Bringing history to the present
People often mention witch-burnings as an example of the barbarism of Europe during the Dark Ages when Christianity truly dominated society. But the term "witch-burning" has become something of a cliché, a mere word tossed off without much thought being given to what it actually means or what it must actually have looked like.
Well, now we know what it looked like. The video that shocked the planet this week showed us what happened fairly often in the public squares of European towns during the later Middle Ages -- happened fairly often over a period of generations.
It was public entertainment, too. During the age of fervent religion, crowds of ordinary people would gather to watch that. It was a show. There seems to have been no crowd of ordinary people gathered to watch the murder of al-Kassâsbah. Even ISIS men must have known that twenty-first century humans would have been sickened and outraged by the spectacle, perhaps to the point of being unable to restrain their reactions even under threat of punishment. We are getting more civilized over time.
In the Kurdish music video parodying ISIS which I posted a while back, one of the lines was "bring history to the present". I assume this was a reference to ISIS bringing back barbarous practices from the distant past, such as punishment by stoning or amputation or beheading, mass killing of "heretics", and the death penalty for homosexuality. The ISIS regime that horrifies all civilized people today is pretty much just what a society based on actual Old Testament law or Sharî'ah law would look like. In fact, back when those societies existed, this probably is what they looked like. Unfortunately there were no video cameras back then, so we haven't been able to see such a society in all its glory.
Until ISIS came along to show us.
Updates: Jordan is in shock over the horrific murder of its pilot -- and turning revenge-minded.
The often-divided Arab world is unified in anger and revulsion toward this atrocity.