The Incongruous Trial of Saddam


According to some definitions, humor consists of incongruous events and situations. Incongruous means lacking in harmony or inconsistent. In a scientific experiment, boxes which look exactly the same were placed in line, all had the same weight except one which was either much lighter or heavier than the others. The subjects were asked to lift the boxes; everybody thought the odd box was funny just because it was odd, or incongruous. I think Saddam's trial is incongruous but not at all funny.

In a country where every government decision seems to be politicized, Saddam's trial is oddly different. The extent of politicization took a sad turn recently, when the body of a ten-year-old boy was found in a Baghdad morgue, criminal gangs killed him for no reason. Like most murders in Iraq, his death certificate said that “an unknown” killed him and the investigation was closed "in order to preserve national unity." The political excuse of national unity outraged Iraqi society, perhaps because national unity simply did not exist; its use is seen as a cover up for the inadequacy of the police, or maybe because this murder is a sad example of using politics where it doesn’t belong. Saddam’s trial is on the other extreme, a criminal trial where it should be political like almost every other process in Iraq. Many Iraqis understand the motivation behind making the ex-dictator’s trial non-political; we see the historical trend of prosecuting old tyrants all over the world but Saddam’s trial seems like a pretense when basic justice is denied to the rest, like a fig leave which cannot cover the smell of the widespread agony of the Iraqi people. It is time to politicize the trial and end Saddam’s misery in the quickest and most respectful way!

© Copyright 2006 Faisal L. Kadri