The Fiery Cage and the Lynching Tree, Brutality’s Never Far Away – by Bill Moyers

The Fiery Cage and the Lynching Tree, Brutality’s Never Far Away

by Bill Moyers   – February 6, 2015

jordanian pilot

A Palestinian holds a poster with a picture of slain Jordanian pilot, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh during a protest in front of the Jordanian embassy, in the West Bank City of Ramallah, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

They burned him alive in an iron cage, and as he screamed and writhed in the agony of hell they made a sport of his death.

After listening to one newscast after another rightly condemn the barbaric killing of that Jordanian air force pilot at the bloody hands of ISIS, I couldn’t sleep. My mind kept roaming the past trying to retrieve a vaguely remembered photograph that I had seen long ago in the archives of a college library in Texas.

Suddenly, around two in the morning, the image materialized in my head. I made my way down the hall to my computer and typed in: “Waco, Texas. Lynching.”  

Sure enough, there it was: the charred corpse of a young black man, tied to a blistered tree in the heart of the Texas Bible Belt. Next to the burned body, young white men can be seen smiling and grinning, seemingly jubilant at their front-row seats in a carnival of death. One of them sent a picture postcard home: “This is the barbeque we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe.”  [Read more]

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