The Madness Continues

bahjat.jpgThe Times of London reveals that Atwar Bahjat, the respected TV journalist who had been reported killed last February, was horrendously tortured and subsequently beheaded on camera. (Warning: Graphic excerpt.)

Just as Bahjat bore witness to countless atrocities that she covered for her television station, Al-Arabiya, during Iraq’s descent into sectarian conflict, so the recording of her execution embodies the depths of the country’s depravity after three years of war. A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.

Her cries — “Ah, ah, ah” — can be heard above the “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) intoned by the holder of the mobile phone. Even then, there is no quick release for Bahjat. Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left. Only now does the executioner return to finish the task. He hacks off her head and drops it to the ground, then picks it up again and perches it on her bare chest so that it faces the film-maker in a grotesque parody of one of her pieces to camera.

The voice of one of the Arab world’s most highly regarded and outspoken journalists has been silenced. She was 30.

Read Hala Jaber’s piece, where she also celebrates what Atwar Bahjat stood for.

Update: Abu Aardvark did some digging, and it turns out that the video is a hoax. It was not Atwar Bahjat on the tape. The murder remains what it is, though: A gruesome act of violence in a country gone mad.

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