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ISIS Girl Ignites Public Imagination with Beheading Theater

Mujahidah Bint Usama pixelated

Mujahidah Bint Usama, 21, a.k.a. the “terrorist doctor, ” has become the latest ISIS identified performer to fill Western hearts with fear and awe. Like the original ISIS head chopper, MBU is also a Brit, which makes you wonder: what is it with British Muslim converts and cutting off people’s heads?

Also, what is it with medical students suddenly calling themselves doctors? And where do you take the terrorist doctor boards? These questions must be answered before things get out of hand.

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Before I provide the obvious answer to all these questions, permit me one observation: as an avid fan of Hollywood action movies, I couldn’t help noticing the huge increase in throat cutting in American films and television since the execution of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl on February 1, 2002, by the Taliban.

It was as if all across Los Angeles, writers and producers sat up straight suddenly, awakening from the haze of medically approved substances, and said: hey, we should use that!

Now, that was throat slashing, which is gory enough, and from year to year, more and more American screen villains put away the old fashioned guns, cleavers, chainsaws and ropes, and picked up throat slashing.

We live in a culture, which is a compost heap of ideas and fantasies, and whatever you’ll throw into the compost heap will fester and grow and do things, usually pretty disgusting things.

Now ISIS has upped the ante. Because in entertainment you have to do bigger and more exciting things, otherwise your audience will switch the channel. Look at what happened to Al Qaeda – they can’t get even CNN to report on them, and CNN reports on double parked cars.

And everything these folks are doing, from toppling the World Trade Center to beheading people on You Tube, is nothing but performance art on a grand scale.

I know a thing or two about performance art. Back in the day, I was the assistant to a young and very disturbed man named Sami Shmuel, who received his 15 minutes of fame by bashing little chicks on stage. There was an entire moral message there, of course, about how the audience is hypocritical because they care about these chicks, and not about – I don’t even know, small starving children somewhere, probably, that’s always good.

My job was to care for the chicks and hand them to the man for smashing. Don’t ask. I didn’t last long, and neither did the show. Because, inevitably, Sami arrived at the point where everybody got the idea, the shock value diminished at a rapid pace, and soon enough people became bored with the concept of a guy smashing chicks on stage. I mean, it was so last week.

That’s the theatrical dilemma faced by ISIS right now. They’ve done three shows of masked British accent guy beheading a kneeling, innocent westerner. For most of us, it’s already more annoying than frightening. We got it, British accent man, you’re going to behead this man, who is now speaking to us about the atrocities of the west. Martha, where’s my sandwich?

Which is why, for instance, on the third beheading, this week, British accent man introduced his next victim, contestant number four, also in the traditional orange robe. Even that change in the script is an admission of failure on the part of the performance artist: he figured he needed a cliff hanger. You get it? A beheading of a grown man, with a job and a family, in the open desert, had to be jazzed up a little, with a cliff hanger. What will happen next week? Is he really going to behead victim number 4? The ratings are sinking, do something…

And so, the stage is suddenly taken over by Terrorist Doctor girl. It’s refreshing, it’s ironic, it’s a big improvement over British accent man, who was getting on our nerves already.

Mujahidah Bint Usama, formerly known as Betsy Bangle, or Fiona Brown, or just Peggy, is a doctor for ISIS (and for Allah) in Raqqa, Syria. She tweeted an image of herself wearing her white doctor’s jacket and holding a severed and bloody head, with two children standing beside her. Next to this lovely image she entered the caption: “Dream job, a terrorist doc.”

The girl has a fine sense of humor, and a great knack for ironic statements. She’ll go far in this business.

But she, too, will have to do more than just pose with the severed head, or we’ll switch away from her, too.

How about beheading the children next to her? Been done. How about eating a victim’s heart? Done. There’s only so much you can do to the human body, even if you’r an inspired psychopath, and Mujahidah Bint Usama is one strong case in favor of forced hospitalization.

I need to make two more points before I let you go.


One: Beheading is in the eye of the beholder. take, for instance, the David and Goliath story. I wikied it and foundthe drawing “David hoists the severed head of Goliath” by Gustave Doré (1866). We’ve all seen this and similar images, and maybe there was a tinge of shock the first time around, but one thing is clear: our first inclination was not to consider David a homicidal maniac and a psychopath. It deems some contemplation, which I urge you to do. as in all human affairs, context is everything.

Two: One of the countries supporting the American effort against the crazy, beheading ISIS, is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. According to the Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia has beheaded at least 19 people since the beginning of August. The offenders had been convicted of drug smuggling and sorcery.

See? It’s all in the context.

Now go and have a nice day and please keep the beheading of others to a minimum.



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