Emirates NBD Essay 2016: The Death of Muath Al-Kasasbeh: The Politics of Mourning, Memory, Identity, & Power

Emirates NBD Essay Prize

Emirates NBD Essay 2016: The Death of Muath Al-Kasasbeh: The Politics of Mourning, Memory, Identity, & Power

08 Mar 2018

By Ronald Y. Chen

Captain Muath al-Kasasbeh was a Jordanian pilot captured and subsequently killed by ISIS, or ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyah fi al-Iraq wa as-Sham in Arabic, hereafter referred to by the Arabic acronym Daesh. On February 3rd 2016, a video was released showing the grotesque execution of the pilot. He stood in a cage doused in gasoline, and was immolated. In the video as flames engulfed his body, Daesh made an appeal to the public for information about the whereabouts of other Jordanian pilots, offering cash rewards to supporters and threatening coalition forces similarly horrifying fates. This came at the end of two months of unsuccessful negotiations between Daesh and the Jordanian government for the release of the captured pilot. Subsequently, the monarchy promised “an earth-shattering” swift and powerful revenge, and the escalation of military efforts, aided by the international community.

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