The dark side of the world
Caroline Glick at the Jerusalem Post describes the murder of Ilam Halimi in a City of Light where a dark illumination has begun to shine.
The story of Ilan Halimi's murder at the hands of a terrorist gang of French Muslims brings to the surface the various pathologies now converging to make the prospect of annihilating all Jews seem possible to our enemies. First, there are the murderers who took such apparent pleasure and felt such pride in the fact that for 20 days they tortured their Jewish hostage to death. ...
As Nidra Poller related in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, "One of the most troubling aspects of this affair is the probable involvement of relatives and neighbors, beyond the immediate circle of the gang [of kidnappers], who were told about the Jewish hostage and dropped in to participate in the torture." ...
It appears that Ilan Halimi's murderers had some connection to Hamas. Tuesday, French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said that police found propaganda published by the Palestinian Charity Committee or the CBSP at the home of one of the suspects.
The French authorities now believe Halimi's murder was in some way connected to anti-semitism although they disregarded this possibility during the early stages of the investigation into his disappearance.
The police maintained their refusal to investigate the anti-Semitic motivations of the kidnappers in spite of the fact that in their e-mail and telephone communications with Ilan's family, his captors repeatedly referred to his Judaism, and on at least one occasion recited verses from the Koran while Ilan was heard screaming in agony in the background.
The principal suspect, now in custody, is a West African man called Youssef Fofana, who styles himself the "Brain of the Barbarians".
For three weeks, the "Barbarians" detained and tortured Ilan Halimi. When he was found on February 13, he was naked, handcuffed after being dumped near railway tracks in a Parisian suburb. He suffered from severe burns covering 80 percent of his body. Traces of cigarette burns, iron burns, and various cuts (made by knives and scissors) covered his body. He passed away in an ambulance before reaching the hospital.
Police arrested about a dozen suspects so far. The gang leader's was finally arrested in the Ivory Coast where he went into hiding two days after Ilan's death. The "baits" used to trap Ilan, three women, are also among the suspects.
However, there must have been many witnesses to the crime, which spread over weeks. The shrieks and screams brought on by torture must have been heard by some of those living in the building where the horrific scenes were taking place. Yet not one soul, not even one anonymous caller, alerted the police in the suburb of Bagneux.
In a perverted variation on the theme of multiculturalism, Mr. Fofana may have embodied the fusion of murderous traditions, by combining gang warfare, primitive practices and radical Islamic ideology into one lethal cocktail which the unfortunate Mr. Halimi was forced to drink. Michael Crichton often makes the point that in complex systems like global society, unexpected combinations are to be expected. This is true not only of the mutation found in physical diseases but in memes as well. Ideas, no less than organisms, continuously transform themselves. Notions of good and evil, now derided as hopelessly old-fashioned, were the old bulwarks of mental sanitation. They permitted the public to possess a sense of outrage, a reflexive fear of things that call softly and menacingly out of dark places. They could bring out the village with torches and pitchforks against the Forces of Darkness.
Good and evil was later identified through the mechanism of free speech. But until recently the existence of right and wrong itself was unquestioned. Debate had closure; there were goals worth striving for; causes worth fighting for; and beauties worth dreaming of. Today the sense of right and it's inseparable companion Free Speech stand on the edge of illegitimacy. The light is about to go out from want of air: Ilan Halimi -- and other canaries -- have expired in the coal mine.