OPINION: It’s pleasing to think that if we had to have a Kiwi jihadist, he’d be a dingbat, a bearded fuzzy-thinking bumbler who’s a tribute to his Kiwi upbringing on International Women’s Day.
We made Mark Taylor an upstanding lad like George Washington; he cannot tell a lie. He’s not shy about his male chauvinism. He shuns guile. He knows that in a better world – the world of Islamic State, which he joined – a man is free to buy a female slave while the going’s good. And he laments not having the minimum of US$4000 to even buy a woman over 50, he tells us, let alone up to US$60,000 for a genuine young female virgin with all her own teeth.
I mention teeth because they always matter with horses.
A former wife has reported, you can imagine with what a sigh, that he was of an erratic nature, and liked to spend his time playing violent video games. From there it was just a hop, skip and a jump to Syria to join IS, having torn up his Kiwi passport and got an Indonesian one. Just more of the same daily drill, I guess, without a nagging wife irked by his morbid pastime, and with real flesh and blood.
Taylor seems to have had a few wives, but his story so far is confusing. We do know he wanted in on sadistic cruelty, public beheadings, destruction of monuments, and the degradation of women. He wanted out when the tucker ran out, and he seems now to want both our sympathy and a free trip home.
Ah, the innocent dream. We all had those once.
IS treatment of the Yazidis, which he must have known about as a member of the club, will live in infamy as one of the great genocides of recent times, among other atrocities that made the free world gasp, and he was prepared to go along with it. As for the captive Yazidi women, Taylor could have joined in the auctions if he’d had the cash. But this was an alpha male-driven world concerned with financial status along with atrocities and bigotry. He couldn’t compete with the high rollers.
I feel for him about that. I take a less cheery view of his possible redemption, though, than some commentators, who take him at his word that he was just a border guard and sometime teacher of children.
Being a bumbler, acknowledged by IS as well as the world, is a distraction from the reality of what Taylor witnessed without a problem, and what he seems to have intended to do when he had himself photographed for publicity purposes with a nasty-looking saw, suitable for beheadings. He also urged on film, somewhat half-heartedly, that supporters at home should attack our police. That wasn’t bumbling, however slack his delivery. It was appalling.
He was a party too, by joining IS, to the destruction of world heritage sites including 3000-year-old Nimrud in Iraq with its wonderful winged statues, and Palmyra, where fellow jihadis martyred the ancient site’s guardian in the rush to erase all history other than their own.
I can’t see the fun in that, or in the plundering of museums full of irreplaceable artefacts. But time moves briskly on, and Taylor now dreams of a future medical marijuana business back home, or failing that, his own café.
The bad news is that both endeavours would be even more expensive than a weeping captive woman aged more than 50 on an auction block in the short-lived, perfect world of the caliphate. And he turned up his nose at that.