Sometimes it’s the continued expression of faith despite being in the midst of suffering for it. Sometimes it’s in the public defiance of oppressive cultural norms. Sometimes it’s displayed by those who languish in captivity with no way of knowing when or even if they will be released.
One thing that stands out in the videos of James Foley and Steven Sotloff is the relative stoicism with which they face their fates. They must certainly have known, if only because of the words that they were forced to speak, what was in store for them, and yet they appear surprisingly composed.
When the tables are turned, the situation has proven to be a little different.
Recently, a number of Islamic militants were captured, and their disposition is anything but stoic or brave. In fact, it can barely be described as adult.
After only a few open-handed slaps from their captors, one is reduced to crying and whimpering like a child.
Bravery is not the absence of fear; no one who has ever faced combat would subscribe to that sort of nonsense. Rather, bravery is the ability to ignore that fear for long enough to accomplish the mission at hand.
We don’t know how long these prisoners had been in custody when this video was taken, but by all appearances it would not seem to have been very long.
It doesn’t appear to have taken very much time at all to reduce this supposed jihadi warrior to a snivelling mess. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for them.