Children are hanging themselves because of Saddam

Oh God:
A group of Algerian schoolchildren hanged a 12-year-old classmate in a game imitating the execution of Saddam Hussein, a newspaper reported Monday, in the latest of a series of copycat hangings. The Algerian boy died two days after the ousted Iraqi leader was hanged on December 30, in the village of Oued Rihou in western Algeria, l'Authentique newspaper reported.

"Oued Rihou is in shock," the newspaper said, without giving details of the hanging.

"US policy in Iraq has made an innocent victim in Algeria," public radio commented.
No, the corrupt Algerian junta's educational policy has failed despite the country being awash in cash, and teachers should monitor schoolchildren (and their parents monitor what they are watching.)

But that's not all:

On January 3, a woman in the western Algerian coast town of Oran committed suicide by hurling herself from a window in her parents' third-floor apartment because she was "traumatized by images of the hanging," a member of her family said.

The 35-year-old, identified by the initials A.C., had been "depressed and hadn't eaten" since watching repeated television footage of the execution, the relative said, asking not to be identified. Badly injured in the fall, she died in hospital.

The film of Saddam's execution, shot on a mobile-phone camera, has spread across the world on the Web, inspiring several children to copy it.

A 10-year-old American boy accidentally killed himself after imitating the video clip he had seen on television, the Houston Chronicle reported last week.

In Pakistan, a 9-year-old boy hanged himself from a ceiling fan on January 1, also trying to copy hanging scenes from the video.

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old girl from eastern India also hanged herself from a ceiling fan after becoming extremely depressed watching Saddam's execution on television, her father said.

In the week after the hanging, Algerian newspapers reported that several parents had named their children after the executed Iraqi leader.
How depressing.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.