Recently, ISIS has been all over the U.S. news and I assume the global news as well. The Islamic extremist group aims to establish an Islamic Caliphate unified under Sharia in Iraq and Syria. They are renowned for their violent beheadings and torture of prisoners from all parts of the world. Something I have been curious about since hearing about the conflict is what it would be like to be a prisoner of ISIS. Are you actually tortured night and day? Do you have to do labor work till you collapse? Or do you just sit around in a holding cell until they figure out what to do with you?
I did some research and found an article from The Daily Banter, written by Michael Luciano titled Former Isis Prisoner Reveals Group Is Insane Just Like We Thought. Luciano opens his article with a review of the two U.S. journalists that had just been beheaded and the suspect of the executions being Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary of the United Kingdom. Luciano paints the picture of the atrocities that ISIS has done as of late to lead into the subject of the article, which is an interview with an ISIS prisoner who lived to tell the tail. ISIS has frequently vocalized their willingness to negotiate with governments for the lives of their prisoners and in this case, the Turkish government did so in a deal that’s details have yet to be disclosed. The prisoner was Turkish photographer, Bunyamin Aygun, and he was a prisoner of ISIS for 12 days. Aygun reports that he was gagged and tied up for a majority of his imprisonment when he was not being heavily interrogated about his life and faith, “We were forced to take ablutions and pray five times a day… It was the only time they would unbind my eyes and hands.” Aygun said that the interrogators would warn him that if he was a Muslim then he had nothing to fear but if he was lying they would kill him. They asked about his entire family and read through all of his social media content. To my surprise, and the surprise of Aygun, he said his captors seemed to be mostly Turkish from both Turkey and Germany. Later in the interview Aygun talked about how his captors would only do two things, pray and talk about how they wish to be martyred for their cause of establishing an Islamic state that would live as the prophet Muhammad once did.
Even after reading Aygun’s interview, I have trouble imagining the stress he was under. Being bound and gagged 24/7 with your only relief being when you are forced to pray while being surrounded by gun wielding men who find beauty and pride in death would terrify me beyond imagination. He was able to get home safely thanks to his government but can you imagine being an American or British prisoner right now? Our governenments haven’t successfully gotten a prisoner back alive yet and we don’t even know if they’ve tried. I know families have written to ISIS pleading for the safe return of their loved ones but when the U.S. has a strict no negotiations with terrorists policy, it would make it a little disheartening to be there right now. I’m not saying that the U.S. nor the U.K. aren’t trying their best or should start caving in to the demands of ISIS but at the same time I hate seeing my fellow Americans murdered senselessly for a cause that a lot of us still don’t fully understand. I trust our government knows what it’s doing so I hope to see some results soon. Do you think the U.S. should be doing something else to ensure the safe return of prisoners? Should we attempt to negotiate with ISIS? Or do you believe we should continue our airstrikes until ISIS is reduced to a controllable size? Leave a comment and let me know.