Wednesday, April 25, 2007

That beheading

Sam Zarifi of Human Rights Watch calls the clip (available on YouTube) of a 12 year old boy cutting the throat of a grown man for the Taliban "truly shocking, without cultural context or historical precedent". One can see what he means, or rather feels. But he misses a point. Everyone, including the Taliban, is operating in a global media environment (not merely Greater West Asia, the Ummah, South Yorkshire or whatever). In that global media context, where all are influenced by all, the actions have plenty precedents in West Africa (Sierra Leone etc) and elsewhere, and in an arms race of atrocity may be inevitable.

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