Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Saddam Copycats: 8+

There has been at least eight hanging deaths of young people who have copycatted the Saddam execution videos.

Reporters Aqeel Hussein in Baghdad and Damien McElroy in the UK, on January 9, 2007, have noted via The Telegraph that a dramatic increase has occurred in Shia hostages being hanged in the streets of Iraq in revenge for Saddam's execution. It is an awful trend, with over hundred hostages being hanged throughout Iraq, some 200 hostages taken. Their article is mostly concerned with those events.

Additionally, at the very end of their article they write:

Seven children are reported to have died worldwide after seeing video footage of the execution of Saddam, many in "play" hangings. In the latest incident a boy of 12 hanged himself in north-east Saudi Arabia on Sunday, the Al-Hayat newspaper reported. His death followed similar hangings in Yemen, India, Algeria and America.

The reporters and Al-Hayat probably are unaware of the reported copycat death of Bobby Martin in Pennsylvania, and its seems, of the one in Pakistan, so I consider the total is at eight or nine or above. Here is my reconstruction of the timeline of hangings:

Saturday, December 30, 2006 - Iraq - Saddam Hussein is executed by hanging at dawn. Within minutes, Arab and Iraqi news sources are showing video of the preparations leading up to the hanging, the noose being placed around his neck, and then still photographs of his body.

Sunday, December 31, 2006 - Worldwide - Broadcast media show video taken of Saddam's hanging, via wall-to-wall coverage on cable news and news programs. More graphic footage from a cell-phone appears within hours of the execution on YouTube and other internet site, showing Saddam falling after a level is pulled.

Sunday, December 31, 2006 - Webster (near Houston), Texas - Sergio Pelico, 10, dies by hanging from his bunk bed after watching the news of Saddam's death, mimicking the tape he had watched with several family members. Local time in Texas is Sunday, but the Monday hanging of Mubashar Ali probably had already taken place.

Monday, January 1, 2007 - Multan, Pakistan - Mubashar Ali, 9, becomes the first copycat mentioned in some Mideast media, when he dies by hanging after tying a rope to a ceiling fan. Ali and his sister had been watching the Saddam footage on television and were imitating the hanging, according to their father.

Wednesday, January 2, 2007 - Kolkata, India - Moon Moon Karmarkar, 15, dies by hanging from a ceiling fan after watching the scene of the Saddam hanging over and over again, then not taking any food on Saturday and Sunday to protest the hanging. She was found dead early in the day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2007 - Harborcreek (near Erie), Pennsylvania - Robert Joseph “Bobby” Martin, 16, dies by hanging by stepping off a loft, after may have been viewing the Saddam video during a New Year's Eve party he gave for friends.

Sunday, January 7, 2007 - Hafr Al-Bath, Saudi Arabia - Sultan Abdullah Al-Shammari, 12, dies by hanging from a rope that he had attached to a iron door in his home, while re-enacting the widely publicized execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The Arab News reports that Sultan Abdullah Al-Shammari is copycat #4, but the Martin hanging apparently is not being counted. The UK's Telegraph mentions a total of seven children having died, mentioning India and America, but not Pakistan, then two additional countries as the locations of copycat incidents:



Certainly eight, if not more, of these copycat hanging incidents have unfortunately occurred. The wide and graphic dissemination of the footage of what has become the "public" execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, through the copycat effect, without media moderation or parental supervision, has to be logically considered as the root of this wave of deaths.