Monday, October 20, 2014

Decapitation Daily (updated)

In those lazy, hazy days  before the planes hit the towers,  I used to enjoy an article-and-essay aggregation site, Aldaily.   It’s still around, and would still be interesting in another, parallel, and better world;   but reality is too much with us, and for years now -- and at present especially  -- I have been obliged to concentrate on unfolding events, more closely related to my day-job.

Anyhow -- Simply glancing at a few of the stories that have surfaced -- or rather, broken beneath the surface, since most people won’t have heard of them -- it strikes me that one could actually run a “Decapitation Aggregation Site”, with something fresh almost every day.
This we shall certainly not do;  but the subject deserves a one-time alert from this site, that there is a pattern here -- there are dots that connect-up -- which won’t be apparent to most consumers of the minimizing, gaze-averting media.

(1) One story that did get some airplay  was the Oklahoma City atrocity in September;  we examine some aspects of it towards the end of the essay here.   At the time, some observers objected to the played-down, one-off way the story was being reported, maintaining that the incident was more properly seen in the perspective of terrorism.   The irony is reflected in this typical reader’s comment:

Nothing to see here people, just your regular, run-of-the-mill workplace beheading.

The story has pretty much died down.  The latest is, um, this:

What you probably have not heard is that there was, in the same month, a similar attack in London.   For a link, there is little beyond this right-wing site,

since the MSM tiptoes around it.   Thus, the original story in the Telegraph (UK) made no mention of the perpetrator’s name, or race, or national origin, and mentioned the suggestion that he was “Muslim” only to immediately cast doubt upon the idea (“could not be verified”; meaning, they would not look into it).  However, the bienpensant newspaper reassured us, any connection to terrorism had been “ruled out” (i.e., in advance, as a matter of principle, since the incident had not yet been investigated).

(2)  You perhaps have heard of the assassination and decapitation of the seven Trappist monks in Tibhirine (variant spelling Tibéhirine), Algeria, in 1996.

The incident was never cleared up, owing to stonewalling by the Algerian government.  Now at last, a forensic team from France has been allowed into the country, to examine the severed heads,  this being all that is left of the monks.  (In French this operation is called, oddly, “une expertise de têtes”.)

(3)  Again in Algeria, the newspaper El Watan has announced the identity of the beheader of the French hiking guide Hervé Gourdel:  Kerza Bashir (French spelling Bachir).

(4)  In Nigeria, Boko Haram continues its depredations.  When these involve schoolgirls, and a suggestion of sex, the media gives these very great play indeed.   That Boko also relish beheadings  is less widely publicised.   Most recently, they decapitated a pilot, and made an exultant video of the event.

This kind of meme cannot be tracked by the traditional methods of counter-terrorism.  It is more like the ebola virus, that can travel thousands of miles unseen.   No appeals, no reason can oppose it, for it lies far beneath the slender outcroppings of the conscious mind.   It is like a green and glittering serpent, coiled deep within the unconscious:  across the vast abyss,  Id calls out to Id...

[Update 20 October 2014]  I probably ought to really not probably do this, lest this site start attracting the … wrong sort of traffic;  but could not resist this bit for connoisseurs.
A couple of months ago, we commented on the Sunni-on-Sunni violence of ISIL against a Syrian tribe, the Chaïtat.  Today, the Washington Post finally got around to mentioning it too:

The cost of turning against the Islamic State was made brutally apparent in the streets of a dusty backwater town in eastern Syria in early August. Over a three-day period, vengeful fighters shelled, beheaded, crucified and shot hundreds of members of the Shaitat tribe after they dared to rise up against the extremists.
By the time the killing stopped, 700 people were dead.
Just as powerful a message for those living under the militants’ iron fist was the almost complete international silence on the bloodbath.

But the Post adds a chilling yet (in line with ISIL generally) flamboyant and theatrical detail:

A photo essay on an Islamic State blog boasted of the different ways tribesmen were killed, including beheadings, mass shootings and a crucifixion. A video shows how the militants lined up scores of captives on a road, their hands bound, then set about clumsily decapitating them, one by one. The executioners, speaking in Tunisian, Egyptian and Saudi accents, taunted those not yet dead by swinging severed heads in front of their faces and telling them, “It’s your turn next.”

[Update June 2015]  Cover-term:

During a recorded phone conversation around May 26, Mr. Rahim called David Wright, whom acquaintances identified as his nephew, and told him he had bought a knife that was “good for carving.” Later in the conversation, Mr. Wright referred to “thinking with your head on your chest,” a phrase the F.B.I. said was “a reference to the practice of some foreign terrorist organizations to behead targets and place their heads on their chests in propaganda videos.”

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