Saturday, December 02, 2006


This guy is the real thing, brought into the honored profession by a set of curious chances:

"I was at school, and an execution was set for my father in Mecca. It was to take place in front of the King Abd Al-'Aziz Gate. Before all that happened at the Al-Haram Mosque, the executions were held there. We showed up. I was a little boy. The first thing that came to my mind when people talked about executions was the digestive system. I wanted to see it. At that time, we had an exam at school on the digestive system, and we had to explain about the digestive system and whatever... So I came along, and the moment my father executed the man, I ran to see the digestive system, but all I could see was the man's head flying, and where the neck used to be, there was a kind of well. It went down. That's it. I couldn't take it anymore. I woke up in the car on the way home. At night, I tried to go to sleep, but couldn't. I had nightmares, but only once. Then I got used to it, Allah be praised. "

Turns out the lord high executioner was a little late to the interview because he was so busy getting ahead in his they had to get someone else--a psychologist!--to fill in transiently:

Dr. Turki Al-Atyan, Saudi Interior Ministry psychologist: "The rulings of the shari'a - executions or other punishments decreed by Allah - are carried out by the sword, not by hanging or by gunfire. In the past, gunfire was used, and the victim's guardian was allowed to do the shooting, but out of the fear that possible injustice, Saudi Arabia decided that executions would be carried out by the sword."

The entire passage from MEMRI sort of reminds me of the kind of story you might chance upon in the Lifestyle section of the NY Times Medieval Islamic Times... It's always amusing when life imitates art, especially when there is no sense of humor or even a whiff of irony.

Behold the Lord High Executioner
A personage of noble rank and title —
A dignified and potent officer,
Whose functions are particularly vital!
Defer, defer,
To the Lord High Executioner!
Defer, defer,
To the noble Lord, to the noble Lord,
To the Lord High Executioner!

-The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan)

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