Living in a society run by the media, where every single action, view, or opinion can be documented extensively and quickly on social networks, arguably has its flaws, and this week alone, has been a key example of that.
On Tuesday, the world was thrown into uproar after militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) leaked a video showing the brutal murder of captured Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, who they filmed as they barbarically burned him to death in a cage. Stills of the video immediately appeared on Twitter and various mainstream news sites, and the link to a full video, over twenty-two minutes long, was quickly passed around, many who watched it commenting on it in vivid detail.
Why anyone would want to sit and watch as an innocent man horrifically loses his life in such a way, defies comprehension in all individuals with a right thinking mind. Obviously, those investigating the authenticity of the video such as the Jordanian and US government’s have to watch, although not by choice. But the question at hand concerns public viewing. Is a brutal murder as such, already not anger-inducing enough to grab our full and complete attention?
I haven’t watched the video, I feel no reason to, but according to reports and images that have been released, the video is thoroughly cinematic in every essence, edits, quick transitions, a variety of panoramic angles and shots, something that is reminiscent of the high quality editing used on Hollywood movies, except for the fact that this is real life – and those movies are not. Lengthy descriptions accompany the still images on news sites, but I’m certain neither of the ones written can suffice to the true horror and relentless brutality of the real thing.
Since the video surfaced to heavy condemnation and protests of ‘do not share’ on Twitter, a few individuals have decided to go against the grain by suggesting that we do in fact watch the full video instead, in order to feel enraged, including Piers Morgan, who wrote a column urging others to watch the video on the Daily Mail. But I undoubtedly think Morgan is wrong in this situation, you don’t need to watch the video to feel enraged, the fact that it happened in a world where human rights, ethics and moral status should be freely available, should already be enough to make you feel enraged, with burning hatred towards ISIS. Piers went on to state that he was ‘glad’ that he watched it, so he now knows what the “monsters are capable of”, but did the previous beheadings, executions, and horrific murders of thousands of hostages, civilians and innocent human beings not already provide a horrendous, yet unfortunately accurate insight into the way ISIS heartlessly operates?
Fox News have also decided to propagate the video by hosting the full, uncensored video on their website, embedded in several of their articles and available to view by anyone with access to internet, therefore helping the video to get the traffic ISIS wanted it to have. I can’t help but think that there is another agenda and factor at play here, other than their seemingly rather insistent commitment to informing and “educating” the masses, which is news to me, but I’m sure anyone with even half a brain can work out what their real motive is.
ISIS (The Islamic State) wants you to watch the video, that’s why they filmed it, and released it in the first place. They want you to watch as they burn that poor pilot to death. They want you to feel fear, they want you to essentially become complicit in its terrorism, they assertively want all these things, and by watching the murders they cruelly film you’re giving them exactly what they want. Who wins if you watch the video? Certainly not you. Anyone who views, disseminates, or shares the video is playing their role efficiently – their role in ISIS’s murderous script of harrowing propaganda that is.
Piers Morgan also stated that Muslim’s, like myself, should watch the video, and inexorably concluded his piece with the following line, ‘This is YOUR war”, but that’s missing the point entirely, as this is everyone’s war. It has always been everyone’s war, if you’re a human; this is your war, that’s it. Being human is the only criteria you need to understand that this is your war. But do we, as humans, regardless of what nationality, race, or religion we belong to, really have to watch and share such atrocious videos to feel enraged by ISIS’s actions? No, we don’t, because as horrific as it sounds, ISIS know they can make their execution videos go viral, so by watching and sharing we are being complicit in its radical and macabre tirade, not to mention sparing virtually no thought for the families and friends of the victim himself.
We know what happened, we know who did it, and we know what we should do- and that on its own should quite frankly be enough. By watching ISIS’s videos, we’re playing a part in their game, but we shouldn’t.
We should play ours.