Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Farmer and the Viper

Kayla Mueller (Source)

Earlier this week, intelligence officials revealed that Kayla Mueller, a Western aid worker taken prisoner by ISIS, had been held as a sex slave, and was repeatedly raped by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. Mueller was purportedly killed in February 2015, after being held captive for one and half years. (Sources: ABC News, The Irish Times, The Independent, The Los Angeles Times).

Several media outlets have discussed why Mueller did not leave when she had an opportunity to escape. But how did she come about such a terrible end? According to The Independent:
Ms Mueller demonstrated an interest in aid and human rights work during her high school years, as a member of the Save Darfur Coalition. She had travelled to the Turkish-Syrian border in December 2012 to work with the humanitarian organisation Support to Life, assisting refugees. In 2013, she spoke about her experiences to the Prescott Kiwanis Club in Arizona, a volunteer group of which her father is a member. “Syrians are dying by the thousands, and they’re fighting just to talk about the rights we have,” she said.
NBC News reports:
Mueller was captured along with her boyfriend after leaving a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, Syria, in 2013. He was released, and she was held for 18 months before she was killed under circumstances that remain unclear.
The Christian Science Monitor states: "Mueller had begged her boyfriend, Omar Alkhani, to take her with him to Syria in order to help those suffering in the war-torn country." Alkhani, a Syrian who first met Mueller in Cairo, and whose name is a pseudonym, believes a co-worker at the hospital may have tipped off ISIS about Mueller's presence. He has claimed that he went back to Syria to try and win her freedom, and that she might have been released had she acknowledged him as her husband.

The timing of the revelation of what happened to Mueller and her fellow female captives comes on the heels of a New York Times piece entitled "ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape." The article states:
The systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was reviving slavery as an institution. Interviews with 21 women and girls who recently escaped the Islamic State, as well as an examination of the group’s official communications, illuminate how the practice has been enshrined in the group’s core tenets.
Of course, the NY Times article is a lie. Not that the rapes didn't occur--they did--but the article is untruthful in conveying the impression that this is an aberration that is unique to ISIS. None of what happened to Mueller is a surprise to anyone that has made even a modicum of effort to understand Islam. As Robert Spencer has discussed in detail, the taking of female sex slaves is a fundamental part of the acts of Mohammed (may pigs copulate on his grave) and his contemporaries, and thus enshrined as part of Islamic theology as acts to be copied by believers. The fact that not all Muslims follow the practice does not make it less of a part of Islam.

The whole incident with Mueller, and the choices that she made, reminds me of the Aesop fable titled "The Farmer and the Viper" (sometimes called "The Farmer and the Serpent" or "The Farmer and the Snake"). The story goes:
One winter a Farmer found a Viper frozen and numb with cold, and out of pity picked it up and placed it in his bosom. The Viper was no sooner revived by the warmth than it turned upon its benefactor and inflicted a fatal bite upon him; and as the poor man lay dying, he cried, "I have only got what I deserved, for taking compassion on so villainous a creature."
(Source; see also this Wikipedia article about the history and some variants on the story). The story is often compared to another Aesop fable, "The Scorpion and the Frog," wherein:
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "Its my nature..."
The basic moral of these stories is that the very nature of a person or creature does not change merely because it has been shown pity or kindness; evil will return evil, even for an act of goodness. The moral blindness of the farmer led to his destruction because he "nurtured a serpent in his bosom."

Of course, I do not have all the facts behind Mueller's decisions. But it appears to me that she was overcome by pity such that she was blind to the basic, inherent evil of the culture among which she was journeying. Even her boyfriend suffered from this delusion, as, from the various accounts above, he thought that ISIS would release Mueller if they knew she was an aid worker. Just as her moral blindness was a factor in her death (please note, I do not attach any moral blame to her; just an observation that her own deficient judgment led her to be in the wrong place at the wrong time so that she became a victim to evil people), it is the moral blindness of the West toward Islam that is leading to Europe's gradual destruction. 

Some argue that moral blindness is taught by Christ by reference to Christ's statement as part of the Sermon on the Mount to: "Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matt. 7:1). However, in the very next verse, he teaches: "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Matt. 7:2). And Paul, in fact, taught: "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (1 Cor. 6:2). Christ was not telling us to abstain from making judgment (e.g., as the Farmer apparently refused to do), but to exercise our judgment in righteousness.

As preppers (realists!) we need to be sure that we do not abandon the exercise of reason and judgment, or ignore our "gut feeling" about a matter, because there are plenty of predators out there that will take advantage of it. If someone starts pounding on your door in the middle of the night asking to use the phone, do you dare throw your door open and welcome them in without further thought or investigation? After a SHTF event, when poor, bedraggled people come knocking, do you just invite them in to share a meal? These are not times for your pity to overwhelm your good sense. It may be the case that they genuinely are in need, harboring no ill will; and it may be that they are a viper or scorpion that will strike given the opportunity. It may be that you need to ignore or turn away such people; or provide assistance in a cautious means that will keep you and them safe. Of course, unlike dumb animals, people can change (e.g., Paul), but it generally takes extraordinary circumstances, and is unlikely; even if a person is able to affect a change, it may only be temporary without constant reinforcement of the change (which, for example, is why AA members attend meetings for years, and perhaps the rest of their life, after giving up alcohol). A change in circumstances will not transform a sociopath into a normal person. Don't be the Farmer or the Frog.

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