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These men are animals

Posted by Richard on May 8, 2006

On February 24, I blogged about the killings of Al Arabiya television correspondent Atwar Bahjat and two members of her crew. That post, The position of a neutral civilian, quoted a news story which said they’d been shot, and it went on to discuss the issue of journalists arming themselves. I quoted a fellow named Rodney Pinder on the subject of armed journalists and offered a rejoinder to his remarks:

“A journalist with a gun says ‘some people in the situation I’m covering are my enemies and I am prepared to kill them if necessary’. That is not the position of a neutral civilian.”

I’ve got news for you, Mr. Pinder — there’s nothing you can do to disabuse "certain elements" of this "misguided belief." If you go to Iraq as a "neutral observer," the jihadist terrorists are your enemies, whether you like it or not and whether you’re armed or not, because they define a "neutral observer" as the enemy; they define everyone who isn’t actively on their side as the enemy. You only have three options: stay the hell away, prepare to kill them if necessary, or prepare to die at their whim.

To the followers of al Zarqawi, the proper position of a neutral civilian is on his knees with a dull knife at his throat.

I didn’t know at the time how precisely accurate that last remark was. You see, Ms. Bahjat wasn’t just shot. Details of her murder, including a cell-phone video, have surfaced.

Apparently, she was first tortured with an electric drill, which left holes in her arms, legs, navel, and one eye. Then:

By the time filming begins, the condemned woman has been blindfolded with a white bandage.

It is stained with blood that trickles from a wound on the left side of her head. She is moaning, although whether from the pain of what has already been done to her or from the fear of what is about to be inflicted is unclear.
. . .

A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.

Her cries — “Ah, ah, ah” — can be heard above the “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) intoned by the holder of the mobile phone.

Even then, there is no quick release for Bahjat. Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left.

Only now does the executioner return to finish the task. He hacks off her head and drops it to the ground, then picks it up again and perches it on her bare chest so that it faces the film-maker in a grotesque parody of one of her pieces to camera.

The voice of one of the Arab world’s most highly regarded and outspoken journalists has been silenced. She was 30.

Monsters. Depraved, subhuman monsters. Such men cannot be permitted to exist.

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One Response to “These men are animals”

  1. Anonymous said

    By saying “some people in the situation I’m covering are my enemies and I am prepared to kill them if necessary,” he has apparently lost the concept of self-defense entirely. A gun can save your life by intervening defensively, it is not only an offensive tool. In his case as an independant (but hardly neutral) writer, any attempt by him to use a gun offensively without having the support of a larger team is bound to end in horrible failure – so why consider only that aspect of a gun?

    As a journalist is he unaware that his words can kill?

    The pen being mightier than the sword, it can easily spread lies like those of the “Flushed Koran,” that has killed hundreds of innocent people.

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