What on earth goes on in the minds of the members of the mob who threw those stones?
What was their relationship to the couple? Did the women throwing the stones gather water together with the woman who they killed? Did they weave baskets together and share tips on parenting or strategies to keep a bug-free home? Did the men slaughter goats together for festivals, both the men throwing the stones and the man buried up to his neck? Where there, among those throwing rocks, childhood friends of the victims, who threw rocks at trees together as kids, hoping to knock down a piece of fruit?
Or were the victims always outcasts. And easier to victimize? Or were their political overtones to the choice of victims? Had so much recent violence desensitized them all? Was there anyone in the crowd who had not witnessed other violent deaths in recent months? Was the village almost abandoned already, as refugees fled hunger and war? Was the accusation of adultery made by occupying soldiers? Or by neighbors or cousins or jilted lovers?
Did the rock throwers wear masks, or cover their faces with scarves? Of did the dying victims gaze into the faces of people they had known all of their lives as they slowly and painfully died? Did children witness the slaughter? Or were they ushered away before the burial started?
What did they think about as they threw the stones? Were there members in the crowd who tossed a few half hearted throws, only because they feared the consequences if they did not? Or was everyone caught up in the frenzy of righteousness? When they returned to the homes after the deaths, did they think about the victims? Were they haunted by images of blood and pain and death? Invigorated by their own power? Did they eat a big hearty meal after the act, or did they feel as if they had a rock in the pit of their stomachs? Did they have frantic sex with their legitimate spouses, feeling righteous about the act? Or did they retreat into quiet contemplation and confusion?
Mob violence never ceases to baffle me. And haunt me.
I googled images of the dusty little town of Aguelhok, and this is the image that wikipedia offers.
These are the streets that the victims walked. The streets they shared with their murderers. This is the color of the soil in which they were buried up to their necks before being stoned.
Looking at the image makes me feel empty inside.