May 07, 2006

The Bloody Murder of Muslim Jouralist Atwar Bahjat


Via The London Times Online :

Update: See Rusty here who says, "Ah young Paducan learn to trust your feelings". (Note extended entry was posted yesterday.)

Nobody but her killers knew just how much she had suffered until a film showing her death on February 22 at the hands of two musclebound men in military uniforms emerged last week. Her family’s worst fears of what might have happened have been far exceeded by the reality….

...We now know that it was not that swift for Bahjat. First she was stripped to the waist, a humiliation for any woman but particularly so for a pious Muslim who concealed her hair, arms and legs from men other than her father and brother.

Then her arms were bound behind her back. A golden locket in the shape of Iraq that became her glittering trademark in front of the television cameras must have been removed at some point — it is nowhere to be seen in the grainy film, which was made by someone who pointed a mobile phone at her as she lay on a patch of earth in mortal terror.

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....

...I found it hard enough to bear the news of her murder. When I saw it replayed, it was as if part of me had died with her. How much more gruelling it must have been for a close family friend who watched the film this weekend and cried when he heard her voice.

The friend, who cannot be identified, knew nothing of her beheading but had been guarding other horrifying details of Bahjat’s ordeal. She had nine drill holes in her right arm and 10 in her left, he said. The drill had also been applied to her legs, her navel and her right eye. One can only hope that these mutilations were made after her death.

Also see the Mudville Gazette who adds:

Regardless of which side in the conflict killed her (and I have my own thoughts on that - in the eyes of her killers her greatest crime was most likely being a woman outside of a kitchen) the London Times reporter can't resist a mild apology for their act:
Just as Bahjat bore witness to countless atrocities that she covered for her television station, Al-Arabiya, during Iraq’s descent into sectarian conflict, so the recording of her execution embodies the depths of the country’s depravity after three years of war.
In truth, it represents a depth of depravity achieved over centuries. From the description, her killers hadn't just conceived or improvised their method execution on the spot - they seem to have been well practiced. But such is the nature of the enemy in this war, and perhaps this is their most sacred and well honed knowledge: if a brutality can be inflicted that exceeds all human ability to comprehend, the humans will find a way to deny it
Blue Crab Boulevard says :
This is the face of evil itself. That the monsters choose to hide behind masks shows how deeply depraved and cowardly they really are. We must remember we are at war. Or that face will show itself again and again.
Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch chimes in with the following:
Anyone who thinks that God's greatness is established by such acts of barbaric cruelty must be resisted at all costs.
I want to add one thought. I know this is a horrid thing. I’ve seen several of these things and they turn my stomach. I dread having the even think of it. But this video should be released as respectfully and responsibly as possible. Hard to do I know, but the public must be shown this evil. Otherwise how are they to know the truth. Also I have an all too realistic awareness of what the threat below really means. We don't want to release it but we feel we have to release it. The Jawa Report will bring you updates if and when it becomes available. Our prayers go out to Atwar Bahjat and her family.

Others : Malkin and Captains Quarters.

See our beheading archive; Warning Graphic Images.

(note the beheading of the Nepalise hostage is very similar in description. Don't watch it unless you are certain you want to and are over 18 or 100)

Photo credit CNN:

By Howie at 10:00 AM | Comments |