new age spirituality

Saddam Hussein and the Sanctity of Life

At the end of 2006 the world watched in horror as a shackled, elderly gentleman was manhandled impassively into a room in which he was taunted before being ritually killed in full public gaze. That man was Saddam Hussein, former president of the tragic land of Iraq.

It is all the more poignant that this barbaric event took place during the Christmas period that, despite the flashy hype, is supposed to commemorate the birth of a man who taught us to love one another and to forgive the sins of our enemies.

The age of technology saw the obscene events recorded on mobile phone and shared around the world by means of the Internet. In recording and disseminating the gory detail of Saddam's passing the guard who intended humiliation may have achieved the precise opposite by highlighting the inglorious nature of those responsible and causing a significant number to reject deliberate killing whether by “war”, “terrorism”, or capital punishment.

This article is non-political and does not seek to take sides in the horrific happenings in Iraq present or past. Rather, it assesses Saddam Hussein's "execution" and associated events from a Spiritual perspective with a view to identifying lessons to be learned.

Saddam Hussein is said to be responsible for the slaughter of many people during his reign of power, and this was supposed to be the reason he was killed. But in a final message he says: "I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking,"

Can it ever be right to willfully take the life of another human being?

Even the briefest study of anatomy reveals the living organism to be an entity of immense complexity and beauty. Countless independent subsystems working in harmony to make the whole thrive in order to fulfill its earthly destiny. When we consider what must take place to keep us alive each moment our continued vitality is nothing less than miraculous. And yet that miracle continues, year after year, allowing each of us to make our unique mark upon the world we inhabit.

So marvelous is the physical body that supports life that to destroy it is as negative as any willful act may be.

Throughout nature creatures kill one another. The difference between humans and non-humans is that humans kill for pleasure and cruelty, whereas the so-called "lower" species do so only to survive!

It is true that some souls are so inherently destructive as to warrant incarceration. Their raison d'etre is as a lesson, or test, for the majority of progressive beings.

A test that a very few may face is when their own life is being threatened by another. Does this justify the destruction of the one who threatens? In such extreme circumstances rationality is likely to fly out the window, and surely no blame can be laid upon one who takes the life of the aggressor. However, it is the few that can show sufficient restraint to merely neuter the danger that are the exemplary ones.

In the words of the great one: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" [Matthew 5:43-44].

In the past wars were fought with blinding obedience by those sent to sacrifice themselves for king or queen and country. These days wars are still fought, the only difference being that those asked to sacrifice themselves are better informed and increasingly question the deeds demanded of them. It is some progress, but not yet enough.

It is said that the first casualty of war is truth; therefore I make no comment upon the alleged sins of Saddam Hussein or any possible reason behind them. From the Spiritual perspective the widespread revulsion at the manner of his physical death just might create a greater reverence for the sanctity of life around our troubled planet.

© 2007