Warning: Content may disturb

Earlier today, viewed a 47 minute video of footage of the slaughter and execution of people in Israel on the 7th of October. The video was beyond horrific. The killings and torture combined with the joy and glee of the killers and their supporters can only leave you revolted and somewhat traumatised.

So why did I decide to take up an invitation to watch the footage (an invitation turned down my most media)? Because what happened needs to be witnessed and not dismissed or justified!

I recall the Christchurch Mosque massacre vividly because I was alerted at an early stage to the livestream of the terrorist. I watched it for around 60 seconds to verify it was real, and then contacted managers I knew in social media companies to try and get it blocked out removed. I never went back to watch any more of it, as it is sickening to see human lives snuffed out. It is not something anyone normal wants to watch.

But the difference between the two terrorist events, is that the world rightfully united in condemnation of the Christchurch mosque attack. was at her finest as she responded to it, and only a very very small number of people on the extreme fringes tried to justify what happened that day as being justified by a wider political issue.

Sadly the 7 October terror attacks have not been treated the same. Before the killing had even stopped, there were groups and high profile people around the world celebrating or justifying what happened. The (legitimate) debate about Israel's response had allowed many to consider what happened as just a small or insignificant part of an ongoing conflict.

What was done to civilians on 7 October 2023 was evil. There is no other word for it. The footage (most of it from the terrorist themselves) remains seared onto my eyeballs and soul. I watched it, so I could help ensure it is not forgotten.

Permission has been granted for me to write about what I saw. This will follow after the break. You may not want to read the details, but I think it is important for people to understand what happened that day was not war, but a gleeful slaughter.

The video starts with footage from the terrorists. Each “unit” had been instructed to have at least two go pros or similar. They wanted to broadcast to the world what they were doing, and did so.

You see the terrorists chanting “God is great”. This is not an isolated aspect. It is impossible to ignore that religion was part of this, with a joyful belief that what they were doing was praiseworthy.

You then see the dash cam from a car as terrorists shoot it up from the side of the road. The car carried on for a short while but then crashes at the side of the road, with the driver obviously dead.

Then you see footage of some parked cars as gunmen go up to the cars and shoot everyone inside them. Multiple cars are seen.

We see a house with Jews inside. The terrorists decide not to force their way in to all the rooms. Instead they set the curtains alight, and the family inside are burnt alive.

Inside a kibbutz you see not just humans shot, but also a friendly dog was shot three times by the terrorists for no apparent reason. Oddly shooting the dog was almost more jarring than the mass human killings.

We then see a dad with two sons running through their house. The dad gets them through a courtyard to a room out the back. They hide in there, but a terrorist throws in a grenade and the dad shelters his sons from it and is killed instantly. The two kids not only see their dad die, but are then are brought back into the house and are in despair in the living room while a terrorist casually raids their fridge for a drink.

The younger son is crying that he wants his mum, and asks why they are still alive. Then the mum turns up to find her dead husband, and has to be forcibly removed from the areas while screaming, as the terrorists may still be about.

We then see a female teacher hiding in a kindergarten, as terrorists search room by room for people to kill. She is killed.

The next scene sees a terrorist cut the head off someone they have just killed. He is instructed by his commander to take photos of it.

Then we see a group of terrorists chanting Allah Akbar with corpses around them. They refer to one of the dead as a “jew son of a bitch”. He is also instructed to remove the head, but only has a garden hoe. This doesn't stop him and you see him strike the neck around 30 times with the hoe until he finally succeeds in removing the head. I was visibly shuddering at this part.

We then see scenes in where terrorists return with hostages. They are mobbed and lauded as heroes by the large crowd. The crowd of civilians grab the hostages and start beating them with large planks of wood, and kicking them.

We see a house with multiple bodies in rooms. There are dead children everywhere. Some of the bodies are so burnt they look like charcoal.

Then we see a terrorist take a phone from a dead Jew. He phones home to tell dad and mum how he killed 10 Jews with his own hand. He is so proud of what he has done, and you hear his dad say “God bless” and his mum tells him he is a hero.

Next there is a room with multiple young women in it. They are holding hands crying. Many of them are bloodied.

Constantly throughout you see the terrorists recording their killings, and taking photos. None of them are hiding their faces. They are full of joy.

We see a girl hiding under a table as men search for her. They find her and shoot her in the head.

Next you see some terrorists being ordered to hang the victims in the square, and also to crucify some of them.

Another decapitation with a small knife. The head took ages to remove. The decapitations affect me worse than the actual killings.

The footage then moves to the music festival. You see the paraglider in the background. Then you see a long row of portaloos. The gunmen move along the row firing into each portaloo. They don't open any doors as they don't want to themselves – they just keep firing into them. You then see cellphone footage from two young festival goers hiding in a portaloo. You know they are about to die.

We see hundreds of festival goers running in terror through a field, chased by gunmen. We also see more dog corpses and a hostage being pulled along by their hair.

In the drinks tent covered with Coke logos we see 30 or so bodies. First responders call out to see if any are alive. There is no response – they are all dead.

Then there is a car full of corpses. They are so badly burnt they are basically just skeletons.

The next scene has bodies in a field of ashes. A Wellington based pathologist who flew to Israel to help them deal with the 1,300 dead tells us that some bodies were burnt after death, but some were burnt alive.

You see parents trying to work out if a corpse is their daughter. She is so burnt they are not sure, but then remember she has a tattoo so they look for that to identify her.

You see multiple pictures of young girls filled with bullet holes.

Then we see a burnt corpse with their hands tied behind them.

The final scene reminds me of Pompeii – there are bodies of ashes everywhere. The pathologist tells us that not every victim will be able to be identified. For some it is not known if they are dead, or hostage in Gaza.

We saw 138 bodies in 47 minutes, and that was only 10% of the total killed that day.

Those responsible can't be allowed to escape justice. Some are in custody, and will face either criminal trials or possibly even some sort of international tribunal. The others must be captured. There remain almost 200 hostages to be freed also.

The Wellington based pathologist who volunteered to help with the post mortems, Dr Judy Melinek has written about her experience here. She worked on the 9/11 dead and comments:

The trauma we're seeing is in many ways much worse than what we experienced on September 11. The pace of the work is similar: long shifts sifting through burned, mangled, decomposed human remains, looking for identifying features or property that we can document, our day punctuated by periods where we wait around for the next truckload of corpses and grab some time to eat.

What's different is this: we knew what had killed all the victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. We had all watched it unfold on television or with our own eyes — I was in Manhattan, walking to work, and saw the first plane go over my head seconds before it struck the North Tower. But, here, today in Israel, we aren't just identifying the dead. We are trying to figure out how they died and documenting war crimes.

The opening of each new body bag reveals a fresh horror. A young man with wrist restraints, shot at close range in the head. An elderly woman with a rifle wound in her leg who bled out and died slowly. Teenagers with braces on their teeth and shrapnel injuries in their flesh. Some of the badly burned body parts might arrive in a bag commingled with others. We will then initiate paperwork on multiple separate cases, like after we opened the one bag with two incinerated torsos, a pelvis, and leg bones. None of the extremities were attached to either torso, so they might belong to either of them — or to a third victim. Or a fourth, a fifth.

We must not forget what happened that day, regardless of our views on the wider conflict. We must call out evil for what it is. And surely it is time for the Government to designate Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

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