OP-ED

The satisfactory killing

Killing humankind is condemned by all religions. In Islam, killing is justified for self-defense. Last week in Sana’a, a strange killing took place. Two Yemeni tribesmen tried to kidnap a Westerner on Haddah Street, which foreigners often frequent, and the man immediately killed the two men before they reached him. He was armed and ready to take their lives before becoming a hostage. It was extraordinary, and had never happened before.

It was actually pretty sad that this was the talk of town, and caused a media frenzy. It was very satisfactory for the public, who want a more secure and stable country. It also seemed like great news for foreigners, who are very worried about kidnappings that have become commonplace, for the sake of making money, extracting government favors, and disturbing the peace.

Over the past three years, Yemen has seen a surge in foreign kidappings. Half of them have been paid at the cost of a large ransom, and the rest have been sold to al-Qaeda. Over twenty foreigners representing different nationalities are still at the mercy of their kidnappers.

Of course, no one should encourage someone being free after killing Yemenis, even under the suspicion of kidnapping. It worries me that this mindset may start affecting those who guard diplomatic missions and NGOs. Foreigners should not let this type of thing happen again. I am against any bloodshed, and I share my sympathy with those who have suffered from it, such as the recently kidnapped photojournalist Luke Somers.

Some people may recall the case of Japanese ex-council Mr. Sotomine, who escaped an attempted kidnapping last December, but he had more certainty about what was happening, and also used martial arts to escape the situation. He didn’t shoot people dead based on hazy information. 

The whole case is very troubling, and disheartening, especially since high-priority foreign staffers are increasingly trained to use weapons. I know this is the case at reception parties and official gatherings especially. There is a very thin line, though, between killing kidnappers, and simply shooting someone because they look suspicious. 

In any case, it is sad that this is accepted, and sad that this is authorized.