Here are two videos of Saddam Hussein’s execution. The first one is the official video released by the Iraqi government, the tame one beamed across the mid-east and US after the hanging through late Dec 29 and Dec 30.

Saddam Execution Video1 :

The Second one came out on an Arab website and Google videos on Dec 30th. It looks like an amateur mobile-phone video. I came across this video after CNN aired a clipping of it late yesterday night, Dec 30th. The video is shocking, relatively speaking.

Saddam Execution Video2 :

If one watches the second video closely, it is not “mute” like the first one. It shows the nasty and loud name-calling and taunting that happened seconds before the erstwhile dictator was finally killed. It is a loud scene , its disturbing and moreover this will be the “actual” Saddam Hanging video for years to come.

The scene :

Saddam carried a Quran and was invoking Allah throughout his last few minutes, so was his executioners. I’m not an expert in the art of execution, but we expect executioners to be neutral, professional and to be of comfort to the person being killed. Mind you, this was not a political execution but a legal one. Maybe, its a Green Mile or Shadowkill hangover, but this execution was nasty and will surely have long term implications.

You can hear the executioners shouting “Muqtada, Muqtada” and Saddam sarcastically replying “Muqtaaadaaa”. What does this mean ? If this video reaches Iraqi and Arab television networks, which it surely will, the fall-out will be devastating. This video implies that Saddam was not killed by a secular legal system but by a Shia dominion. Saddam asks his executioners “Is this how you show you are brave?” and “Is this how Arabs behave”. The impact this video will have in Saudi, Pakistani and other Sunni countries will be seen in coming years, because Saddam, however despicable and cruel he was, was a hero of the Arab world. And this video shows the forces that killed him in his last few moments.
Sudarshan Raghavan writes in Washington Post – Hussein’s last minutes and the Camera Phone witness in NYTimes. Both mainstream media articles and the highest read ones as of now, both inspired by a Google Video shot by an unknown amateur.

Tommorrow Begins Today

Despite the hoopla over an unelected US President lying in state at Washington, covered minute by minute by the US television networks, this video has set “Web 2.0” on fire. By yesterday night it was the most viewed post in the WordPress world. If CNN, FOX and CBS has pushed the execution to down below in “News value”, the Bloggers, “Youtubes” and “MySpaces” have made a different editorial call. It surely seems the latter is winning, like they did throughout this pathbreaking year.

This video for instance raises the question of professionalism and quality, the same questions we ask about Wicki, blogs and flickrs. But history when it gets recorded from now on will not be able to ignore this new amateur revolution. Saddam’s execution was in the lines of Bhutto’s and Nagy’s but the difference here is the sheer quantity of footage and information that has come out, which will be available for history and you, when he is judged.

The yearly TIME magazine ritual of choosing a “Person of the Year” never made much sense to me. But this time, they surely made a great choice. Rather, the choice was inevitable after the huge impact blogs and Youtubes had on the Iraq debate, Racial issues, Police and Armed forces brutality, Environmental issues and more than anything the decisive House Elections in November ’06. As TIME editors put it,

“Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I’m not going to watch Lost tonight. I’m going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I’m going to mash up 50 Cent’s vocals with Queen’s instrumentals? I’m going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME’s Person of the Year for 2006 is you. “

As John Edwards, joins the fray of Presidential hopefuls for 2008, his campaign quote is metaphorical of the days to come “Tommorrow Begins Today“.

2006 was not just another year, it was a beginning of great things to come. And YOU will make that happen.

Good Night and Good Luck !