Prologue: This article was published about two years ago in DailyIndependent, Tuesday, November 22 2005 with that same title. As I was going through some of my stuff upon recovery from a state of indisposition, I stumbled on it and I thought you may want to see it.
In The Trial of Christopher Okigbo, Ali Mazrui almost succeeded in ravishing my brain with a metaphysical dilemma: he put a dead man on trial in the ‘hereafter’ to answer to charges of compromising the code of immortality usually ascribable to the doyens of the pen. According to the celestial legal system that put the trial in place, Okigbo should have first of all considered his configuration as an uomo universale – a universal man – before he deigned to carry a gun on the side of Biafra and become a tribal gladiator and a social collectivist. In pure language, what I saw at the end of that faction was a prof’s intellectual exercise at coming to terms with his deprivation of the prospect of having to approach the watery circumference of the Idoto goddess without the progenitor, Okigbo.
The trial of Sadam Hussein, I predict, will be a mimesis, not his nemesis. The trial will be a pantomime. In a pantomime, there usually is a lot of action without the corresponding dialogue to give it the true character and bite of debate and drama. We do not have to gaze upon the firmament and analyze the morphology of the stars to tell that Saddam’s trial may well end up a movie that an ambitious movie producer may dabble into and daub, The Passionof Saddam Hussein’, directed and acted Hollywood style. It may not draw many a tear. The Saddam Hussein whom the Americans have decided to try in a kangaroo court is already deader than the many millions he is said to have killed. That is why we may not need to forecast that we will see a silhouette of the American justice system when Saddam is put on trial. I daresay this because there do not seem to be nothing sincere about what the Americans set out to accomplish. First, they did a lot to give a very bad dog a very bad name with the weapons of mass destruction hypothesis which never became theory and which President Bush is still doing a lot to sell. We all knew America just wanted to get rid of Saddam and lay their hands on his oil, but went about it in the manner of an area boy. A lot of people were worried that the US did not get down to the overthrow of an evil regime but had to generate all of that scam. Second, they ignored the call for caution from the United Nations that one nation may not just trample on the sovereignty of the other, or piss on the other because the one nation has better guns and war paraphernalia. The whole world, represented by the United Nations expected the US to concentrate their dragnet for the capture of their quarry (Osama Bin Laden), who battered the American Dream and ego by bringing the Twin Towers down instead of harassing Saddam.
At last, they dug up their other quarry and scapegoat and took him to the US. While there, the American president was reported to have said that he favoured the death penalty for a boy as bovver as he is. The significant thing here (at this point) is that before Saddam would have been tried, the American president already had him tried and found very guilty. Why then are they bringing him back to Iraq to try him? Why not just finish him off in America or put him in an American jail the way Manuel Noriega of Panama was picked up from his country by Ronald Reagan way back in 1989? By ‘trying’ Saddam Hussein in Iraq, America would want to convince the rest of the world that she does not want to see the rest of us as idiots. But the point must be given out that that period of gunboat and bazooka diplomacy died a dishonourable death a long, long time ago with Lord Palmerston, Otto Von Bismarck and Adolf Hitler. Today’s wars are usually wars of the mind and I hope that nations know today that being the biggest, the richest and the strongest is not an alibi to trample on the less strong, the less rich and the less big.
By bringing Saddam Hussein home to be killed by ‘his’ people is the sadistic idea behind his trial in his home. They dared not kill him or lock him up in the US because that would immortalize and make him a martyr of some sort and this is why I venture to suggest that Saddam Hussein will not face justice but justice will face him squarely and unsquarely (if there is any word like that). Justice will face Saddam like this: in that courtroom in Iraq, the security apparatchik will be American, the prosecuting and defence attorneys will be American; the bailiff, the jury (if there be one), and most importantly, the presiding judge is an American stooge who must adjust to the manipulations of a ventriloquist: we would feel Esau’s skin but hear the voice of Jacob, the mountebank. From what we have seen so far concerning the violence that has engulfed the Middle East and the onerous task before the Bush government of selling this war in Iraq to his unimpressed people, Saddam Hussein may well become Iraqi president again if those who will try him are really his people.
So, what the Americans have in place is a clone of The Trial of Christopher Okigbo. The ultimate plan is to feed it into our sensibilities, I guess, as a deliberate ploy to construct the story that Saddam Hussein was killed by his own people.