The sun rose on the fortieth day of the war; its hot, bright, red rays spreading out to light the scene of devastation that plunged man’s land. It shone one the pools of blood, the mountain of slain heads and the general splattering of human body parts. It shone on the camps of the victorious party, its heat drawing the soldiers out.
They gathered near a half blown tree, taking in the sight. It should have been scarring, traumatizing but to the young soldiers of the holy army, it was a work of art. For out in the battle fields lay the severed heads, arms and chests of their enemies.
They had done it. They had finally defeated them, banished them from the face of the earth.
They had won.
Years of torment, of constant humiliation and social isolation had been endured by these young men. Years of ‘Islamic extremism’ and ‘Jihadi John’ and other hypocritical, demeaning jests and jabs at their cause, finally over.
They had destroyed all their enemies, the allies of their enemies and now they could live their lives in the way of god, Allah.
No one would oppose them.
They had achieved Utopia, the perfect world. Heaven on earth, humanity ruled by the righteous under the guidance of Shariah.
And yet, when they turned to their camps, they gasped. Their people lay a waste under the sweltering heat too, their people dead.
We weren’t promised this, they thought. When the self professed Caliph had recruited them, he had said that no one but the wrong doers would be killed. And yet, there he lay- a lifeless corpse among so many others.
He was no different.
As the young man stood near his remains, thinking of when, of all the times he had told them of what he would do when the battle for the perfect world was won, an old, ragged man limped up to them.
He wore the colors of red and blue and white, the colors of their enemy. On cue, the men took stance to attack him but stopped when they realized that he was blind.
Their religion forbade them from attacking the disabled.
As if sensing their hesitation, the man spoke, “What? Can’t attack a blind man?”
They remained silent.
“The world stinks of blood,” he went on, “I don’t have to see to tell. You’ve done it though. You have your perfect world, congratulations!”
Still, no one spoke.
Realization overtook them as the gravity of their situation took them suddenly by the storm.
There was no such as ‘heaven on earth’.
Their version of a perfect world was just that: a version. An imperfect illusion that naïve, little boys could easily fall for. They had blindly followed a mad man, trying to be heroes.
They’d just forgotten one thing.
There is no such thing as Utopia.