I am a very curious person. Sometimes, I’m a little too curious for my own good. This insatiable curiosity got the better of me a couple of months ago. It all started with the news: I watch the news a lot and I have been keeping up with the war in Iraq. This is why I watched all the news reports about Nicholas Berg and his capture. Then, I followed along as it was reported that he was killed. He wasn’t just killed. He was beheaded.
Beheaded? I have to admit I wasn’t even aware that this particular form of execution was still in practice. I guess it shows how clueless I really am. I also found out that this horrid scene was videotaped and that it could watched on the Internet.
One of my friends saw the video and sent me the link. She said, ìIt’s really gross. Be sure you want to do this.î I wanted to watch it – I don’t know why – I just did. Before I finally decided to click the video link, I stared at the webpage for a few long moments.
It started. Masked men stood behind Nicholas Berg who was bound and sitting on his knees. He wore an orange jumpsuit like the kind prisoners wear here in America. He kept his head down. The masked men remained quiet except for the leader, who read from a paper he held in his hands. Since it was in Arabic, I don’t know what the paper said. For most of the video he read. Anticipation built in me because I knew what was coming. I just didn’t know when. My heart raced; I guess part of me hoped it wouldn’t happen. That it was all a big hoax.
Suddenly, in one swift act, the ringleader drew a long sword and grabbed Mr. Berg by the hair. He yanked Nicholas’ head back and, despite the fact that Nicholas Berg fought his attackers, he couldn’t get away since the rest of the men held him down.
I won’t go into the gory details about the rest. Let me just say that beheading a person is not easy. There were gruesome sound effects. It was worse than any scary movie I have ever seen. It was made worse by the fact that instead of it being a bad horror movie, this was real.
Nicholas Berg wasn’t a character in a movie, he was just an average Joe with a family. As the ringleader paraded around the room holding just the head in his hand, I watched in horror. The group of masked men laughed and cheered.
All day long, I replayed the scene in my head. Even now, months later, I can still see it. A range of emotions dazzled through my body: I was angry, sad, and horrified. At the same time I was proud. Proud? I was proud of Nicholas Berg. He was an American and whether he knew it or not, he died for his country. I was proud to be an American. Here in America, I don’t have to worry about these kinds of things happening.
A few Sundays ago, we had a new Pastor give our sermon. She said that Osama Bin Laden and Saddam were my neighbors and I should love them. God loves them. I had to think about this for a while. That was probably the point of the sermon, to make me think and it worked.
Watching the video, you can see that it takes pure evil to do something like that. The video solidified my support of the war in Iraq. Although I am still in support of it, for a minute, I had to think about it. However, I am forever changed. The video opened my eyes. It showed me a war that I hadn’t seen before. A real war not the dumbed down version on television.
I am happy to live in a country where I am free. I hope the same happens in Iraq. I can’t wrap my head around these people being my neighbors and loving them as God does. Maybe, I never will. Although, I know that they are just doing what they believe is right just as we are. Once this war is over, there will be another one. It seems we will never be able to live in peace. Maybe, one day we will. Until then, we’ll just keep trying.
Carlene Reed is the author of Coffee Table Tales.