Thursday, August 21, 2014


Transmission

Pakistani Militant's 'Demonic' Tattoo Proves...Nothing

A Taliban militant who was killed during a gun battle in Peshawar was found to have an elaborate tattoo on his back.
A Taliban militant who was killed during a gun battle in Peshawar was found to have an elaborate tattoo on his back.
Boris Vallejo's fantasy artwork has appeared in -- and on -- almost every medium possible. He has illustrated countless book covers and comic books, as well as ad campaigns for Old Spice, Carlsberg beer, and others. And, as a simple Google search shows, Vallejo's work has also inspired tattoo enthusiasts the world over. 

In Pakistan, however, one apparent Vallejo fan was revealed who would likely make the artist cringe. A photo by Reuters shows a dead militant involved in a brazen attack on the Bacha Khan International Airport in Peshawar with an unfinished Vallejo tribute tattooed on his back.

"The Express Tribune" ran the story with the headline, "Attacker’s Demonic Tattoo Draws Fresh TTP Conclusions," which doesn't leave the reader with much room for interpretation.

Read for yourself: 

Tattoo experts say the image on the militant’s body symbolizes evil. “Skulls, in my opinion, are demonic representations, but only in visualization. They represent strength, rebelliousness, and serious drawbacks,” said a Lahore-based tattoo artist.

“Mostly people who get such tattoos want to give out a message that they defy death, those who have seen death very closely, including criminals, gangsters and even rock stars,” he said on condition of anonymity.

About the tattoo on the militant’s body, he said, “It looks 10 to 12 years old. The outlines, curves and shading clearly tell that it has not been made by an expert.”

A Karachi-based tattoo artist concurred. “Mostly, criminals and gangsters get such tattoos made on their bodies,” said the artist who works at a tattoo parlor. He also spoke on condition of anonymity.

The article -- and a lot of comments on Twitter and Pakistani blogs -- paints a picture of tattooed people as miscreants and worse. The piece notes security forces' claims that the attackers were "foreign fighters" and that the tattoo shows how the fighters are actually un-Islamic.

But, as blogger Iftikhar Zaidi notes -- also at "The Express Tribune" -- tattoos are hardly uncommon among fighters in the region and, perhaps more importantly, tattoos are permanent and the inked-up militant's unfinished tribute could thus be a "mistake" of the distant past.

As for the specific piece, it may be a picture of a demon, but to label it as "demonic" may be a bit much. Vallejo's work in fantasy -- and the genre generally -- may depict demons and gods of all shapes and sizes, but as interviews with the artist reveal, he is hardly a raging satanist.

-- Zach Peterson
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
 Previous   Next 
by: Nad from: UA
December 18, 2012 03:38
Tatoos are not allowed in Islam, it is prohabited. If the taliban says they fight for islam against westerns, then what the tatoo was doing on his body... means he was not a muslim... non-muslims attacking Pakistan.

by: srs from: ksa
December 18, 2012 03:40
the fact cannnot be denied by such articles n propaganda...the tatto does show to whom he belong...the real terrorist in this world

by: Aamir from: Peshawer
December 18, 2012 05:49
Anonymous sources has become a joke,"The Express Tribune" is owned by ny times,people don't believe it any more,rather a campaign has been launched against it here.These were not normal TATTOOS but SATANIC TATTOOS.People believe here that either he was a handler not a bomber or some kind of message has been conveyed to Pakistan/ISI.

by: Anonymous
December 18, 2012 06:54
Zach. I dont have to educate you about what Islam says on Tattoos. Keep your illogical arguments to your self. We all know in Pakistan who is behind TTP (Tehrek Taliban Pakistan).

by: Imran from: Karachi
December 18, 2012 07:34
I don't understand why Mr zach felt so important about this demonic tattoo on a back of a tarriest.? in Pakistan people knows who is back of these tarriest and what are they up too this is so called war of terror will end up v soon and the TTP friction is a lie for manipulating innocent Pakistani.

by: Ramla from: Karachi
December 18, 2012 08:01
It proves everything. The man had a tatoo of satanic cults, of some zionists masonic groups referred to as devil worshipers. TZP Tehreek e Zaliman e Pentagon ( formerly called TTP] is CIA backed and fighting against Pakistan. We are not stupid or idiots, we can see clearly what is happening.

