Many editorials and columns have been written on the subject of ISIS, both at the Optimist and in various other publications. Though I have known about the Islamic State for quite some time, it’s been through word of mouth and social media posts.
Earlier this week, as I was reading the news in the morning, I read about a 30-minute propaganda video released by ISIS. Curious as any other journalist might be, I went to see if the video was easy to find so I could understand what the propaganda was.
Unfortunately, the video was easy to find. I had not once looked for any of the videos released by ISIS because of their inherent graphic nature. This one in particular seemed interesting simply for the propaganda aspect of it.
What I found was far worse than I could have imagined. When I had previously imagined a beheading video by ISIS, I imagined shaky early ’90s camcorder-style video, not the quality of a film that we see in theaters.
The video explained that the captives were Christians who refused to pay a monetary tax for their faith and refused to convert to Islam. It goes through 28 minutes of words, images and special effects. Twenty-eight minutes of content that was produced better than some popular independent films.
Then, suddenly at the end of the video, in a gruesome pan shot with sound included, 15 men are shot in the head near some trees, and 15 more men are decapitated with horrifyingly small knives, much smaller than I had ever assumed would be used for a decapitation.
In less than a minute, 30 of our brothers in Christ were killed for refusing to pay money to practice their faith and served as a propaganda warning for other Christians in the Middle East.
After the video, I walked across campus to the library, ordered a drink and sat down to continue working. I couldn’t work, or think, because of the horror that I had seen inflicted on men who believe in the God I believe in.
So let this column just be a simple reminder for you to be grateful as someone who walks and speaks freely on a gorgeous campus that celebrates God. I know it will always serve as a reminder for me.