The Iraqi government gave the corpse of Saddam Hussein to tribal leaders in Tikrit, and he has been buried near his sons in his homeland. However, like a spectre, he haunts the Internet after his death thanks to a bootleg video of his entire execution taken by a cell phone (via Hot Air, Vince, Curt, and Jawa Report):
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, hanged for crimes against humanity on Saturday, has been buried in the village where he was born 69 years ago.
In a sparsely attended ceremony in Awja, in the Tikrit region north of the capital, the former Iraqi leader was laid to rest in a family plot.
His sons Uday and Qusay, killed by US troops in 2003, are also buried there.
In this case, the US acted as a courier. We flew the body to Tikrit and apparently made the arrangements for the handover. Saddam had built the graveyard during his regime, and apparently had moved his family plots to it at some point. One might worry that this location and the public knowledge of his resting place would allow Saddamites to use it as a rallying point, but the US and the Iraqi government think that the cult of Saddam has exhausted itself.
The video will not get exhausted so quickly. It started making the rounds less than 24 hours after the trap door swung wide to end the dictator’s life, and it has the grainy, shaky quality that will capture the imagination of viewers worldwide. Unlike the quiet edited version released by the Iraqis a few hours after the execution, this features loud voices taunting Saddam as his executioners place the noose around his neck. The videographer had to hide his efforts at two points, but we can clearly see Saddam drop from the platform, and later we see his dead eyes staring up. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
Has the Saddam cult run its course? We’ll soon see. I think it was a mistake to allow Saddam to be buried in Tikrit, of all places, but certainly even the Sunni insurgents had already moved past the notion of Saddam’s restoration towards a more religious dictatorship of the gun and the IED. Some, though, will insist on seeing Saddam as a martyr for Iraqi nationalism, a strange remembrance for a man who killed more Iraqis than anyone else and who fostered the kind of sectarian divide we see now through his genocidal attacks on Kurds, Shi’ites, and Marsh Arabs. (some links via Memeorandum)
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