On Sunday the 5th of November an event occurred which shook, and sometimes shocked members of the Iraqi blogosphere; Saddam Hussein was sentanced to death. For those who don't know the court case was in relation to the slaughter of 148 civilians in the town of Dujail 1982, as revenge for a failed attempt to assasinate Saddam Hussein. Iraqi's in the Middle Eastern blogosphere reacted in different ways- but one thing was clear; they know he's guilty, but is he getting off too easy?
The first and most important place to start with this report is over at Asterism. Here Salam Adil has already written a round-up of discussion about the Saddam verdict in the Iraqi Blogosphere; make sure you check it out. Next most important is probably this post by Zeyad from Healing Iraq, also a round-up of the Iraqi blogosphere's responses. Another round-up of responses from the Iraqi blogosphere was also completed this week, however this time not from within the Iraqi blogosphere; the Christian Science Monitor (which conduct's probably the best Iraqi-reporting in American media) have used Iraqi' bloggers as a key source in an article discussing the verdict.The article "Iraq's bloggers weigh in on Hussein death sentence" was written by Arthur Bright and compares the differing responses from George W Bush, the Baath party, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with those of several prominant Iraqi bloggers.
The rest of this roundup will attempt to develop and understand the dominant arguments being presented through the Iraqi blogosphere in relation to the verdict. There are several of these arguments, ranging from those who believe this will have a huge impact, through to those who believe it will make little to no difference at all.
Lets begin with those who obviously don't think this will make Iraq better; there is Fatima and her neighbourhood who aren't celebrating, Truth About Iraqi's, Zuzu thinks the whole charade is organised to increase the tension in iraq. Zeyad thinks this will all play into the hands of al-Sadr and al-Hakim, the post also includes a translation of the response by Shalash al-Iraqi. Sam at "An Iraqi's Thoughts" is glad the verdict has finally come but still see's troubled times ahead for Iraq. Khalid at "Tell Me A Secret" doesn't believe Saddam's sentance will improve the situation at all and believes that Saddam's death will probably be held off until a politically "convenient" time.
Then there's those who are celebrating or think it is atleast a small step forwards; Hammorabi, Dr Nazhad Khasraw Hawramany from "Iraqi Kurdistan", Sooni and probably others. Similarly, Asterism see's this as a gift to the Mehdi army- do some research and make up your own mind about wether that is good or bad for Iraq.
However others think Saddam should not be hung-yet, because thats too easy (Neurotic Iraqi Wife), or that hanging him will make very little difference in the over-all scheme of things. Marshmallow is neither against nor for it, she does not FEEL anything about it; she just wants Iraq to be on it's feet again. Riverbend reminds us that presidents and governments come and go; it's not all about the man it's about the feeling of being a pawn in someone elses game of chess. Hala_S looks at the reality of the situation; even as all this is going on, Iraqi's are still "not allowed to be happy" and are being broken into smaller factions.
There is only one firm conclusion here: Saddam deserve's to suffer for what he has done. Which leaves us with another firm question, is death by hanging enough for a man whose hands are soaked in so much blood?
There were over 150 comments from people all-over the globe on that particular post, and the same or more on most other recent posts at Iraq The Model; this blog is a very successful forum for discussion about Iraq and the Middle East in general. There was much other discussion in the Middle Eastern blogosphere aside from the Pope issue. As usual there are always some stories of hope such as the post "Iraqi Muslim Amongst Jewish People! Felt Welcomed!" from 24 Steps To Liberty, an Iraqi blogger who moved to America very recently.
Truth Teller, the Iraqi doctor who blogs at "A Citizen of Mosul" briefly tells the story of having to move his clinic somewhere safer due to poor the security situation. Discussion about the Middle East outside of the blogosphere tends to be limited to professional opinions, journalistic reporting or discussion about western policy and wars in the area. Just search Google for "Online Discussion" + "Middle East" and see for yourself. However in the Middle Eastern blogosphere, especially for those who delve deep into the comments sections, there is a wealth of practical analysis and discussion about moving forwards. What's most impressive is how some people like the Tel Aviv university lecturer Ze'ev Maoz can breach cultural boundaries and discuss the situation realistically.
I have recently been asked the question "is the blogosphere going to bring a solution to the problems in the Middle East?". To this I must say no, it is not the solution itself, it will definately be part of the solution. But to end this post here is something from Hala_S to remind us that we all come from the same place.