The parents and grandmother of James Foley stand vigil last year,
left, and an image of Foley on the
job. As a way of honoring the
victims and their families and denying
publicity to terrorists, should
his assassination video be withheld from
the public, only to be seen
by those working in newsrooms
and official Washington?
Beheading Shows 'Weakness'; Video Should Not Be Viewed (Le Nouvel Observateur, France)
"It is necessary
to take this barbaric assassination which has been so grotesquely exhibited by
those who committed it for what it is: an admission of weakness and
helplessness, a pathetic attempt to loosen a military vise. … Not looking at
what the barbarians want us to see is a way of saying, modesty perhaps – no, we
will not participate in their macabre game. This is a way not to be fooled, not
to be afraid, and not to be passive. … Stop subjecting yourself to this. Don't
watch these scenes of another age, appalled or fascinated."
American journalist James Foley was abducted in
Syria in November 2012. The jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria
now claim to have beheaded him, and have posted a video to prove it. How to
understand such a macabre scene? How to react? War correspondent Jean-Paul Mari
offers some insight.
How should we deal with such horror? Every time it happens,
the equation is the same.
Let's remember: The last spectacular execution was that of Daniel Pearl, a correspondent
for The Wall Street Journal, who
disappeared in Karachi in January 2002.
Today, we are confronted with the death of James Foley, an
American reporter for GlobalPost
and the AFP.
He was kidnapped in Syria by IS in November 2012.
The horror connected
James Foley, 40, was a "courageous, independent and
impartial journalist," said AFP. All of his colleagues knew it. He very notably covered the
conflict in Libya. Just like death or injury, the taking of hostages is one of today's
occupational hazards, particularly in countries where armed Islamist
fundamentalist Salafi jihadists of every stripe are involved.
Again, the methods of the Islamists are the same.
First - the horror. A masked man slaughters a human being
through decapitation. This is done every day in areas of Syria and Iraq occupied
by jihadists against their opponents, their prisoners, Christians,
"apostate" government officials, in short, against all who oppose
Then a very bloody, very grotesque scene is staged. The
hostage is dressed in an orange outfit, meant as a reminder of the prisoners held
at Guantanamo. Then the victim is slain with a knife to the throat and
decapitated in a nauseating ceremonial.
Finally, the infinite publication and broadcast of the scene
provokes the desired reactions. At least with normal human beings, there is a feeling
of horror and terror. Or, among armed Islamists and their cronies, a feeling of
omnipotence to a sacrificial gesture in the name of a supposed God is
An admission of
weakness and helplessness
The political reality is that the jihadists of the Islamic
State have, for the past ten days, been bludgeoned by American aircraft and
drones, which have launched dozens of air strikes in Kurdistan and northern
Iraq. It is a campaign that has managed to loosen the grip of the jihadists and
has aided the counter attack by the Peshmerga, Kurdish
fighters who have taken over a good portion of the Mosul Dam which had fallen
to the forces of the Islamic State.
The barbaric assassination of James Foley is of course
accompanied by a threat, as the video shows, against another journalist being held
hostage, Steven Sotlof. Dressed in the same outfit, he
is being prepared to suffer the same fate. The message, the blackmail, is
clear: "Stop the bombing, or else …"
Posted By Worldmeets.US
It is therefore necessary to take this barbaric assassination
which has been so grotesquely exhibited by those who committed it for what it
is: an admission of weakness and helplessness - a pathetic attempt to loosen a
military vise. We are suffering setbacks on the ground? Let's kill the hostages
in the most horrible, filthiest possible way, and show the world our
"strength" and our power to do harm.
Do not watch this
What to do?
First, stop subjecting yourself to this. Don't watch these
scenes of another age, appalled or fascinated. Already, most news Web sites
have refused to post these videos, even truncated versions. Do not degrade the
images of the victims, but blur their faces, only publishing images of what
they were. In the case of James Foley, as a superb reporter who was faithfully
doing his job, with heart, with courage, and with what his executioners lack most,
Reporter James Fallow on the job: Should his murder video be viewed
by the general public, or
only those working innewsrooms and official
Not looking at what the barbarians want us to see is a way of
saying, modestly perhaps – no, we will not participate in their macabre game.
This is a way not to be fooled, not to be afraid, and not to be passive.
Then, it would be good for us, we journalists, to use our editorial
capacities to expose precisely those groups, movements and armed militias, for
what they are, and to distinguish their actions by writing their names; to
systematically attach the qualifying phrase "takers and assassins of
hostages" or "known to take hostages and execute them" to the
Islamic State, Al-Nusra, AQIM,
BokoHaram, and the rest.
It takes a bit long to write this every time, but it would
say a bit more about the nature of these fighters from another age, who confuse
shame and pride, bloody farce and military parade, and dream of turning horror
into a glorious show, and take God for a bloody butcher.