Joy at the news of Saddams death

AP/Houston Chronicle:

Saddam Hussein, the shotgun-waving dictator who ruled Iraq with a remorseless brutality for a quarter-century and was driven from power by a U.S.-led war that left his country in shambles, was taken to the gallows clutching a Quran and hanged today.

In Baghdad's Shiite enclave of Sadr City, people danced in the streets while others fired guns in the air to celebrate the former dictator's death. The government did not impose a round-the-clock curfew as it did last month when Saddam was convicted to thwart any surge in retaliatory violence.

And, in Michigan. the AP reports:

With tears in his eyes and a grin on his face, 13-year-old Ali Al-Najjar watched his father celebrate the death of Saddam Hussein.

The Dearborn resident was emotional Friday night -- not only did his dream of the former Iraqi president's execution come true, but he said he was witnessing a rare occurrence.

''This is the first time I've seen my dad this happy,'' he said as he watched the crowd of about 200 Iraqi-Americans cheer outside a Detroit-area mosque as drivers honked horns in jubilation. ''I've been praying for this all my life.''

His father, Imam Husham Al-Husainy, the director of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center mosque, had gathered some of the men earlier in the night, praying for the death of the former Iraqi dictator.

The crowd swelled until the announcement of Saddam's execution rippled throughout the gathering, leading some to dance and sing and others to fall to their knees and cry. Many draped Iraqi and American flags on their heads, shoulders and car hoods.

Chants of ''Now there's peace, Saddam is dead'' in English and Arabic rang into the night.

''This is our celebration of the death of Saddam,'' said Al-Husainy while standing on top of a car following reports that Saddam had been hanged. ''The gift of our New Year is the murder of Saddam Hussein.

''If you want to share the Iraqi people's happiness for the death of Saddam, raise your voice and your hands.''

The crowd responded with resounding cheers.


So far, I have not been able to find any reports of violence. The lack of a curfew suggest the government did not expect any. Many people were clamoring to participate in his execution. In the end his executioners wore ski masks. While it was probably to protect them from future retaliation, it had an everyman touch to the execution.


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