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Witness to the Execution

Witness to the Execution February 4, 2015

Muath al-KasasbehI am no longer surprised by the capacity of humanity for brutality, for savagery. I am only saddened. Saddened that we feel that there are no other choices, no other ways. What may actually be worse is that such actions do not have the desired effect: that is, to bring to the hearts of those who matter a measure of sobriety. Instead, the power plays, the war-mongering, the seemingly endless posturing and plotting and perpetrating continue.

Must such madness never end? At what point will the God of all come to judge us?

The execution of Muath al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot and Muslim is only the latest in a dismal string of slaughters by ISIL. Why? Burned alive, as so many victims of preposterous regimes have been through the centuries. Why? Yet this group is hardly the only one guilty of such atrocities in the annals of misguided actions.

I heard about this early in the day, but dreaded discovering the pictures. Then, I sought them out. For me, video footage or still shots of these horrific acts of senseless violence give me a sense of solidarity with the victims. It gives me a real face, and no longer a statistic in a news story, a foreign name in calligraphy I can’t read, a name I would be embarrassed to possibly mispronounce. There is a strange intimacy to this that many may not understand, or even need. But I do. I need to see this. I need them all to know that someone who did not hate them, did not wish them the slightest ill, has witnessed their end.

I need them to know, wherever their souls may be, that their lives have not been extinguished in vain.

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