But my answer is always the same when I’m asked what outcome I prefer: either result will be the correct one. We’re a pretty canny bunch and don’t suffer fools, so we’ll see through the political game playing and make an informed decision. I know the day I return home to live there I will be safe in the knowledge that we, as a people, decided the shape of our own future. Not many generations get the chance to say that.
The polls have closed and the decision, whichever it is, has been made in Scotland’s referendum. Keep up here on the Guardian and the BBC — although it’s going to be a bit of a wait. The final result probably won’t be until the AM (in Scotland).
It’s hard to watch the video of Steven Sotloff’s last moments and not conclude something similar: the ostensible objective of securing an Islamic state is nowhere near as important as killing people. For the guys who signed up for ISIS—including, especially, the masked man with the English accent who wielded the knife—killing is the real point of being there. Last month, when ISIS forces overran a Syrian Army base in the city of Raqqa, they beheaded dozens of soldiers and displayed their trophies on bloody spikes. “Here are heads that have ripened, that were ready for the plucking,” an ISIS fighter said in narration. Two soldiers were crucified. This sounds less like a battle than like some kind of macabre party.
… and threatened the life of Briton David Cawthorne Haines.
To honor Sotloff, a man who reported on civilian suffering in dangerous circumstances with a lot of compassion, read a selection of his work here at Foreign Policy and at TIME. Also consider a donation in his honor to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Rest in peace.
…ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.
in a way that could offer some help to journalists in danger around the world — you can make a donation in his memory to the Committee to Protect Journalists so the organization can continue to work on their behalf.
…we believe the assassination of a journalist in wartime should be considered an international crime of war.
The Guardian has recently been criticized for running an ad (print only) by the organization This World — an ad featuring Elie Wiesel and saying, among other things, “Jews rejected child sacrifice 3,500 years ago. Now it’s Hamas’ turn.” (Newspapers in the US ran this ad, too, but that’s less surprising.)
Alan Rusbridger responded with a few interesting arguments — primarily that newspapers shouldn’t dismiss ads they disagree with and that it was a freedom of speech issue. Those are valid considerations when it comes to controversial advertising, but this wasn’t an ad for a political campaign or an advocacy group dealing with social issues — it was an ad about an ongoing conflict. And the ad used the child casualties of that conflict as a tool of emotional manipulation. That’s not an issue of whether or not the paper disagrees with a political stance; this is much more than that. The language of the ad was not just offensive to those who disagree with it — it was a base manipulation of the deaths of children.
One of my great disagreements with this choice — while it sounds admirable to forge ahead and publish ads you disagree with — is that it diminished and overshadowed the reporting from Gaza and Israel from Guardian journalists. Advertising should never overshadow the actual journalism, and that’s exactly what it did. When there is a clash between the two, the advertising should go. It is not, or should not be, more valuable to the publication.
Read Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott’s good discussion of what happened.