[Editor’s note: The following column contains graphic descriptions which may be unsettling to some readers.]
It’s hard to go through the holiday season – Christmas and New Year’s – and realize that the horror in today’s world continues. The threats and deaths from Islamic terrorism continue, and the West seemingly refuses to recognize what is going on, who and what is responsible, and to take steps to end it.
But first, Western nations and their media have to pay attention to the atrocities and report them accurately. Too often, they report the “news” incorrectly or with minimum detail, and then the “stories” disappear.
Case in point: the murders of two young Scandinavian women in Morocco on Dec. 22. The story was covered briefly by European media and even less in the United States. I first saw the story on the internet, and there was very brief coverage in my newspapers – but then it just disappeared.
Move on, there’s nothing to see here.
But there was something to see and unfortunately, I made it a point to see it.
The bodies of 28-year-old Maren Ueland of Norway, and 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen of Denmark, were found near their tent. The women had been backpacking in Morocco in the high Atlas Mountains near Rabat.
First reports were that the women had been murdered. Abdelhak Khiam, the head of Morocco’s Central Office for Judicial Investigating said, “The two victims were stabbed, had their throats cut and then were beheaded.”
Short, sweet and to the point – but it wasn’t quite that simple.
The killers photographed the mayhem they perpetuated – moving pictures in living color with natural sound. Not only did they make the tape available online – where I saw and heard it – but they also sent it to the families and friends of the young women.
I was scanning the internet that evening in late December when I came across the video of the murders. I decided to watch it regardless of how horrific it might be; because to a civilized mind, this type of violence is almost unbelievable. I wanted to see for myself what happened.
I thought I had seen ‘beheadings before in the news, the result of
Islamic terrorism. Those had been somewhat simple: kneeling person, long swing of a sword and off with the head. Despite the hideousness of what was done, those videos were relatively antiseptic.
This was different.
I stared at the video and listened with total disbelief. I still almost cannot believe what I saw and heard.
It was a nighttime scene and you could see one woman lying on her stomach with her pants pulled down. There were two men there, speaking Arabic. Then one of them started hacking and sawing at the back of her neck.
I heard screams and suddenly realized it was the victim, crying out for help. Those who heard the audio more clearly, report she cried out “Ow, ow” and then “MOOOOR!” – which is Danish for mother.
She tried to get away from the knife blade, but it only caused the murderer to start sawing at the front of her neck – and at that moment, the screaming stopped, but the murderer didn’t. He kept hacking and sawing her neck and there was so much blood, I couldn’t believe it.
And then it was over, he cut off her head even as she tried to repel the knife with her hand. With the head off, it was thrown on the ground and one tape viewer said it was spit on.
I didn’t see that – the rivers of blood and the cries of anguish were enough for me. I shall never, ever get those images out of my mind, but I’m glad they’re there – for now I know for certain how evil the killers are.
With both women dead and the tape available, what happened?
We’re told 22 people have been arrested in connection with the crime, yet whether they are connected with ISIS is not consistent in the news coverage. It is reported that some of the suspects subscribe to “extremist ideology.”
In fact, Swedish television reported the deaths had nothing to do with Islam, and that if anyone shared the beheading video, they could face up to four years in prison. One of the reports didn’t even mention the beheading, calling the injuries “knife damage.”
The BBC and the Independent in the UK reported the women died from “cuts to the neck.”
Last week, the people in Norway paid tribute to the women in the town of Bo, the location of the college they attended. Hundreds of people stood in the cold, outside the school, to honor the women with two minutes of silence, as flags flew at half-staff.
Unfortunately, the authorities report no more information on the killers nor are the media any more forthcoming on the deaths.
American media have virtually forgotten the story, I suspect because they don’t want to get involved in laying the blame on the steps of militant Islam as seen in ISIS.
Fear is rampant, though they will never admit it.
Further, just last week it was announced by Libyan authorities that they’ve discovered a mass grave with the remains of 34 Ethiopian Christians who were killed in 2015 by armed Jihadists.
I remember the video they released back then of the prisoners kneeling in front of men with swords. We didn’t see the actual killing then nor what happened to the bodies.
Now, we know.
What is it going to take for Western nations to show proper outrage at such savagery against innocents and do something about it? Are we so intimidated by this violence perpetrated by members of a certain religion that we just pretend these things don’t happen?
Tell that to the parents of Maren and Louisa.
Tell that to me after I saw and heard a horrific death.
Or do we just kow-tow to Morocco, where tourism is the second-largest source of income and news reports of terrorism is bad news?
I believe I know the answer. Do you?