn out of the Army.
I was convicted for high treason. In the last interview
with his children, Charles told Princess Elizabeth, among
other things, that his death would be glorious, for he would die for the
laws and liberties of the Land. He woudl die a Martyr.
Three days intervened between the sentence and the execution which he faced
on Tuesday, January 30, 1649 at Whitehall. The weather was cold,
the King desired to wear extra shirts, as Charles thought that wearing
extra shirts was enough to prevent the cold January weather causing any
noticeable shivers which the crowd could have easily have mistaken for
fear or weakness. “ the season is sharp, and probably may
make me shake, which some will imagine proceeds from fear."
"I would have
no such imputation. I fear not death—death is not terrible to me!
I bless my God, I am prepared. Let the Rogues come!”
history has not revealed all that passed during those awful hours.
We know, however, that the warrant for the execution was not signed until
a few minutes before the King was led to the scaffold. Assembled
in an apartment in the palace, Cromwell, with four of his Colonels
were squabbling. A Colonel named Huncks refused to sign the
warrant—Cromwell would have no further delay, reproaching the Colonel as
peevish, cowardly fellow,” while Colonel Axtell declared
that he was ashamed for his friend Huncks.
the same time, the King being led to scaffold, looked towards St. James’
and smiled! Curious eyes were watchful of his slightest motions;
and the Commonwealth papers of the day express their surprise, perhaps
their vexation, at the unaltered aspect and the firm step of the Monarch.
The last triumph, at least, was not reserved for the executioners,—it was
for the King.
dauntless, strode the floor of Death of the specially built scaffold,
holding his head high and his countence serene. As he faced the crowd
of spectators, soldiers were compelled by their commanders to shout
insults and taunts at the King. In response Charles said:
"I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown: where no disturbance
can have place.“ He was the Martyr of the People.
Thence, turning himself toward some persons in the assembly, Charles
said, “There are some sitting here that well know, that if I would have
forfeited or betrayed the liberties and rights of the people, I need not
have come hither."
few moments later, with one massive blow, his head was severed from his
body. A man in a (mask) performed the office of executioner. Another, in
like disguise, held up to the spectators the head, streaming with blood,
and cried aloud "This is the head of a traitor." The
crowd groaned as the act took place. Later that day Cromwell was
heard to say over the body of Charles 'cruel necessity'.
Charles was buried on the 7th of February, 1649. The monarchy
was then abolished, and a republic was established, called the Commonwealth
King's execution shocked the whole of Europe. He was buried at Windsor
rather than Westminster Abbey to avoid the possibility of public
disorder. Charles' personal dignity during his trial and execution had
won him much sympathy. His death created a cult of martyrdom around
him, which was encouraged by the publication of a book of his supposed
meditations during his final months, Eikon Basilike. The
ideal of Charles the Martyr helped to sustain the Royalist cause
throughout the Commonwealth and Protectorate years which lasted until
two years after Cromwell's death in 1658. The Restoration
of King Charles II in May 1660 was at the invitation of Parliament,
and followed the abdication of Cromwell's son Richard.
In an act of of retribution, Cromwell's corpse was dug up,
hung in chains, and beheaded.
second tale is from Iraq, where dark forces have invaded the country and
occupied it for the last 4 years. A defiant Saddam Husayn
is put on trial. All along he challenged the legality of the proceedings,
which he said were brought about by the "invasion forces".
This is his story as it unraveled in the last moments of his life.
the predawn hours of Saturday 30 December 2006, Saddam
the grim news of his impending execution scheduled for the start of `iyd
al-Adha. Before he left the camp, Saddam from
went man to man, thanking each of the guards for looking after him during
the latter stages of his 1,110 days in solitary confinement.
military officials then took Saddam from his prison
cell near the Baghdad airport, and flew him in a Black Hawk
helicopter to the Green Zone. At 5:15 a.m., Saddam landed at Mu`askar
al-`adalah (Camp Justice), the American military post in the
Kazimiyah district of northern Baghdad. There, they
handed Saddam over to the Iraqis.
two additional American helicopters flew 14 witnesses from the Green Zone
to the execution site.
