Sunday, December 14, 2003

Saddam Hussein

The crimes of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein are going to be dissected at excruciating length during his forthcoming trial in Iraq. He will not be much to look at. An aging lump of a man, who under close examination will probably repeat himself. The cameras will notice other things too: the imperfections in his teeth, the graying of his hair; the blotchy skin. All the things that a man in his late sixties reveals without flattering lighting and a bespoke suit. He will be altogether too pathetic a figure to absorb the hatred or to provide the justice which the legacy of human suffering seems to demand. So we will look further afield.

Although they will not be present, the United Nations, France, Germany and to a certain extent, the past leaders of United States will share the dock with him. For no one will credit that this miserable wreck, this shell of a man could have been responsible for all that he will be charged with. He will seem too small for that. Yet not so. The magnificence of nations often conceals the smallness of their acts; and from their petty corruptions and idiocies this tapestry of tragedy has been woven.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace
from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time.
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.