by: khalid from: dubai
December 18, 2012 08:04
Shame on you ......you are total panic and shock .....Shame on you. This kind of tattoo is special Art and machine maker only in Europe and American
In Response

by: Ali from: Peshawar
December 18, 2012 13:11
well, well, in swat they got some terrorist, they were even not CIRCUMCISED...so you people are trying to say...that it's OK...hahaha..FUNNY!!...world is not that stupid guys...hey MR ZACH ..try to write something else man....except a cover lies... why you journalist guys are sometimes so mean with your profession...
I am just feeling sorry for the stupid Tatto experts from PAKISTAN....(ZACH where did you got them for interview and references or expertise?? :D)
you are just a dump ass liar... with nonsense

by: Javed from: Pakistan
December 18, 2012 14:56
Dear Mr. Zach

Please keep in mind that such kind of artistic tattoos are not common in tribal areas of Pakistan. Even if this person was a non-muslim once and converted to Islam, which i highly doubt, there were ways to get rid of this tattoo. He could have tattood it black completely to hide the demonic face. Because rest assure, it is unislamic and nobody can perform prayers if there is even a tiny picture on the clothes, let alone the body.

Furthermore, please keep in mind that this is the first case that got uncovered in the media. During the operation in Tribal Areas and SWAT, security forces have recovered alcoholic bevereges and pornography along with male potency enhancers in the hideouts of Taliban. But for reasons unknown to me, the higher ups have never disclosed these things on the media. There have also been cases of sexual abuse of innocent volunteers who went to waziristan to take part in the "so called Jihad" by the hands of these very TTP leaders. So my friend, this TTP is not what it looks like. Its not a Jihadist group. Its a cult that is fighting for money, and has now gotten stuck in it. Its sole survival is in recruiting more and more innocent immature minds and turning them into suicide bombers so that it can collect more money from foreign agencies.

Regards

by: Ir from: Pakistan
December 18, 2012 17:33
dear Zac,

I see you have tried to prove your point rationally but there is no such thing is a tattooed taliban, most of these so called taliban are illiterate brain washed people and they cant even write their own name, getting a tattoo and of that kind has simply taken everyone aback and forced everyone to rethink that who actually are these people and please do not forget this dead guy is not amongst the attackers , after the attack was neutralized the secret agencies homed into these guys as they found out earlier that there are more people who were coordinating that attack from outside.
In Response

by: Syed from: London
December 18, 2012 20:49
A lot of effort being put in to justify the tatoos by saying that he could have been a revert to islam and that old tatoos dont go away so easy. my question is for someone who believes in islam to the extend that he is willing to give his life for the cause, cant he bear the pain to have it removed/erased so that his namaz is acceptable to say the least...
In Response

by: pakistani banda from: pakistan
December 19, 2012 04:18
its not painful, its expensive laser surgery not available in pakistan costing 1000s of dollars for removal of even the smallest tattoo(u can google for tattoo removal costs)...they cant afford it, its too expensive.
There are many converts, there was one giving lectures on peacetv, he had tattoos all over his body, but he was a good muslim. And his tattoos were also demonic etc...But he couldn't get all of them removed due to very very high cost of removing them...

And also, many of these talibans are from uzbekistan and kazakhstan etc etc...where such tattoos are alot more common than afghanistan and pakistan.

by: Ali Aziz
December 19, 2012 03:34
Just think about Mr Boris (whoever) coming to Uzbekistan 12 years ago ( 2,001) during 9/11 scenario and offering free tattoos in the streets of Uzbekistan or Kabul or even in Peshawar... wake up....don't fake up....These are bloddy US mercenaries.....
In Response

by: pakistani banda from: pakistan
December 19, 2012 08:06
tattoos are quite common in uzbekistan...

He was probably a non-muslim back then who later converted.

and the tattoo could be even older or younger...10-12 yrs was just an estimate...bad quality tattoos dont last as long. And it may be faded because perhaps he tried to fade it out as much as possible and the tattoo could be less older than 10 years...
Comments page of 3
 Previous   Next 

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

Most Popular