I just now saw the cellphone video of one of the killers in Woolwich. It is pure barbarism. And all the more weirdly so for taking place on a busy London street, in front of passers-by, just a few yards from a school.
Blood all over his hands, and all over the cleaver and the knife he’s so casually brandishing. None of the distance of guns here, let alone drones. No attempt to hide, or to flee. Instead, a rant into the camera “justifying” what he and his friend have just done: run down a man and then hacked him to death. In the name, good god, of God.
I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, what strikes me is the way this man exults over what he’s done. He’s pacing back and forth like an animal after a kill, like a predator — a lion, say, or even a “domestic” cat when it catches a bat — proud of what he’s done, showing off, all but beating his chest.
And guarding his kill, keeping everyone away from “it.” “No man comes near this body,” witnesses report his friend saying, but you can see a woman calling them on that, then bending down to try to help the victim, then standing up to challenge them over what they’ve done. That’s courage.
As for the so-called quote from the Quran, he’s in fact in direct opposition to it. Sura 5, verse 45, specifically states that an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth no longer applies. It says that “previously” — in the Torah — “we ordained an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (see Exodus 21:24) but now, it continues, “if anyone freely forgoes this right, it shall count as an act of expiation for him.”
No expiation for these two men. They are vicious murderers, pure and simple. Nothing more, and nothing less.
And that terrifying ignorance, that self-justifying righteousness, that pure bloody-minded and bloody-handed inhumanity, is the enemy of us all.