A recent news item that has interested me intently is the recent execution of Saddam Hussein.
I must admit, initial reports of the execution left me feeling somewhat disgusted. Death always leaves me sad in a visceral kind of way. I hate to see something as beautiful as a human being destroyed consciously. Initially, I was pretty shocked by President Bush's comments that this would be a significant step forward for Iraqui democracy.
That was my initial reaction. However, after reading a couple of columns discussing the execution, another side of things came to light. I suppose the gist of this "other side" had to do with the shadowy, threatening figure that Saddam had become in his imprisonment. He was a symbol to many of a past that was marred by terror and death. Saddam alive meant something both to his old allies and his old victims. To his allies, he was a symbol of what still could be. To his victims, he was the same, although their vision of what would be was far different.
Saddam was an evil man who did not repent. He made it clear that given the opportunity, he would do the exact same thing over again. Although the death of any man is tragic, I must admit that I see the good in this one. Hearing the points of view of those to whom he was friend and foe, I can see a past shrugged off. As far as a man can determine his time, Saddam did so during his time in his place. Saddam was a symbol of what was in Iraq, and more than a symbol because he made that history. And the Iraqi people wanted that history to change. Rightfully so.
Saddam was a man given the opportunity to repent, and he would not. In that case a culture must do what is necessary to heal. And that may mean the death of an evil man.
May the Lord have mercy on him.