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Jalalabad Urination: Facebook Censorship

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06 August 2013

On Saturday a suicide attack unfolded near the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.  A dozen people were reported killed with another twenty wounded.   Eight of the killed were reported to be children.

The next day, 04 August, another bomb exploded in Jalalabad, wounding another sixteen people for a two-day total of about forty-five killed and wounded.

An Afghan friend forwarded the image above, saying this was a suicide bomber who was shot before he exploded and that his vest had been removed.  The man who forwarded the image said that even the kids hate these people.  Needless to say, this image, bad as it is, marks an important “atmospheric” in the war and is newsworthy.

For people unfortunate enough to experience a few suicide attacks, the image of the child urinating is not shocking.  The thunder of the bombs, the inevitable automatic weapons fire from security forces, follow on attacks, the frequent secondary explosions, the shrieks, the stunned children and adults stumbling in the smoke, the fully electrified high tension wires dangling waiting to fry people, the ambulance that arrives filled with explosives, the clothes and body parts up in the trees along with thick smells of petroleum and flesh all create a screaming chorus.

Normally little is left of the suicide bomber.  Often some random piece, a foot, or as so many veterans have noticed, his penis and testicles will remain magically intact but with no body.  The dogs come out to snatch pieces.  The people who are collecting body parts of their loved ones or rushing wounded to hospitals are frustrated, in shock, for what to them is normally a random act, often at a public market.  For a child whose mom and dad are killed, if he or she has no great family, that’s it: a life of prostitution has begun.  “Boston bombings” happen every day in Afghanistan – but usually much larger.  Many bombs are so big that they thunder.

Yet random, pearl clutching westerners who never experienced a suicide bombing are shocked out of their skins that a child would urinate on a suicide attacker.   The horror of the suicide attack is like a freight train running over your brain, while the urination after such an event is little more than a cup of tap water poured onto the face of a demon.  It is an insult, a slap to the face, yet in context it is the sound of a fly landing in a hurricane.

Having been to Jalalabad many times, I can say with certainty that locals have plenty of experience with these demons.  Context is not lost in these memories.

I posted this image on Facebook and amid hundreds of comments, Facebook posted:


Facebook included this note, blocking my account access:


Most sad about this Facebook affair is that Facebook makes no stab to censor video made by Marines who urinated on enemy corpses in Afghanistan.   Even today this video can be seen on Facebook.

These words are not to defend the actions of a handful of Marines who behaved like idiots and took the time to make video – and then somehow released the video.  US service members are well trained never to defile corpses.  These men were not random civilians.  They were professionals.  Marines.  Marines know better.  They violated orders.  They made video.  They somehow released the video.  That is “stupid x 4” and they got what they had coming, yet as per normal the media jumped in and fanned the flames.


Facebook makes no effort to censor poor behavior from our Marines.  This is fine.  It was a newsworthy event and should not be censored.  The families of our same Marines no doubt would be calling the Taliban savages if the Taliban defecated on the faces of dead Marines and posted it online.  If the sandal were on the other foot we would call it a war crime and demand B-52 justice.

But just why Facebook feels the need to protect the dignity of a suicide bomber who was reportedly involved in attacks that killed and wounded upwards of forty-five people this Saturday and Sunday, while widely advertising and condemning the poor behavior of a handful of Marines who were immediately disciplined, is beyond perverse.

The image of a child urinating on the face of a suicide attacker is a noteworthy and newsworthy atmospheric of local sentiment in America’s longest war, where nearly 3,400 American and Coalition allies have died, with more than 20,000 wounded.  We poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the war, yet with Facebook’s “Godlike” stature and severe arrogance, it feels worthy of passing judgment on what people around the world are allowed to see.

This is the same Facebook that allowed people to post death threats against George Zimmerman after he was found not guilty at his trial:


A concerned citizen petitioned Facebook to remove the death threats, to no avail:




More than 80,000 people subscribe to my Facebook and Twitter feeds.  This precipitous, politically charged editing by Facebook in particular will result in my decreasing usage of Facebook.

Facebook is enjoying the peak of its power and influence.  Yet at this rate Facebook will walk the path of the dinosaurs.  The day will come when the ants will gnaw on Facebook’s bones. 


Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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