This man, Khalid al-Asaad, 83 years old, a resident of the city of Palmyra, Syria, was taken to the city square and beheaded on Tuesday by ISIS. They'd been holding him for weeks, having overtaken Palmyra some months ago.
Al-Asaad was the city's archaeologist, the man responsible for keeping up and taking care of Palmyra's extensive archaeological treasures. “He was a very important authority on possibly the most important archaeological site in Syria,” according to a specialist on Islamic art. Virtually self-taught, al-Asaad regarded the wealth of antiquities in Palmyra as his passion.
His head, his glasses still on his face, lay between his feet as his bloody body was suspended by red twine from a traffic light right there where he was executed, an old man, an expert in Islamic art and antiquity, an enemy, apparently, of the jihad.
Speculation has it that ISIS wanted information on the whereabouts of the very treasures al-Asaad had studied for many, many years. The horror of his very public death some attribute to the strong possibility that al-Asaad died doing what he did all during his life--protecting those antiquities, not revealing their whereabouts.
If you think that ISIS cares about antiquities from its own Islamic faith, you're wrong. The history ISIS wants told is the history they write. Nothing else matters because everything else is the work of infidel apostates to whom death is due.
News was released last week that Kayla Mueller, the American relief worker captured and then killed by ISIS months ago already was likely repeatedly raped by her captor, a man who was said to have married her, a jihadist named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. ISIS, I guess, rapes in the name of Allah.
Anyone who's seen pictures of the flotilla of Syrian refugees washing up on the shores of Greek islands has seen fear, despair, and finally relief on Syrian faces. They believe--and who can doubt--that the only way for them and their children--and their babies--to stay alive is to find sanctuary in the west. More than 21,000 have already come ashore on island coastlines.
Although no religious group has suffered more at the hands of ISIS jihadists than fellow Muslims, an article in the NY Times last week legitimately questioned whether Christianity in the Middle East would soon simply disappear. Every atrocity known to humankind has been perpetuated by jihadists on Christian believers, "crusaders," as some militants call them, bloody persecution beyond imagination simply because Christian believers confess the name of Jesus.
That the rest of the world can't seem to stop ISIS is incomprehensible. But that young people from all over the world daily continue to pilgrimage to the Middle East, where they volunteer to join their ranks of jihadist rapists and murderers is as mystifying as it is horrifying.
An 83-year-old archaeologist from Palmyra is just the latest evil.
It's easy to feel that way, isn't it? An old man is beheaded--that man in the picture at the top of the page. It's just the latest evil.