Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Propaganda Victory as Last Act

That's how Saddam comes off in his execution. Look at the pictures, he does not wear a hood, so you are confronted with a face. He does not wear a hood and therefore he does not disappear into the indistinguishable masks of his thuggish executioners (though it would be fitting if he did). He appears to be wearing a dress shirt and a black overcoat. He's formal, like a statesman. His executioners wear no uniforms - they do nothing to outwardly represent the authority of the state, they are masked and wouldn't look out of place in a TV drama bank robbery.

So what you have in this picture comes across as street thugs executing a statesman. The executioners may be actual street thugs, but Saddam's victory comes by looking like a statesman. I get the feeling that Saddam, like so many dictators, had sufficient vanity to want to remain an icon long after death. I think he will succeed.

Don't believe me? Communist party demonstrators would often march with posters of Stalin well into the 1990s.