Look at this picture (November 2008) from Alvaro Ybarra Zavala - @alvaroybarra - from a soldier in the civil conflict in Congo.
For me, at first it was just a random picture of a soldier in my newspaper. Until I realized what he is holding in his hand on the right: one hand from another human being (soldier?). Cut-off with the knife he is holding in his mouth? What horror :( My horror became even more evident and felt like a personal attack when I took a closer look at what he is holding in his hand on the left: Cut-Off Penis With Testicles! He deliberately cut off someone else's (external) genitalia. Why?
The soldier seems pretty normal to me. Rare kind of behavior in history? There is a historical parallel in Ancient Egypt. On the Narmer Palette, one of the oldest archaeological finds in Egypt, King Narmer (Old Kingdom) cut-off heads and genitalia from his enemies (source page 22). It's a find dating from the 31st century BC. 3100 + 2000 = 5100 years old! Rare in Ancient Egypt? No. "Mutilation of fallen enemies was commonplace in pharaonic Egypt. During the New Kingdom cut-off hands and genitals were dedicated to Amen-Re and their tally kept by scribes." (source)
Why? Body counting? Humiliation? Deprived of his vital body parts in this world he can never be reborn in the next? Lust for power? Souvenir? Or ...?
Please don't feel offended with this letter. I seek and want to face our human behavior. Even when it hurts.