Simplicity of Death

I have no problem with the death penalty for disgraced heads of state. I don’t understand why even if you are against the death penalty on principle due to the abuses in the system that one would oppose it for oppressive leaders that have lost their grip on power.

What penalty can there be for incitement or planning acts of genocide, instigating unjust wars, torture and murder on such a massive scale other than death? I don’t believe in the farce of the western trial system for such cases. I do support something akin to the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in South Africa, the indigenous system of trials in Rwanda, or simple death without dealy for the known leaders.

What penalty could there have been other than death for that man in Iraq?

PW Botha spurned the Truth and Reconciliation committee and was allowed to live out his life in peace albeit forever disgraced in the eyes of history and who knows about the hereafter. The South African government offered to give him the honor of a state funeral as the constitution guarantees each head of state but his family declined that magnanimous gesture.

Slobodon Milosevic was brought to trial and died before the proceedings were complete but knowing the Hague and the international system would not have been sentenced to death for his crimes. Death without trial would seem to have been more fitting. Others at the Hague have been sentenced to 20 years or life in prison for genocide, how can one determine 20 years for committing genocide and call that justice?

Augusto Pinochet through ill-health avoided lengthy prosecutions but not disgrace and of course no one can escape what awaits them in the hereafter. Again death without trial would have seemed more apt.

Gerald Ford died last week and the lengthy ceremonies meant to honor him seem very strange to me. The man is dead so why delay in putting him in the ground? Instead he is being flown from coast to coast so people can view his closed coffin. Many roads and part of the beltway was shut down yesterday to allow the motorcade to pass without interruption. In life, as is so often heard he came at a time to “heal the nation” and in death he is causing inconvenience to parts of the nation although more than a few people will be enjoying the day of his funeral as a day off from work with the accompanying holiday pay.

James Brown was not a world leader but a leader in the ever-consuming fascination with pop culture died and again instead of just putting him in the ground he went from the South to my beloved homestate in a gold casket. Death has come, as it will come to all of us, what need is there of a gold casket.

King Fahd died, and after the janazah was buried in simple white cloths in an unmarked grave. And even this was used by the ignorant or those with a sickness in the hearts to malign him and Saudis in general.

My last grandmother died this year and there were services here and in Nigeria for her. An autopsy, more than a month of planning and events and way too much money was spent just so she could be put in the ground. And more is being planned for the one year anniversary of her death.

I used to be scared of her, among my earliest memories of her was a conversation we had when I was young about Muslims the gist of which was that Muslims were evil because she had had negative experiences with them, after I converted I was afraid of her reaction to my Islam, and as she lay dying in the hospital, I only felt sadness, sadness for a life about to expire (And Allah knows best) upon disbelief.

I pray that I will be among those that die with the kalimah on their tongue, washed, wrapped in cloth, have the janazah prayed for me, buried in simple grave, and have my grave made a part of Paradise as I await meeting my Lord. Ameen.

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Author: Ify Okoye

Muslim woman, RN, & rebel with a cause.

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