Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Who can understand?

The pursued takes pride in murder as righteousness.
The pursuer takes pride in not discharging his firearm in 28 years.

Some excerpts from the trial of Mohammed Bouyeri, arrested for the killing and near decapitation of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh:

Calmly, remorselessly, he insisted on the righteousness of his act, repeatedly stating he would do the very same thing again if he got the chance. Bouyeri said that in his worldview, there is a "law that instructs me to chop off the head of anyone who insults Allah and the Prophet."

Bouyeri's speech left the courtroom audience stunned. When he told the police officers who pursued him after the killing that his aim indeed was to kill and be killed, some of them found it difficult to hide their tears. In a culture where a policeman, as one testifying officer put it, can be proud he has not used his firearm for 28 years, such dedication to violence is unheard of.

As Bouyeri told the judges: "You can send in all your psychologists, psychiatrists and experts. You will never understand this, you cannot understand it."


I wonder about self-righteous men like Bouyeri who in acts of devotion to Allah visit violent death on others who do not share their views.

I think about the incarnation: that God in an act of love for humanity would put on flesh to die violently on a cross, so that no one else need taste the sting of death.

It is not merely the conflict of worldviews that disturbs me. I wonder if there is even the slightest possibility of dialogue.

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