protect himself from the before dawn bitter cold during the short trip,
wore a 1940s-style wool cap, a scarf and a long black coat over a white
dress shirt. His hands and legs were shackled. Saddam
holding a Qur'an in his hands. When the general prosecutor
asked him to whom he wanted to give his Qur'an, he replied: Bandar,
the son of Awad al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the
Revolutionary Court who was also to be executed soon.
was taken upstairs to the gallows, he was reciting, as it was his custom,
"God is great" and also some political slogans such as down with
the Americans and down with the invaders.
mounted the gallows calmly, without saying a word. He was resolute and
courageous. At one point, he turned his head toward the prosecutor
as if to say ''don't be afraid''.
said: we are going to Heaven, our enemies will rot in hell, and he called
for forgiveness and love amongst Iraqis but also stressed that the Iraqis
should fight the Americans and the Iranians.
the rope was put around his neck, Saddam shouted one
more time, “God is great!” The nation will be victorious and Palestine
is forever Arab. Saddam showed no fear or remorse.
He held his head high refusing to allow a guard to place a hood over his
head. They stared at each other briefly as the executioners explained to
him that the thick rope could cut through his neck. Saddam
suggested using the scarf he had worn earlier to keep that from happening.
69-year-old leader appeared calm as he stood on the high platform, with
a deep hole beneath it. He was chatting to his burly, leather-jacketed
executioners as they wrapped his neck first in black cloth then a thick
hemp rope and steered him forward on a metal platform.
al-Ruba`iy, Iraq’s national security adviser, asked then Saddam
if he had any remorse or fear.
he said bluntly. “I am a militant and I have no fear for myself. I have
spent my life in jihad and fighting aggression. Anyone who takes this route
should not be afraid.” He said: this is my end, this is the end of
my life, but I started my life as a fighter and as a political militant
so death does not frighten me.
who witnessed Saddam's execution, said that Saddam
was not afraid of anyone. In fact Saddam was
in full control, aware of his fate and he knew he was about to face death.
offered prayers, the guards shouted praise for Muqtada al-Sadr,
the radical Shiite cleric whose father is believed to have been murdered
by Saddam's regime. They chanted, "Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada!"
mixing sarcasm and disbelief, swung his head in their direction and spat
at them. He was outraged at this last-minute provocation, and told them
to go to hell.
smiled, "Is this how you show your bravery as men?" he asked. Straight
to hell, someone shouted back at him. "Is this the bravery of Arabs?"
said in defiance. A sole voice was heard trying to silence the taunts.
"Please, I am begging you not to...," the unknown man said. "The
man is being executed."
taunt was a last stab at Malikiy's Shiite-led ruling coalition,
which many Iraqi Sunnis accuse of being a front for Iranian influence.
the guard stepped away, granting Saddam's wish to
leave his face uncovered, Saddam had a last opportunity
to speak his final words. He said. "I hope you will be united,
and I warn you not to trust the Iranian coalition, because they are dangerous."
said a last prayer. Then, with his eyes wide open, no stutter or choke
in his throat, he said his final words cursing the Americans and the Iranians.
rope was then wrapped around his neck, his hands were tied, Saddam
prayed, got halfway through the shihadah. “There is no God but
God, and Muhammad...” The trapdoor swung open. He seemed to
fall a good distance, but he died swiftly. After just a minute, his body
was still. His eyes still were open as death came rapidly. Despite the
scarf, the rope cut a gash into his neck. It was 6:10 a.m.
hangmen made no effort to hide their allegiance, taunting the deposed Iraqi
leader with the name of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Afterwards, they danced around Saddam's corpse.
after the execution, the state-run television channel, Iraqiyah, began
to run edited video, without sound, of the run-up to the hanging.
