Thursday, August 02, 2007

Saddam Still Dead

When Saddam Hussein was hanged on December 30, 2006 the Iraqi government planned to bury him in a secret and unmarked grave. A delegation of men from Saddam's hometown of Awja argued against it and somehow won their point, receiving his body and spiriting it back home the next morning to bury it in the courtyard of a mosque. A few hours later they dug it up and buried it under the rotunda of a two-story reception hall given to the village as a gift from Saddam, now named "Martyr's Hall." There he is visited by only a handful of mourners each day, most of them his loyalists.

Even one of the delegation who brought him home doesn't admire him much. Abdullah Hussein Ejbarah was an official of the Baath party and an officer in Saddam's elite Special Republican Guard until members of his tribe tried to assassinate Saddam in 1993. Abdullah survived by the skin of his teeth. Now he's the 50-year-old deputy governor of Salahuddin Province, which has its capital at Tikrit, not far from Awja. Says Ejbarah, "Saddam Hussein led the country into destruction, and in doing so destroyed himself and his family, and led us into the present chaos."

The Hussein family has buried six others outside Martyr's Hall, including Saddam's thoroughly contemptible sons Uday and Qusay, and three of his henchman who were hanged shortly after Saddam.


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