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Capital Punishment: Beyond Saddam

First let me wish you a blessed year 2007. I believe with all my heart that God is going to do you good throughout this year.

That said, however, it appears like the world continues to dangerously teeter towards the abyss; all this despite the many forays into seeking an amicable solution to the problems that ravage humankind.

Year 2006 ended on a rather distressing note by the execution of former Iraq dictator, Saddam Hussein. As I watched the hooded executioners tighten the noose around his neck, I could not help but wonder what that act was supposed to achieve.

It's true Saddam deserved to be punished for, among other sins, gassing his fellow countrymen just because they had differing viewpoints. But does executing Saddam atone for the myriad of sins he committed?

My quick answer is no!

I feel that executing Saddam was a desperate attempt to quell the crisis in Iraq with one fell swoop. This was done, in my opinion, as a quick-fix solution to, once and for all; bring an end to the violence that has continued to visit Iraq since Saddam was captured by the American forces.

Although the jury is still out as to whether Saddam's execution succeeded in quelling violence in Iraq, the post-Saddam violence that continues to rock that country seems to suggest that it's still too early to celebrate.
As a human being, Saddam was not evil but because of the crimes he committed, he came to personify evil to the extent that it seemed like evil was wrapped up in him. And as he was led to the gallows, I would imagine the thinking among some quarters that the evil he personified would follow him to the grave.

I contend here that although Saddam is dead, the evil he personified is still lurking; not only in Iraq, but in the whole world. Capital punishment, however justified it may appear at the time, is not a sure deterrent as the courts would have us believe. And even if it were, how can the death of one person atone for the deaths of thousands?

There is no justice in the death penalty. Penance, I submit, is more releasing and acceptable than the death penalty. Even as he felt the noose tighten around his neck, Saddam had no apologies to make, not even to the members whose families he gassed!

Saddam was punished (for the less than the 15 minutes it took to draw the last breath from his body); but justice was not served. Perhaps if he was jailed for life with no option for parole, he may have lived to own up to his sins and apologise to all he caused to suffer. This would have been justice.

I pray that year 2007 will see a new world order; a new way of doing things. We need to shift from a paradigm of revenge to that of atonement. Punishment only inflicts pain to the culprit; it does not necessarily result in penance. Capital punishment only ensures that the culprit will never get a chance to apologize and mend their ways. It does not only deny justice; it destroys it!

Submitted by:

Innocent M Gathungu

Innocent Mwangi is a motivational and inspirational writer and speaker. For more informationand other articles like this one, visit his websites at http://www.ssmk.net and at http://www.realopportunity.org




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