Images of a Jordanian pilot being burned alive by the militants of Islamic State (Isis) began to filter on to social media and mainstream news sites on Monday. As with beheadings and other brutal acts carried out by the group in the past, there were calls not to share the video or stills of it, out of respect for the dead pilot and his family and in order not to further publicise the terrorists’ message. But it seems the details were so gruesome that many couldn’t help but watch and share.
I refused to look (I never do: it feels too much like giving Isis the attention it craves). But that didn’t stop others trying to tell me in vivid detail what the video showed. Someone even said it was “Bond villain-like”. Isis, it seems, has created a whole new kind of murderous cinematic experience.
Some internet users clearly find the unrelenting goriness of it all captivating - stonings, decapitations, throwing people off tall buildings, sticking severed heads on spikes. Perhaps there’s a compulsion to see just how far Isis will go. But the very act of choosing to witness these things makes us, in some way, complicit.
Fox News is doing its bit for IS of course: Fox News site embeds unedited Isis video showing brutal murder of Jordanian pilot