is of an Afghan woman, alleged to have been the lover of two Taliban commanders, publicly and brutally murdered.
Not executed. No. Execution suggests the involvement of some sense of civilized justice. Hers was not an execution. This was cold-blooded murder in the name of some perverted religious belief and perverse tribal custom.
A few people protested in Kabul, but they will not change an ancient society that accepts and promotes honor killings and public executions for non-capital offenses. A few demonstrations will not guarantee gender equality, respect for other humans, or plain old common decency.
This video is the latest in a plethora of similar videos, including stonings and beheadings, that populate the results of the simplest searches. They are easier to find now than they were just a few years ago in the early days of the Internet. How weird and wild is that?
Readers may remember back in 2007 when this writer described a mobile phone video out of Iran showing the stoning death of Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year-old Kirdish girl. News reports said religious leaders and male family members condemned her to death because she dishonored the family by not coming home one night, apparently spending the time with a Muslim boy. Other reports suggested they killed her because she converted from Yazidi to Islam.
Regardless of the reason, eight or nine men dragged her into the street and stoned her for half an hour until she died while a crowd stood and watched.
Three months earlier, a 13-year-old Pakistani girl died from mutilation and stoning simply because she danced at a wedding.
Readers may also remember the stone-by-stone description of a video that became part of the Congressional Record in 1998 when Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) showed the smuggled video
of a public stoning of four people in Iran. It is a gruesome account that should not be viewed by the merely curious or those easily sickened by terrifying images of torture.
About five minutes into the video, a group of men carry one victim wrapped in a sheet to the center of the plaza. They carefully place the mummy-like figure into a hole as if transplanting a tree in someone’s yard.
A couple of minutes pass before men place the second victim into another hole. Then, about half a minute later, hundreds of men crowd into a circle and begin the execution.
The two white figures writhe as stones hit them from all sides. A man walks up to one shroud and pelts it with rocks. A stone knocks the cover off the other person who is face down with head bathed in blood.
The tape jumps to the scene of a third person brought in, shrouded. He stands stock still as ghastly gardeners plant him in the hole.
Someone shovels dirt around a fourth individual who bends at the waist. Feet tamp the earth around him to make sure all is snug.
The circle of death reforms as the man with the shovel makes his final tamps. The crowd chants in agitated anticipation.
The stoning begins with lusty yells. It is a frenzied scene devoid of humanity. Scores of stones fly quickly and strike horribly. The shroud around one head explodes into red. The two ghostly figures totter. One falls forward only to be pelted backward.
The camera zooms in. The man on the right writhes as his shroud comes loose. He struggles as the pile of stones grows around him. The circle contracts slowly until fewer than five feet separate the murderous men from the objects of their execution.
Killers stand close enough to caress their victims. But they do not. Instead, they pick up more stones and fling them with all their might.
The condemned thrash, fall over, sit back up, fall back again. One goes suddenly still. The other rises almost defiantly in the face of hard death.
Now the crowd stands within inches. Men pick up rocks as quickly as they can, in some macabre competition to see who will cast the last stone in the deliverance of Allah's justice.
Both figures are still. The crowd disperses. The video ends. And nothing changes, it seems, for these people who prove time and again, year after year, that they are not like us.