What hating the others can do: We saw several pieces of weak reporting in the New York Times this week.
We expect to review a few of those efforts tomorrow. Today, consider some memorable reporting by the Times’ Rod Nordland.
Nordland described some recent events in Mosul. This is the way he began:
NORDLAND (3/25/15): Islamic State militants in Iraq on Tuesday publicly stoned a man and woman to death on charges of adultery, parading the victims in a public square in the northern city of Mosul, according to witnesses and an Iraqi military official.Accused of being nephews! Meanwhile, let’s not forget to parade our victims in the square. Hatred of the others can be a very powerful force.
Later in the day, the militants publicly beheaded three young men on a street in central Mosul, accusing them of being the nephews of a political opponent of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
They were the latest in a series of public executions of people accused of social offenses in the city, which the militants wrested from Iraqi control last June.
The stoning victims, who were not identified, were in their 20s, witnesses said. The woman was described as being married. It was not known whether they had been given a trial, but none was held in public.
Empathy may be less powerful, at least in the moment. We were struck by this account from an eyewitness who described himself as helpless:
NORDLAND: Another witness said he had tried to record video of the execution on his cellphone but was ordered by the militants not to do so.He was moved by the crying, but helpless.
“I was moved by the crying of this woman, who started bleeding and then died from the stoning,” said the witness, Saad, who gave only his first name out of concern for his safety. “I was standing there helpless. The government has left us as captives in the hands of ISIS, who make all kinds of crimes in the city. The more I see their crimes, the more I hate them and realize they have come to carry out a paid agenda to destroy the city and its history and civilization and to defame the image of Islam.”
We humans! We’re strongly inclined to hate the others. We thought this remarkable bit of reporting deserved a second look.