The Forgotten Murderer in Damascus
The world recoils in the aftermath of the Norway massacre by Anders Behring Breivik. But is a slower-moving yet much more lethal killing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad already fading into the background of the news cycle?
Breivik killed 76 people and wounded many others in his murderous onslaught. But at least we can be certain that he will never have the opportunity to kill again. Even if Norway's justice system may allow him to be released after 23 years, it is certain that he would be under strict surveillance on the outside, unable to scratch his nose without the authorities knowing about it. The threat from this man is over.
Assad just keeps killing, though. Eleven more were killed by Syrian security forces this Wednesday, adding to the roughly 1,600 Syrians who may already have been killed in the recent violence (without taking stock of those killed under Assad's watch prior to the Arab Spring, surely not an insignificant number). Over 20,000 have been detained by a regime known for pulling the fingernails out of young children or killing youths and adults alike through brutal torture. So the casualty figure may actually be much higher than 1,600. And the state will not be monitoring or detering the threat from this particular madman, because Assad is the state.
We have captured one monster, who was made all the more fearsome for the placid and scenic surroundings in which he carried out his massacre. But a mighty and bloodthirsty ogre still stalks among a people no longer content to live in fear. And he is not the only one.
Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist