No one tried to stop the horror. The poor man, who stood near a tree, with a hood covering his head and chains tying his feet and hands, fell to the ground after being stabbed in the neck. The boy finished him off by stabbing him repeatedly in the chest while the poor soul lay writhing on the ground.
Regardless of the guilt of the man, the manner of his execution makes one shudder in disgust and horror. It seems that the death sentence and mode of execution were passed by one of the multitude of Islamic courts that sprang up in Mogadishu with the lack of a strong central government.
Islam instructs us to slaughter sheep humanely by using a sharp knife that cuts the jugular vein quickly to prevent the suffering of the animal. In Saudi Arabia , one of the few countries that practice public beheading, the executioner uses a sharp sword that cuts the head of the accused with one stroke bringing immediate death. The barbaric execution that took place in Mogadishu violates these instructions and gives us a picture of cruelty, barbarism, misguided justice and failure to appreciate the value of human life.
This cruel execution brings to my mind a story in the novel links by the great Somali Writer Nuruddin Farah in which the main character in the book, Jeebleh, stops a young boy from torturing an Alsatian dog in labour. Jeeble intervenes forcefully and drives the boy away. He then helps the dog deliver its litter. Jeebleh nearly lost his life when two young men sneak into his hotel room and try to murder him. Jeebleh wonders whether the assassins were after him for the way he treated the elders of his clan in an earlier encounter or for helping the Alsatian.
When I saw the pictures of the execution, I thought that I was in a dream and reading a chapter from Links. But this is was no fiction. It is a real story that actually took place in Mogadishu. Only in this case of the poor man stabbed to death by a 16-year old boy, the crowd lacked a courageous soul like Jeebleh to prevent the barbarous act. Any one trying to protect the poor man would probably have faced the same fate.
In Mogadishu there are hundreds of murderers who kill and rape with impunity. Their crimes go unpunished because of the strong clans protecting them. The Islamic law of Mogadishu seems to apply to the poor, weak and unprotected. No one condones the act of murder committed by the executed man, but the manner of his execution is reprehensible. If there was a need for his execution, it should have been carried in a proper Islamic manner.
This incident clearly portrays the need for a strong central government in Mogadishu that brings back law and order to this troubled city held hostage by warlords and Islamic courts controlled by cruel individuals who practice laws that are far removed from true Islam.