Saddam's Video Spreads

January 1, 2007

It’s a Bluetooth frenzy. Iraqi's in this cell phone shop in Sadr City pass on the uncensored video of Saddam Hussein's execution. According to the Abbas Ansour mobile store owner, "It's something amazing. No one really believed that Saddam would be executed because the people were so scared of him and his regime. So anything of him, on TV or on mobile phones, they want to see it. It's like a thirst that cannot be quenched. Even little kids are looking for it."

And not just on cell phones, its also being dumped onto thumb drives. And this man is taking the distribution one step further, "we are going to copy it onto cd or tape and put it in the markets," he says "because there is demand for it."

In the footage that the Iraqi government released, the video ends after the noose is placed around Saddam's neck. The concern among some officials was that if the government releases the execution in full they will be viewed as being a brutal regime, but then the unedited cell phone footage appeared on the internet...obviously shot in plain view of authorities who were in attendance. Its circulation pre-empting any rumors that Saddam might not really be dead.

At Mahmoud Askar's home, there’s a triple celebration, his nephew's engagement, the religious holiday of Eid, and Saddam's death. Even though this Kurdish family believes that Saddam deserved to be hanged for his crimes, they don't agree with the way that the execution was allowed to be shot and circulated.

Mahmoud Askar, an Iraqi resident says "the way the whole thing was filmed was a bad decision by the government and ultimately helped Saddam because people sympathize with him." But sympathy was hard to find among those who found satisfaction in the brutal images of their former dictator falling to his death.

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