World leaders have reacted angrily to the footage of Saddam Hussein’s execution which was illicitly recorded on a mobile phone, as most of them can only take still pictures on their phones.
The footage from the Iraqi prison guard’s cell phone travelled around the world within hours, and shocked millions with its graphic depiction of the former dictator’s final moments. There is clear sound as well as video footage, and soon the images were being broadcast on the internet and on poorly supervised blooper shows, prompting strong words from members of the government. ‘I am appalled and disgusted by this…’ said British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. ‘I am supposed to be second in command of one of the major Western powers, and my phone doesn’t even have enough memory for a couple of music files, never mind a home-video. How can it be that some prison guard in Iraq has got a 3G mobile while I still have this crappy Motorola thing?’ Hilary Clinton also spoke out against the recording. ‘Chelsea sent me the footage from her cell phone, but I couldn’t seem to open the file. I had to get someone to show it to me on YouTube where it was filed under comedy. For goodness sake, what sort of civilisation are we? When former First Ladies aren’t given better mobile phones than third world security jailers?’
Widespread distribution of the images has brought concerns that the stakes have now been raised in the craze of ‘happy slapping’. There are fears that a number of other national leaders may soon be grabbed and summarily executed so that the perpetrators can send each other the images on their mobile phones.
However George Bush stood apart from the criticism of the pictures that have shocked the world. He spent the day at the dignified and solemn funeral of former President Gerald Ford, which he recorded with the new 3G cell phone he just got for Christmas.