Reader Emad Hassan drew my attention to Imad Hajjaj’s latest cartoon, which I found personally annoying. In the cartoon he refers to Saddam’s trial as an act of "humiliation to Arabs." As an Arab, I was not humiliated; quite the contrary I am glad justice is being served.
The only thing that bothers me about the trial is how arrogant Saddam appeared to be, showing absolutely no signs of repentance for the crimes against humanity that he committed during the days of his oppressive regime.
In both Iraq and Lebanon, the many citizens whose lives and families were affected by murderous regimes are hoping that the regimes’ leaders will be dealt heavy punishments by the courts.
If carried out properly, the trials of Saddam and former Lebanese and Syrian regime figures will mark a turning point in the history of the Arab world. Holding rulers accountable to the rule of law is unheard of in the region, where dictators, royal families and despots have habitually acted with impunity.
Indeed, it is a turning point in the history of the Arab world. It is not an act of humiliation as Hajjaj suggests. But then again Hajjaj might be playing on the emotions of the Jordanian street, where support for the popular Saddam is fierce. So Mr Hajjaj, although I really admire your work, this time you got it wrong.
UPDATE: Amir Taheri has a compelling piece about Saddam’s trial in the Times of London. Here is one excerpt:
Saddam is enjoying what he denied his victims: a public trial with defense lawyers of his choice and the rule of evidence taking into account the principle of reasonable doubt. Here a new Iraq, based on the rule of law, will be trying the old Iraq of cruelty and corruption. The Arabs will watch and decide which they would rather live under. The rest of the world should also watch to decide which side to support in the struggle for Iraq’s future.