Baghdad, Iraq - Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging for his role in the death of 184 Shiites in al-Dijail case today, ending a long courtroom session that witnessed the death of several people involved in the ordeal more than one year from the date the whole facade started.
Other sentences included two other deaths for notorious courtdroom drama bad boy Ibrahim Barazan al-Tikriti (Abu Uday's half-bro) and Awad al-Bandar, head of the Revolution's Court. A life sentence plus some other sentences to be carried out in death for Taha Yassin Ramadhan, and other prison sentences (7, 15) for three other nameless dudes, and one clearance.
Asked about his performance on the trial, Saddam Hussein said that he could've done a lot better and that his performance sounded robotic and uneven, no where near his accolade-earning performances in earlier seasons, while we all respect the great multiple-award winning figure for his fiery and inspirational performances earlier on, he felt like speaking monolgues on cue even while brandishing his Quran, he said that he will be studying performances of Jack Nicholsons in 'A Few Good Men' and Al Pacino's 'Scent of A Woman' and 'And Justice for All' for inspiration for his next performances, which is unlikely that there ever will be - supporting actors like Taha Yassin Ramadhan and Awad Fadhil al-Bandar trotted out usual fares in their comfortable propaganda characters, especially chuckleworthy was the brittle parting speech of Ramadhan, in which he proclaimed: "I know that this court cannot keep me alive nor will it terminates me, but it is only in the will of God and the Mujahideen." He himself looked bored by the drone of such familiar words, they did not even make sense on his tribal, criminal face. This is always bad for actors, and it is rumored that Ramadhan might lose his contract if he keeps up these muddy performances.
Co-star Barazan al-Tikiriti however remained as controversial as ever, ending his role in a surprise twist of calm deadpan delivery: 'Congratulations.', retaining his unpredictable flavor. He later said that this was an improvisation: "I had my lines memorized, but while the cameras were rolling I felt that a silent, brooding look added menace and intrigute to a character often plagued with neurosis, he chuckled in the make-up room.
While the script was predictable to a great degree, the writers did an especially nice job by some neat touches here and there, there was an ingenious scene where Saddam Hussein, upon hearing his death sentence, shouted: "Allahu Akbar", and a watcher above also said the exact same words - except Saddam said it in protest of the court's injustice while the wather applauded that court's integrity....such an ironic and fascinating display. I also liked the bit where they kick out former US attorney Ramsey Clark in a show of the court's independence and Iraqi spirits. It's very cool to see a bald Kurd kick out a Ramsey Clark (played by Jon Voight).
The director does an absoluetly brilliant job as always, the visuals are slick and Saddam's make-up is absolutely spot-on, every camera captures a sublte nuance and the special effects are downright spectacular. Brilliant.
Most of the Iraqis I've prodded felt oblivious to what could happen to Saddam's neck, a Sunni cousin of mine by the name of Omar in Ghazaliya said: 'To the hell', while another Sunni cousin of mine in Egypt said: 'To the heck." I for one, felt happy, and congratulated everyone I saw. While having justice done to the tyrant would have been so much better if it were not for the sad state of Iraq today, I only felt good today because this could actually achieve good effects on the ground - I think that the minute Saddam is executed many of the Baathists would stop and reconsider what they are fighting for, the Iraqi Baath party always will be a personality cult. Hell may break loose for the next couple of days but remember, we are already in hell, so bring it on.
Jordanians however looked upon the matter from the average benign way Arabs look upon Saddam, a brave valiant hero who stood up against America.