Questo articolo del “The Times” di Londra del 23 Ottobre 1852 riporta un articolo del Giornale di Colonia (Kölner Zeitung) in cui il cronista tedesco, dopo aver detto dell’esecuzione del Báb per ordine del re, descrive nei particolari, inorridito, il massacro dei Babí, che affrontano una morte orrenda, dopo atroci torture, senza un grido, unicamente affermando la loro Fede.
E implora per loro il colpo di grazia, che non arriva mai. “Fortunati quelli che sono solo strangolati, lapidati o soffocati!” -esclama il cronista – e: “le truppe persiane sono macellai, non soldati!” e ancora: “anche il popolo prende parte alla mattanza”.
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PERSIAN HERETICS AND EXECUTIONERS.-The late attempt to assassinate the Shah of Persia was made by two persons who belonged to the religious sect of the Babis. This was the only confession they made in spite of the inexpressible torments of the rack, and, though their muscles writhed under redhot pincers, though their bones were crushed by screws, still their lips remained closed, and all they said was, “We are Babis.” The Babis are schismatics, and they pray to the prophet, but they profer their prayers in a manner which is somewhat different from the devotional exercises of orthodox Moslemim. This sect was founded about 15 years ago by a man of the name of Bab, whom the King ordered to be shot, and who was shot accordingly. The most devoted among his followers fled to Sengain, where they were attacked by the King’s troops. It was believed that all of them, men, women, and children had been put to the sword, and that not a single Babi could be found to disturb the equanimity of true believers; but intolerance has always the same effect, and Babi doctrines took root and spread apace, and at this moment there is not a town in the kingdom without its congregation of secret Babis. The Government adheres to the system of persecution which comes so natural to a Persian, and the heretics have consequently many opportunities to assert the purity of their faith by martyrdom.
The prophet Bab himself told his disciples that the road to Paradise lay through the chamber of torture. If this be true, there is no denying it that the present Shah is very kind to the Babis, for he does his best to send them to heaven. His last decree treats of the utter extermination of the heretics. Now, considering the peculiar character of Oriental ethics, nobody could find fault with the Persians if the poor sectarians were simply and quickly put to death, but the manner in which the capital sentence is executed, the circumstances which precede the last blow, the torments which consume the body until life ends in a last horrible convulsion – these are so revolting that the very thought makes one’s blood run cold. Countless blows falling hard and fast on the backs and the feet of the unfortunates, and the singeing of the limbs with redhot irons, are mere commonplace torments, and he to whom they are applied may thank God for being treated so leniently. But look at those wretches, who, with their eyes put out, are compelled to eat their own ears, which have been cut off, and to eat them raw. Look at others, whose teeth have been broken out by the hands of the executioner offering their bare heads to the hammer which is to break their skulls. Or look at the woful spectacle of the bazaar, lighted up by heretics, whose breasts and shoulders are drilled through and made to contain burning candles. I have seen them marching through the bazaar with a band of music preceding them. Some of the candles were burnt down, and the wick and grease burnt right in the quivering flesh. Nor are these the only torments which the inventive cruelty of the Orientals has devised. They take the Babis, skin the soles of their feet, shoe them as they would shoe a horse, and after this they compel the victims to run a race. I shall never forget the scene. Not a groan had escaped him; he had borne the worst torment in gloomy silence, but now they ordered him to rise and run ; he makes an attempt, but the flesh is weaker than the mind-he staggers and falls! For mercy’s sake, give him the coup de grace, and make an end of it. No; the executioner flourishes the knout, it comes down upon the quivering feet, he leaps up, he rushes forward, and runs. That is the beginning of the end. The end itself is that the scarred, mutilated body is hung to a tree by one foot and one hand, with the head downwards, and then every person may have a shot at it. I saw bodies literally torn to pieces by not less than 150 bullets. Fortunate are those who are strangled, stoned, or suffocated; fortunate, too, are those who are tied to a cannon, or who fall under the sword, the dagger, the hammer, or the club. Not only the executioners, but also the populace, take part in this butchery. The judges now and then present some Crown officer or dignitary with a few Babis, and the Persian feels delighted and honoured by shedding the blood of a gagged and defenceless man. The infantry, cavalry, artillery, the King’s guards, the guilds of the butchers, bakers, etc. – all took part in the bloody scenes. A certain Babi was sent as a present to the officers of the garrison; the commanding general had the first cut at him, and the other officers followed, each with his sword, according to rank and seniority. The Persian troops are butchers, but not warriors. One Babi was sent to the Imaum Giume, who killed him offhand. The Islam has no notion of charity. After their death, the bodies of the Babis are cut into halves, and either nailed to the gates or thrown out to the dogs and shakals – Kölner Zeitung