Horrified by ISIS Execution Video, Jordanians Remember Fallen Pilot With Pride


From a video created by the popular site Kharabeesh to pay tribute to the fallen pilot, on their Facebook page.

Hundreds of Jordanians took to the streets chanting slogans of solidarity with the Jordanian state, hours after an unverified ISIS video emerged on February 3 showing the horrific killing of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh.

This video uploaded by alghadnewspaper on YouTube shows people chanting “We will sacrifice our souls and blood for you, Jordan” and holding placards that say “Death to Daesh (The Arabic acronym for ISIS).”

Some protesters also called for the execution of Sajda Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber behind bars in Jordan. ISIS had demanded Rishawi's release as part of a prisoner exchange deal with Jordanian authorities for Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, who was captured by ISIS militants after his plane was shot down late December, 2014 in Syria.

Jordan's Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has called for a funeral prayer in absentia to be held in all of the kingdom's mosques on February 4, while Jordan's churches tolled their bells mourning their fallen hero.

In solidarity with the pilot, divided on revenge

Tweets linking to images from the purported execution video are geo-tagged to ISIS stronghold Ar-Raqqah city, in Syria’s war-torn Aleppo province. Jordan State TV reported that Al-Kaseasbeh was allegedly killed on January 3, but the nature of today's video was a shock to many, who refused to let ISIS propaganda cast a shadow on his memory. 

An Amman-based Twitter user explains:

Syrian Journalist and Analyst Hassan Hassan explains that while some Jordanians expect their government to avenge its pilot's death, such a response is perhaps not the most appropriate:

Jordanian Blogger and Co-founder of 7iber, Naseem Tarawnah calls for a national conversation, fearing a dark road ahead of Jordan if concerns are not addressed appropriately:

Exiled activist Iyad El-Baghdadi says that in order for change to happen, the cycle needs to be broken from within:

Don't share the video

The 22-minute execution video showing Al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death, while locked in a cage, is highly stylized and edited with graphics. The video features ISIS logos, cutaways to an interview with the pilot, news broadcasts on the pilot’s capture and images of war. 

Randa Habib of AFP reported its impact on those closest to the pilot:

The grotesque video, in the form of screen-grabs, quickly spread in social media. Many discouraged others from spreading those scenes in an effort to respect the victim's family and honor his memory.

Jude Qattan, a Jordanian university student called for a blackout on the video:

Journalist Andy Carvin also made a strong case against circulating the video:

Washington DC-based Bridget Johnson asked that Al-Kaseasbeh be remembered as a proud Jordanian pilot:

Sharing a photo of Al-Kaseasbeh while in Istanbul, BBC Journalist Faisal Irshaid said that “this is how we remember him” instead:

Those who watched the video, on the other hand, were taken aback by its content, dubbing the act of burning someone to death as barbarism. Tarawneh said that it was the worst 22 minutes of his life:

Egyptian Blogger, tweeting under the title of The Big Pharaoh, equated ISIS with Nazis:

Muath, the Hero

Yet many, using the hashtag #IamMuath and #كلنا_معاذ in Arabic, expressed their solidarity with the victim's family and remembered him for serving his country as its pilot. Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations Dina Kawar dubbed Al-Kaseasbeh as Jordan's brave hero, and a symbol of courage:

Buzzfeed's Sheera Frenkel also mentioned the victim's family and their tireless efforts of campaigned for his release:

The group's latest act prompted a discussion on the depletion of humanity. Jordanian Photographer Amer Sweidan summed the views of many in his tweet:

Egypt-based Journalist Mohamed Abdelfattah was rendered wordless over the news:

A day before, Jordanians stood in solidarity with Japan after ISIS purportedly released a video beheading journalist Kenji Goto. Muath Al-Kaseabeh, was believed to be in captivity along with Goto.

Kharabeesh, a news site based in Jordan, released an animated video tribute to the fallen pilot on Facebook. Within 3 hours the video had been viewed 130,000 times. 

Deena Abu Mariam tweeted banners raised in Jordan that stood against terrorism, and in solidarity with Japan:

Jordan's Queen Rania Al Abdullah saluted Al-Kaseasbeh for serving his country with honor:

You swore the oath and fulfilled your promise. You are the homeland's martyr. May God rest your soul.


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