I have been wondering for quite some time how in the arc of Islamic states from North Africa to Pakistan the one recurrent theme is ‘no mercy, no quarter’ to a deposed ruler. In most cases the result is a blood curdling drama that either leads to brutal and violent death of the deposed leader or a farcical trial and subsequent hanging. In addition when the deposed rulers are in power they also hang and kill their opponents without compunction. Is it the old Hammurabi’s code adapted to the 20th and 21st century of ‘an eye for an eye and
Libya.This is the latest episode and the world is aware of how Colonel Gaddafi died. Gaddafi ruled Libya with an iron hand for 42 years, a period marked by a despotic dictatorship where all his opponents were hanged. He also carried out killings of his opponents who were in exile abroad. Gaddafi had a macabre end. He was pulled out a drain pipe where he was hiding, dragged, beaten and then killed. Chilling pictures of the gun fighters celebrating this killing show a face of an Islamic society that is intolerant.
Iraq. This country has along history of violence. In 1958 an army coup led by Lieutenant General Qasim resulted in the entireroyal family of Iraq being killed and shot dead. The Prime Minister Nuri el Said was lynched to death in mob frenzy.This was followed up the rule of Saddam Hussein. He was a despot to the core and killed his opponents by any means.This man was arrested and brought to trial, where the result was a foregone conclusion. He was hanged in the most humiliating circumstances and a secret video of
Iran. The violent uprising against the Shah was led by hard line Muslim clerics. The Shah was wise to abdicate and flee Iran, as that saved his life. But the Muslim clerics led by Ayatollah Khomeini imposed harsh Islamic law, that saw even young boys being executedand women lashed for’offenses. The country became a law to itself when it held as hostage soldiers and members of the diplomatic corps of the US embassy in Tehran as hostage in 1978, reducing the USA to a toothless tiger.
The list does not end here. There is the case of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto being hanged after a farcical trial ordered by the man who deposed him General Zia ul Haq. The dissenting judgment of the Judges makes sad reading. All canons of justice and evidence were given short shrift as the purpose from the beginning was to hang Bhutto. Even Turkey thought to be more liberal hanged its own Prime Minister Mr. Adnan Menderes in 1960, who had been Prime Minister for 10 years.
The exit of the Presidents of Egypt and Tunisia has not been without violence. To see Hosni Mubarak sitting in an iron cage for his trial in Cairo is a telling reminder that Islamic world has as yet not come to terms with notions of fair play, humanity and justice
The stage is now set for the exit of the Syrian and Yemen Presidents. Doubtless they will also be consumed by the strains of violence that lash the Islamic world. Perhaps devout Muslims may like to look inwards at all these phenomena that give the face of a violent and intolerant society