What a weird day…
(1) The city of Melbourne is covered in haze of smoke from the bushfires that cover our drought-stricken state of Victoria, the moon as I sit on my balcony this evening is a fuzzy orange ball, and I can smell the odour of the smoke as though I were sitting in a room with an open fireplace.
(2) Saddam Hussein was hanged today.
I can’t quite explain why.
I don’t doubt that he’s responsible for an unimaginable range of atrocities against the people of Iraq, and one would therefore imagine that he “deserves whatever he gets”.
And yet I can’t help but remember the verse “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord”. I’m not an expert on the Koran, so I can’t tell you whether Muslim’s have a similiar concept in their scriptures.
But it doesn’t seem like rocket science to me (granted, I didn’t grow up in the reality that many Iraqi’s have experienced — but I don’t think that invalidates my opinion).
Basically, “an eye for an eye” isn’t going to heal the state of this world. For every people group that effects their own legalised form of punishment, there’s going to be another who feels they’ve been wronged and therefore they should be entitled to mete out their own justice. When’s it ever going to stop?
If we’re not happy with the behaviour of another group, why don’t we go to the opposite extreme to demonstrate an alternative approach?
If Saddam or any other group has been violent, murdered, oppressed, and denigrated millions of people, why would we kill them? Doesn’t that just fuel the fire?
Yes, I’m opposed to the death penalty. But not just because “they might have got the wrong guy” (excellent argument against the death penalty in many cases, but probably not in this situation). Not because the trial was laughable, farcical, political. Not because numerous other cases against Saddam are now likely to never be heard and many victims will never have him convicted of wronging them.
Particularly in this case I’m opposed to it because I think that the only way to introduce peace into the Middle East, and everywhere around the world, is to demonstrate grace, restraint, and fair justice without vindictiveness. Given the bitterness and anger that many people feel against Saddam, this would have been the perfect time to avoid any potential perception of angry retaliation and/or political manipulation which has overpowered any message of justice.
If everybody wants an eye in return for their eye, we’ll all end up blind.