(Guest post by Greg Forster)
In 2004, Italian security officer Fabrizio Quattrocchi was captured in Iraq by jihadi terrorists, who were at the time winning propaganda victories, and recruits, by executing captives on video. But they won no victory with Quattrocchi; as his death approached, he pulled the hood off his head and shouted: “I’ll show you how an Italian dies!” The video was such a propaganda defeat for the terrorists that regional television networks – normally eager to help the terrorists by showcasing these videos – wouldn’t broadcast it. Mark Steyn commented that allied governments, who normally instruct civilians to cooperate with their captors in hopes of avoiding death, should instead instruct them in the Quattrocchi Protocol: “If you are captured, wreck the video.”
Nazar Mohammad Khasha wrecked the video. When heavily-armed Taliban thugs came to arrest Khasha for the crime of making fun of the Taliban, he looked right into the cameras and made fun of the Taliban.
“They have mustaches on their backsides” he said, smiling, hands bound behind his back in the center-rear seat of a car, with Taliban gangsters sitting on both sides of him, brandishing guns. (Mustaches symbolize bravery in the local culture, the Washington Post explains.)
So one of the thugs hits him in the face. Hard.
And he keeps smiling.
After a second blow, he stops smiling. But by the end of the video, the smile is back.
Immanent torture and death could not kill the spirit of freedom in this man, and he wanted to make sure the world saw it.
It was the last we would see of him. He was brutally killed in Taliban custody.
Not for the faint of heart, if you care to watch how a true Afghan rides off to die:
Khasha, commander of a local police unit in Kandahar, had become a figure on social media by mocking the Taliban. His goofball brand of humor earned him a wide following.
But after our shameful betrayal of our allies in Afghanistan this summer, the clock was ticking for Khasha. In late July, the Taliban showed up and arrested him. They recorded the arrest in hopes of a propaganda victory.
But all they got for their trouble was mustaches on their backsides.
And, eventually, a mutilated dead body. Which they seem to be pretty fond of, given that they make so many of them.
Of course, the United States, in obedience to our generations-old and splendidly bipartisan foreign policy tradition, took robust action to defend those who made the mistake of trusting our promises:
…or else we will be very, very angry with you.
And we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.
It’s all the more vital to honor people like Khasha now, as the world’s biggest BSDDers become more and more adept at manipulating Hollywood and media companies, so we only laugh at the jokes they choose to permit.
For all our morbid obsession with the supposedly insuperable bounds of cultural particularity, I suspect Khasha and Taiwan’s magnificent President Tsai Ing-Wen would have understood each other quite well:
“Taiwan is standing on the frontline of defending democracy.” I sure am glad somebody is.
To withstand Beijing, I’d place a longer bet on Taiwan’s decency and moral courage than on America’s high-tech arsenal – even if it is the second-best in the whole world.
In the noble tradition of Fasi Zaka, I nominate Nazar Mohammad Khasha for the Al Copeland Humanitarian of the Year Award.