Saddam execution: What have we learned from it?

This post compares the instant reactions posted on this site of Saddam Hussein’s execution, with stories which have subsequently emerged.

I posted my immediate and personal reactions to Saddam’s execution hours after learning the news. My intention was to compare them with subsequent reactions world-wide, and to incorporate discussion points raised on this site.

The World-wide reactions

Since that posting, two inter-related aspects of the actual execution have generated an enormous level of interest and violent reaction around the world.

The first of these were the unofficial and graphic images of the execution. These were rapidly diffused through the internet, with traditional news media following-up with varying degrees of censorship.

The second issue, indisputably revealed in the unofficial videos, was what has widely been judged as unacceptable conduct at the scene. This involved the taunting of someone about to die, by some witnesses at the execution.

Chuntering and churning

Much of the web traffic captured the way so many people are turning to the internet to find some comfort for expressing deeply held emotions. There is a sharing of anger, pain, indignation, frustration.

The pay-off is through instant release rather than any evidence that there will be much re-appraisal of ideas or beliefs. In another context (Management of change) this has been referred to as churning not changing. Perhaps this is more chuntering than changing. The web offers some therapeutic solace.

The messages on this site

In contrast, the messages posted to this site offered more scope for unearthing fresh perspectives. That sounds smug. If so it’s to do with the limited access to the posting. The quality of the comments has much to do with the way in which a new site has its earliest visitors through a quite small network of contributors, a high proportion of whom have been actively solicited and selected from the Bogger’s existing network. They tend to be selected as people who are respected for their capacity to make such contributions.

The discussion explored the dilemma facing ‘insiders’, who must have struggled with the possibility of creating a martyr. Moral issues were raised, including a 11th century moral principle of subsidiary and ‘stealing other people’s decisions’.

Other elements of the discussion touched on the social constuctivist argument that we create and ultimately destroy our heroes and anti-heroes. Poets from Donne to T S Eliot were invoked. One poet that might have been invoked was Oscar Wilde. During his famous stay in Reading Gaol there was an execution, and Wilde wrote movingly of imprisonment, in the Ballad of Reading Goal:

Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss
The brave man with a sword.

Note on comments

Further comments to this post are no longer being published.

4 Responses to Saddam execution: What have we learned from it?

  1. Martin Cahill says:

    My apologies for posting an unrelated comment, but congratulations on the design and development of ‘Leaders We Deserve’, Tudor. I’ve been reading your posts over the Christmas period, and I can only say it has galvanised my resolve for doing more of this stuff.

    In one simple swoop we have broken down the bricks and mortar so evident in any business school. We can all hear from one another, and much more besides. If this is all it does, it is worth it, but I refer to a post I made earlier on Peter’s site:

    “I am in the midst of preparing my philosophy essay in which I make one or two bold claims. They may well be refuted, but I think the management sciences, information system theory, and even the sciences and academia themselves are on the verge of a paradigm change. Take academia – publishing is now only a click away. We no longer require the committee or the revered barriers to entry to filter our thoughts and ideas. We are all creative thinkers and we all have a voice. Many will concern themselves with standards – How do we assess the method and results of the research? I would suggest the level of interest and readership around any one idea would be proof of any concept, not to mention the speed of feedback and positive or negative impressions made upon it.

    This really is time to dismantle our social constructions of reality.”

    Keep leading the way, all!!

  2. hillbilly says:

    This made me think a lot. I can’t help feeling unhappy at Blair (especially) commenting on the manner of Saddam Hussein’s death. Of course it was wrong and ugly and brutal but so have been so many deaths in Iraq. I wonder what other horror videos are out there on the web, and I wonder why they don’t attract comment.

  3. Tudor says:

    The blogging experience seems another twist in the story of communications. It’s a one of the cluster of beta innovations if we seethe www as an alpha innovation. After Schumpeter, we would expect the blog innovatio both create and destroy.

    Thanks to the cheerleaders who got me off the bench.

    One element is the trade-offs between ‘going public’ and retaining some form of anonymity. I am (just about) retaining anonymity, although it’s only a convenience device as I start out in this game. I’m a bit fatalistic about this, and hope it will turn out to be unimportant. It’s partly what each individual wants from his or her investment in the blog. By the way, as far as I can tell, Susan is the only card-carrying female (pace Johnny Cash..) in the pioneering group of discussants. That’s something definitely making an effort to change. Don’t want to belong to another ol’ boys association, smug and snug.

  4. Tudor says:

    Comments are about to be suspended , as the post seems to have attracted wearisome levels of computerized spam on a regular basis.

    Any serious subscriber can use another post to enter dialogue.

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