There are some things that I have a tough time watching. I can’t stomach seeing old video of skeleton-like holocaust victims in concentration camps. I am not a person who gets off on blood and guts, even if it is just a movie. I find no humor in watching youtube videos of morons decapitating themselves or their friends. I even get queasy looking at dead bodies at funerals. It is just eerie and unsettling for me.
Despite my apparent weak stomach for most things that depict suffering and death, there is one exception that I am completely immune to: When the worst people in the world get what they deserve.
When Muammar Gaddafi met his brutal demise last week, I sat glued to my television and to youtube and watched the grisly videos and photos that surfaced. If you have not seen the last few minutes of Gaddafi’s life, you have to decide if you want to see it. After a French airstrike wounded him, he hid in some drain pipe. Libyan rebel forces found him and that is when the video started to roll. I have seen about three or four different videos depicting the same thing: Gaddafi is bloodied and disoriented while surrounded by this mob of Libyan rebels. Let me tell you, the word MOB describes exactly what Gaddafi was up against. It was as if a human was thrown into the middle of a ring surrounded by two dozen pissed off, starving lions. The Libyan mob pushes Gaddafi on the back of a truck. Yelling and gun shots dominate the audio. Gaddafi, absolutely defenseless, is covered in blood. The mob takes turns pulling his hair and pushing him, there is absolutely no stopping them. Very few times in my life have I been able to sense and feel such anger and passion through a television/computer screen. I watched it over and over.
Then came the still shots of Gaddafi dead. Gruesome and bloody, it showed a man who was once untouchable completely dehumanized. Call it a “money shot” if you will.
The Saddam Hussein hanging execution was also something I could not turn away from. Here was a guy who killed thousands upon thousands of his own people, had numerous body doubles, lived in lavish palaces, and despised America. To see him in that dark, barbaric hanging chamber with executioners in black ski masks all around him definitely provided shocking video. To some people, the video is just too hard and disturbing to watch. Again, I don’t know if there is something wrong with me but there was no turning my head away from it. Although, I admit to this day, I do get a little startled each time the hanging platform Saddam is standing on gives way. He is in the middle of yelling some of his propaganda garbage and all of a sudden you hear a loud crash, gasps from the audience, and then a lifeless Saddam hanging from a rope. My generation grew up talking about Hussein all through our schooling careers – elementary, middle school, high school, and college. He was the personification of evil. To see him caught and killed was almost surreal.
I also had no problem looking at the gory photos of Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay. Just seeing them in their death photos they looked like awful people. A lot of times when people die they will look at peace. This is not the case with some of these terrible dictators/mass murders. Even in death, there is no escaping their evil.
I was very disappointed that no videos or photos of Osama Bin Laden were released. I wanted to see an image of a shot up Bin Laden so bad. I wanted to see the video of the kill mission that President Obama’s cabinet and chief military officers watched in realtime. I wanted to see a still photo of OBL sprawled out in his hideout. I wanted to see video of our military disposing of his body into the depths of some cold, deep sea. Of course, this wish is for my own personal satisfaction. I wholeheartedly supported President Obama’s decision to withhold these images from the eyes of the world. His reasons, all very well documented so I am not going to get into, were valid.
While I do have a taste for seeing the worst of the worst meet their fate, I do have a limit. I found it mildly disturbing that they placed Gaddafi’s body in a random freezer in some market and invited everyone to see. As viewers came in they took video with their cell phones and posed for pictures with the corpse. Soon Gaddafi’s body was joined with those of his son and his army chief. By this point, all of the bodies were badly decomposing and the stench was so bad that viewers had to wear surgical masks while getting their glimpses. Again, this takes it a little too far for me and it is a little hard to comprehend why someone would want to see a rotting body and have their noses assaulted with probably the worst smell in the world. But I do have to realize that it really is a cultural thing mixed in with just a human nature element as well. Many of the people who viewed his body had immediate family members who were slaughtered by his regime. If someone killed my mom and brother would I want to get a glimpse of their murderer’s corpse? I think I would.
To wrap this up, isn’t it ironic that many of these awful, awful people end up in hiding spots that are home to rats? They are then captured and put to humiliating deaths. While complete justice can never be done because of the sheer amount of atrocities these people have committed, it is nice to know that they finally got what was coming to them. Maybe that is why these violent and grisly photos/videos appeal to me…it offers closure. Although I have no direct personal link to any of these insane people or the countries they live in, it is easy to recognize that the world is better because they are gone, and video confirmation of their demise removes any doubt, and that is comforting. Eventually, everyone gets what they deserve. Don’t Blink.