The video showed Saddam being guided up the
steps to the top of the gallows, a scarf being put around his neck and
then the noose placed over his head and tightened on his neck. Then
in the evening, another video of the hanging popped up, this time being
shown on Al-Jazeera and Arabiyah. The new video shot on a
cell phone gave of Saddam’s last moments a very different
account from the edited, silent version that the Iraqi government had released
now know that the Iraqi National Police unit the Americans turned Saddam
over to was in fact a Shiy'ah lynch mob headed by Iraq’s national
security adviser Muwaffaq al-Rabiy`iy AKA (Kariym Shahbuwriy)
an Iranian national masquerading as an Iraqi.
the execution as we now see it, was shown to be an ugly, degrading business,
which was more reminiscent of a public hanging in the 17th Century than
a considered act of 21st Century official justice. Saddam
was executed 56 days after the death sentence was passed, after Iraq's
highest court rejected an appeal on 25 December.
the balance sheet of Saddam legacy still awaits to
be clarified by history yet to come, Saddam died convinced
in his last stand, that his courage and defiant soul will fire a legend
that will burn brightly in a future Arab-centered world.
week since Saddam Husayn was hanged
in an execution steeped in sectarian overtones, his public image in the
Arab world, formerly that of a convicted dictator, has undergone a resurgence
of admiration and awe. There has been revulsion around the world, with
many leaders condemning the way in which the sentence was carried out.
canceled celebrations of the feast of `Iyd al-Adha after the execution.
A government statement said a statue depicting Saddam
in the gallows would be erected, along with a monument to `Umar Mukhtar,
who resisted the Italian invasion of Libya and was hanged by the Italians
the Arab streets, in newspapers and over the Internet, Saddam
emerged as an Arab hero who stood calm and composed as his Shiite executioners
harassed, tormented and abused him.
one will ever forget the way in which Saddam was executed,”
Husniy Mubarak remarked, they turned
him into a martyr.
the bungled hanging of Saddam Husayn, an initiative
by the Italian capital’s left-wing mayor Walter Veltroni, the arches
of the world-famous 2,000-year-old Roman era stadium were lit up in protest
as night fell.
more the American's reveled in Saddam's humiliation,
the more surely they set in motion the process of his ennoblement.
stood as strong as a mountain while he was being hanged,” said Ahmad
al-Ghamrawiy, the former Egyptian ambassador to Iraq.
died a strong president and lived as a strong president. This is the image
people were left with.”
posthumes pour Saddam Hussein, par Mouna Naïm
De la Palestine au
Cachemire, des populations musulmanes ont défilé dans les
rues pour protester contre l'exécution de Saddam Hussein. De Bahreïn
au Liban, des rassemblements de condoléances ont été
organisés en la mémoire de l'ancien président irakien.
De Riyad à Alger, des oulémas ont joint leurs voix aux protestations.
Plusieurs dirigeants de pas musulmans, où la peine de mort est pourtant
presque partout la règle, ont déploré la pendaison
de leur ancien pair irakien. Faute de l'avoir suffisamment sanctifié
de son vivant, d'aucuns l'ont fait post-mortem.
irakien n'a pourtant jamais été l'icône transfrontalière
que furent à un moment ou un autre, en leur temps, feu les anciens
présidents égyptien Gamal Abdel Nasser et palestinien Yasser
Arafat. Aussi, bien plus qu'une réhabilitation de l'ancien dictateur
irakien et du bilan de son long règne, l'hommage qui lui a été
rendu après sa mort - "il a vécu en homme et est mort
en héros" - traduisait-il un sentiment de colère contre
un état des lieux arabe et musulman perçu comme désormais
soumis aux diktats des Etats-Unis. Jamais bien loin, même s'ils n'ont
pas toujours été montrés du doigt, une kyrielle de
dirigeants arabes et musulmans n'ont pas été épargnés,
jugés au mieux pusillanimes, au pis inféodés à
Le timing de la pendaison
- à l'aube du premier jour de la fête d'Al-Adha - a suscité
partout une vague d'indignation, y compris de la part des gouvernements.
Mais certains oulémas, tout en déplorant le choix de ce moment,
ont fait valoir qu'aucun texte sacré n'interdit la mise en application
de la peine de mort à pareille occasion. Partout, les images volées
de l'exécution - "sauvages et répugnantes", selon les termes
du président égyptien Hosni Moubarak - ont choqué,
tant elles reflétaient un climat de haine et de vengeance perçues
davantage comme étant intermusulmanes (chiite envers l'ancien président
sunnite) que dirigées contre l'ancien tyran.