Viral Video: Escaping an ISIS massacre

A chilling video from New York Times reporters captures the terror and brutality of ISIS. Viewer discretion strongly advised.
A chilling video from New York Times reporters captures the terror and brutality of ISIS. Viewer discretion strongly advised.

This chilling video captures all too well the terror and brutality of ISIS, the Islamic militant group that has captured headlines around the world. Produced by New York Times journalists, the riveting mini-documentary features footage shot by ISIS, b-roll gathered by Times photographers and a centerpiece interview with former Iraqi soldier, Ali Hussein Kadhim, who miraculously survived an ISIS massacre.

Actually, massacre is the wrong word. It implies a surprise attack. This video reveals a mass execution, one in which perhaps 100 soldiers and the two men on either side of Kadhim were shot. A bullet meant for him somehow missed. He played dead for several hours, then made his way across the Tigris river, nearly falling once again into the clutches of ISIS militants who, when they’re not beheading journalists, are hunting and killing Shiite Muslims.

The video comes with a warning about graphic violence, and it makes sense to proceed with caution. The brazen jihadists of ISIS, their faces covered, their fingers always on the trigger, enjoy recording their exploits. Several scenes depict the murderers gunning down their captives, shooting them in the back of the head as they lay with their hands tied behind their backs. The victims, with no time to plead and no way to escape, die with a horrible inevitability. The footage reminded me of scenes from Schindler’s List, with ISIS in the role of modern-day Nazis.

This video has a happy ending for Kadhim. He is shown reunited with his two small children. He suggests that, perhaps, his thought of his kids growing up without their father may have steered the fatal bullet away from his head at the last moment. For his comrades those same thoughts were no help at all. In a freeze frame, bodies litter the ground around him. 



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About the Authors & Contributors

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson is a filmmaker, film critic and indie radio deejay. He enjoys strong coffee, red wine, IPAs and his wife and grown children. He is comfortable with the fact he will never be rich, but grows petulant if he thinks too much about it.