A brief history of suicide bombing in the Muslim world, as reported on the Suedeutsche Zeitung starting from Gilles Kepel’s book “Die Spirale des Terrors” (French original: “Terreur et martyre“):
- In the 1980’s, during the extraordinarily long Iran-Iraq war the almost-exhausted Islamic Republic started sending children to clear out minefields (using their bodies that is), following an establish Shiite tradition of self-immolation
- Around 1993, Iranian propaganda spread news and use of the technique to Hezbollah, their (Sunni) Lebanese allies, of course only and just to fight the Israeli occupation of Palestine, shifting therefore the phraseology from “self-immolation” to “martyrdom operation”
- Initially, Sunni scholars were not in favor of “martyrdom operations”. That all changed around 1996, with the “added bonus” of Israeli civilians being thrown in the lot of “legitimate targets” (you know, most of them were and still are bound to serve in the military at some point in their life)
- After a series of bloody suicide bombings afflicting Israel for quite some time, the top was obviously reached with the 9/11 destruction of the Twin Towers
- Tragedy (ironic, but still tragedy) struck the “suicide bombing appreciation society” in the Muslim world after Iraq was invaded in 2003, and Sunni terrorists started to use suicide bombings against…Shiites!
So it has all gone around full circle. Supreme sense of irony from Fate (or God), isn’t it?
One ray of hope to conclude: despite the Madrid and London bombings, plus others in Kenya and elsewhere, suicide bombing organizers have seen things going downhill since.
It must be quite hard to argue for the legitimacy of an originally-Shiite technique to be used to kill Shiites. And what kind of “Islamic freedom fighter” can think in his right mind that the way to free Muslims is by killing them?
Merry Christmas to everybody.
With the full notion that there’s still a lot to do before Christmas becomes Christian enough to be Christmas…
If Santa Claus were ever to pay me a visit and grant me a wish, I would reply with one word: respect.
I would wish that society at large would show some respect toward me and my faith.
I am judged negatively whenever someone of my faith is accused of committing a crime.
I am viewed as an enemy within, a home-grown fanatic whom everyone should guard against.
I am harassed at the boarding gate when I leave the country, as if I was going to an Al Qaeda convention.
I am also bullied by the customs and immigration officers when I come back home, as if I don’t belong here.
I am pulled aside for extra inspections, as if I was carrying instructions on making weapons of mass destruction.
I am told repeatedly to tell the real truth about what I am bringing with me that I have not declared.
When a crime occurs where a Muslim is the primary suspect, I am asked to issue a statement in the strongest possible terms against terrorism and to dissociate myself from the crime. Whatever language I use in my denunciation, I am told is not enough and I must do more.
On the day after the crime, the headline reads: “Moderate Muslims Fail To Speak Up,” even though I have spoken and have condemned the crime.
When I try to access my own money, the bank teller reminds me of the seriousness of money laundering.
A bank supervisor recently alleged that my signature did not match the signature they had in my file. I emptied my wallet and showed all my identifications, to no avail.
Although I have lived in Canada for more than a decade and have been working hard to pay taxes and make ends meet, I am still viewed as a foreigner who belongs somewhere else.
A colleague at the airport where I work asked me recently, “Why did you choose Canada, a Christian country, and did not go to your own people instead?”
Another coworker said the other day that she cannot tolerate seeing Muslim women covering up. “I feel the urge to remove the piece of rag by force,” she said. “Why in the world would she hide her beauty?” she added.
Another airline employee suggested that we should stop Muslim women from entering the country if they choose to wear the hijab.
I cried like a child when a friend said that the only way the world can solve the problem of terrorism is to nuke the Muslim world. Only then will the planet live in real peace, he said.
It is deeply troubling to see how Muslims are treated in society. While I was having dinner at work, my colleagues next to me were discussing the shooting death right after the Sept. 11 tragedy of a Sikh man in the United States who was thought to be a Muslim. One of the people involved in the conversation blamed the murderer for not doing his homework in making sure that the person he was targeting was a real Muslim. The people in the cafeteria did not find the statement troubling and they all laughed approvingly.
We are reminded – again and again – that freedom of expression has limits. But when the same freedom involves the dehumanization of Muslims, it has no limit.
