Friday, 6 February 2015

Burning man

The West has been widely horrified at the burning to death in a cage of Jordanian air force pilot Muath Safi Yousef al-Kasasbeh who ejected from his rather decrepit ex-Belgian air force F-16 when it suffered a mechanical problem while he was bombing Islamic State (IS) positions near Raqqa in Syria.

Raqqa, a disputed city in the north of Syria, is now the effective capital of the Islamic State.

Of course IS claimed to have shot him down with a heat-seeking missile, but that is not generally accepted. Far more likely is a fault forcing him to ditch. The Jordanian army seems to have made a failed attempt to rescue him.

Pilot: Burning, full video here.

Two questions present themselves: why did IS burn him rather than behead him, and why is the world so upset about it?

The burning is most likely because that is what he had been doing to other people. He had been bombing the city and doubtless he burned many people to death - so they executed him in the same manner rather than the more usual beheading.

He was put in an orange jumpsuit because that is what the Americans do to their Islamic prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.

And the fury of the West stems entirely from class. Al-Kasabeh was a pilot, therefore an educated man with a job respected in the West. We could imagine being him. We do not really identify with the goat-herders that constitute most of the victims of IS. He was also more European looking than the usual victim, which gets him more airtime than the two Japanese recently killed. Essentially our fury stems from his being one of 'us'.

Which is nonsense of course. Every person values their own life and their death should be lamented to the same degree. But that is not the way of the Western media.

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