THE SPINE DECEMBER 31, 2006
In my post, "The Mourning of a Tyrant," I observed that a legend had already developed that Saddam Hussein's last words were "Palestine will be Arab." He probably didn't care a fig for the Palestinians, which is pathetic since there are so many figs in the region. In any case, the Palestinians will now have to disabuse themselves of the notion that he thought of them at the last. Another example of the self-inflicted pathos of the cause. Sorry, guys.
Now, we have an authoritative report from Marc Santora in Sunday's Times about what Saddam really said. Answering a guard who chastised him with this angry sentiment, " You have destroyed us. You have killed us. You have made us live in destitution," Saddam's "final words" were, "I have saved you from destitution and misery and destroyed your enemies, the Persians and Americans." This will only intensify the struggle between Shia and Sunni.
Here, there and everywhere, you may have noticed the news that Dearborn, Michigan became a center of celebration as soon as the happy event occurred, the happy event being Saddam's execution. The Times reported that a 19 year-old confessed that, "It's the biggest happy day in my whole life." The head of an Islamic education center shouted from a car top, "The best gift for our happy new year is the murder of Saddam Hussein."
How do we read this? Dearborn is a largely Shia city, its Muslim population made up largely of Iraqi and Lebanese Shia. When Hezbollah was at war, the hearts of these Shi'a was with Nasrallah. Hate one madman, love another.
If you want to read about the demography of Dearborn, there's a very informative article by Patrick Belton in the Oct. 2003 issue of New American City. It's called, "In the Way of the Prophet: Ideologies and Institutions in Dearborn, Michigan, America's Muslim Capitol."