Sunday, December 31, 2006

Video killed the town-square public hanging – RIP Saddam

What to do with criminal national leaders after deposing them is an age-old problem. If not chummy absolution by the new guard a la Ford and Nixon, the age-old solution, of course, is the other extreme, of summary execution. Preferably in the town-square on market day, but I do believe modern usage permits the said execution to take place on live TV, at least when done on Christmas Day, or arguably another similarly high-profile festive and/or religious occasion.

Perhaps I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but I thought early CNN reports of Saddam’s execution yesterday afternoon (Eastern Australian time) said that it was shown on live TV, at least in Iraq. Today, this seems not to have been the case, despite the whole thing most definitely having been caught on video.

So why the disrespect, people? You got the Haj timing right, at least, but you dithered around for three years before lynching the guy, and then before only a tiny live audience.

This was such slow-motion summary justice that the only person in the world who got a blood-lust boner yesterday was Australian PM John Howard, who grinningly stated that “due process” had taken its course. Even the bellicose-central generalissimo George Bush couldn’t be arsed going before the world’s cameras on the day.

Meanwhile, Howard-loving GenY hover itchy-fingered at YouTube, which passes for their generation’s town-square. Not a single pixel of YouTube, as far as I’m aware, is live. Which means from now on, deposed national leaders can look forward to a purgatory of flickering flinching in teenagers’ bedrooms for ever more.

Some lynch-mob. Happy New Year to the rest of you.

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