Thursday, September 14, 2006


Saddam Hussein was not a dictator, according to the lead judge at his trail:

Questioning a Kurdish witness Thursday, Saddam said, ''I wonder why this man wanted to meet with me, if I am a dictator?''

The judge interrupted: ''You were not a dictator. People around you made you (look like) a dictator.''

''Thank you,'' Saddam responded, bowing his head in respect.

Wow, ok. Here's Webster's definition of a dictator:

Main Entry: dic·ta·tor
Pronunciation: 'dik-"tA-t&r, dik-'
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin, from dictare
1 a : a person granted absolute emergency power; especially : one appointed by the senate of ancient Rome b : one holding complete autocratic control c : one ruling absolutely and often oppressively
2 : one that dictates

Definitions 1b seems to describe Hussein without any debate at all. Some (like Hussein) might object to definition 1c (the "often oppressively" part), but I think it's pretty absurd for a judge in the trail to make a claim like that.


Anonymous Andy said...

This puzzled me too, and cross cultural interpretation can be tricky, but... I think the judge may be trying to say 'You're not so big of a man without the state security apparatus in your hand, are you?'. He is attacking Saddam's status as a great man(perhaps clumsily). I say this because in my rudimentary understanding of Islamic society issues of rank and status are given extreme importance, and while often despised, it cannot be denied that dictator is a very high status position.

9/17/2006 12:07 PM  

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