07 July 2006

A Little Less Empathy on 7/7

The seventh of July will no doubt bring forth assorted opinions from condemnation, perplexed indignation, confusion to varying degrees of sympathy, if not for their methods, at least with the "alienation" of the 7th July 2005 bombers.

My own memory of the day is rather blurred, and afterwards amongst the confusion of thoughts two ideas stood out: the Bus and Aldgate tube bombings.

The bus bombing which ripped apart a number 30 bus, going south on Tavistock Square took place outside the BMA headquarters and near the dole office, just off Tavistock Place.

The Aldgate tube bombing was in an ethnically mixed area, only minutes from the East London Mosque, and frequented by many Muslims and workers going home.

So the Jihadists were perfectly happy to murder doctors, the unemployed, Muslims, students, poor workers and commuters, etc when it suited them.

Whilst I wouldn't dream of trying to think myself into the mind of the psychotic 7/7 London Jihadists, I do wonder at the utterances of the would-be apologists or "root" causers.

I expect that we will be told that “but for Iraq, Afghanistan and British troops, there would be no 7/7 bombings”.

That might well be true, however, I think that Jihadists, like their 1930s comrades, need only pretexts for their actions, not reasons. A supposed grudge, some hostility, a nihilist’s belief system and an opportunity will suffice for them. They will scamper around and incorporate any likely pretext as a motivation for their mass murder.

The question is: are we gullible enough to believe their lies, their stupidity, and their wanton callousness?

Naval gazing from the chattering classes will not defeat that Jihadists, neither will military might. Jihadists are the purveyors of backward looking nihilism so that ultimately they can only be defeated by ideas and an acceptance of modernity.

Today's societies should not be apologetic about modern ideas nor misjudge the destructive capacity for nihilism, which was all too evident in 1930s.

Again we should argue for the ideas of the Reformation and the age of Enlightenment, any attempt at apologising, empathising or underestimating the Jihadists will be our downfall.

Such views were seen in the 1930s, when people underestimated another group of psychotic murderers. We must not make that mistake.

1 comment:

Matt said...

It is a mistake to associate the Jihadists with Hitler. It is only justifiable for the most superficial of reasons. The Jews are obviously associated with both, but not for reasons inherent to ideology, culture, or anything that's particular salient. It is the fact that Jews are involved which provokes inaccurate associations with the Holocaust. It is like comparing Charles Manson with the Unabomber: both evil, yeah, but clearly totally different things going on.

As for underestimating, we learned that underestimation is a problem, but overestimation is a problem too, especially with terrorism. In a sense, to big-up Al Qaeda is to recruit for them. But it is obviously useful to big-up Al Qaeda for certain governments, who feel that more power for them is something they want.

As for your analysis of the psychology of suicide bombers, anthropologists and cognitive psychologists have studied these issues properly, to relatively scant attention from the mainstream media. Where did you get your information from about your analysis of the psychology of a suicide bomber? Are you just guessing? Do you have any kind of inside viewpoint? For instance, do you think that it is genuinely from a nihilist viewpoint, or from within a structured religious belief system, or from a viewpoint of a persecuted community, or some other viewpoint? What is your evidence?

BTW, I have supplied a few anonymous messages over the past day or two (not the "rightwing prick" one). I didn't realise there was a facility to provide your name without registering. The speech for Ehud Olmert I am actually on the verge of finding offensive. Especially when it goes to Chechnya - are you really saying "don't criticise us because someone else did something worse/ just as bad?". There's a saying, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of simple minds" which I think applies here.