The burning of  a man: A license to kill

It has almost been a week since the video of a Jordanian pilot burnt alive goes viral and shocked the world. The video was made by the Islamic State as a part of their plan to spread terror and the (supposedly) words of Allah around the world. Naturally, the world has gone through a state of panic with many cursing over the action. Disassociation from the Muslims was also made, similar to those in the #illridewithyou campaign following the Sydney siege incident.

As quite a news follower myself, this story breaks my heart, with the fact that such action still happens in our modern society. An action that dates back to the ancient Egyptian society. An uneducated, backward and retarded behaviour that indicates shallow thinking and idiotic heresy. I sort of expected this news to circulate at around 1950s or something, not 2015.

Oddly enough, death by burning is not a strictly rare incident. In 2009 and 2013, numbers of women in PNG have been victims of burning after accused of being a witch or for performing sorcery. No one was criminally processed as a result of that, until thankfully in May 2013 a law preventing such action was created in the country. Nevertheless, no one was ever prosecuted for those cases.

Yet in 28 of January 2015, a week before the Jordanian pilot was burnt alive, a similar case almost occurred with police called into action for a burning ritual. The news that did not really reach anywhere really. Granted that the woman was saved, but the fact that such an action still takes place means that such behaviour still exists. In contrast with the burning in PNG, an African American woman was set on fire inside her car by three men who were suspected as members of the Ku Klux Klan. Similar action, only now with a racial purpose. The case was latter investigated by the FBI and was criminally processed. This news has never gotten into the mainstream either.

Going back to the fate of Muath al-Kaseasbeh (the name, by the way, of the pilot, which I kind of expected most of you to be unfamiliar with, because who cares about the pilot name when the one who burned him is Muslim), his poor life that ended in a fiery inferno has to be degraded into an even lower state of respect with the moment of his death has to be watched by people around the world and becoming yet another strong reason for hating Islam.
The natural responses of going against the act is understandable, we should all feel that way. Death by burning is just cruel and unnecessary. Especially when it’s just to make a bloody point.

Nevertheless, some days after, news circulates that the king of Jordan will pilot jetfighter himself and lead an air strike on to the Islamic states. Many have endorsed the action, calling the king of Jordan a great leader and praising this act of vengeance as a necessary step for justice.

A Total of 26 air strikes were launched across Syria and Iraq. The attack will yield collateral damages that will of course not be reported, in the name of one pilot. The action leads to the death of many men, women and children across Syria and Iraq, including one American. Nonetheless, the world will still see this as an act of justice.

It is hard not to see the irony in the story, and yet most people don’t. Using the sad 9/11 tragedies as an escape goat, the antagonisation of the Muslim has now gone out of hand. With the world seeing these air strikes and Middle Eastern war as an act of justice, hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children has died unnoticed. Yet, we are endorsing these acts.

Of course burning someone to death is cruel and we, as a society, should do our utmost to prevent this from happening and punish the ones who does it. But this doesn’t mean that we should allow ourselves to launch a bloody air strike across a country. If somebody burns your best friend, would that mean that we are allowed to bomb the whole village where the burner lives? If we are allowed to, so what different are we to the burner at the first place? Killing many innocent people just to make a point that vengeance was made.

As the KKK and PNG cases has shown, such an act should be processed accordingly to the law. So does the fate of Muath al-Kaseasbeh’s death. However guilty the man (or group) that burnt him alive, they should be brought into justice through the civilised way, not through a barbaric air strikes.

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” – Voltaire


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