I don’t think I am asking too much if I expect some respect from my fellow countrymen.
I might have some lunatics in my midst but who doesn’t? If Christians are not held responsible for the death and destruction their co-religionist George W. Bush caused in Iraq, why should I be held responsible for the acts of a few mad men who might create mayhem in the name of my faith?
Abubakar N. Kasim is a freelance writer based in Toronto, working as a customer service representative for a major airline.
“The Metropolitan Police confirmed Mr Green was arrested by members of its counter-terrorism command, thought to be Special Branch officers, at his home in Kent and searches were conducted at his homes in London and Kent and at two offices in Kent and London. It said the investigation was not terrorism related but did fall within the counter-terror unit’s remit and thatit was made without the knowledge or approval of ministers.”
If you don’t hear from Yours Truly for a while, please send cake with obligatory hand-file to Belmarsh Prison, Thamesmead, London (UK)
Al Qaeda in the news today with a “response” to the American Presidential Elections. Good for them. And good for President-Elect Barack Obama, who gets mistreated just enough, with a top-notch comparison to Malcolm X.
Why is that good for Obama? Well, imagine what would have happened had Al Qaeda sent unqualified congratulations to him…
As reported in the current issue of “Private Eye“, the British satirical magazine, there is a rather interesting clarification on post-9/11 airport security procedures, coming from New Zealand:
My brother-in-law went through security at Auckland domestic airport and witnessed a passenger having to fish out her nail scissors from her handbag and leave them behind. He went through security and then boarded his plane. After being seated he could smell petrol. He knew you shouldn’t be able to smell petrol on a plane, because planes don’t use petrol. The smell got worse and eventually he got the attention of one of the flight attendants. They started to look around to see where it was coming from. They found in the overhead compartment a chainsaw in a bag that was leaking petrol into the compartment. His plane was delayed as the owner was identified and the chainsaw removed and put with the main luggage. The owner of the chainsaw said security had stopped him but had let him through because it wasn’t one of the things on their list to confiscate.
Well, that’s good news for Klingons at least…no need to leave their Bat’leth at home any longer!
A warm welcome to my blog to all the folks at the NSA.
Hello guys and gals, how are you doing?
I know, I know, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Don’t move, son, let me beat you up, I assure you it’s gonna hurt me more than it’s gonna hurt you. And all that.
By the way: no, I don’t see any positive side in terrorism. If you ask me, it’s a crime against humanity and an act of cowardice to plant bomb or otherwise try to instill fear into innocent people getting on with their daily lives with little or no hope to prevent their Governments do this or that.
Oh well, I hope you and your automatic e-mail scanning system have had the time to properly digest the paragraph above. Otherwise, see you all in Gitmo!
Kisses for now and goodbye also to the American Constitution
There is something rather odd in the field of terrorism via suicide bombing.
Possibilities are aplenty, but few opportunities are being taken, strangely everywhere but in Iraq and possibly Palestine. Why would that be so?
If there really is a lot of people trained to explode themselves in the middle of innocent civilians, where are they? Anywhere in the world, what is preventing them to walk into a crowded market (as in Iraq), or a hotel’s lobby (as in Jordan), or an airport (as in Rome), and pop themselves (into Hell) and some luckless bystanders (into Heaven)?
After all, to create terror one doesn’t have to kill 2,000 or even 200 people. Just a couple of deaths twice a week or more in wholly unrelated, preferably urban environments, such as train stations (as in Madrid) would be more than enough to establish one’s terror group strength and political importance.
The USA and the world economy suffered because of 9/11, but I am sure the collapse would have been far greater if instead of 4 planes in a day, there would have been 4 al-Qaeda attacks in the space of a month.
Such a tactic would also obviate at the second-most immediate downside of terrorism via suicide bombing, namely the need to hide, from police and other security forces, the procurement and management of explosive material and the bomb manufacturing.
And yet, all of that is not happening. Iraq aside, and Israel and 9/11 included the number of deaths by suicide bombing may add up worldwide to less than 5,000 in the past decade. In the meanwhile, tens of thousands have died in car accidents, by AIDS and other curable or incurable diseases, etc..
The best possible explanation for such a situation, is that in reality, very, very few people are willing to kill themselves.
After all, the topmost immediate downside of that kind of terrorism, is that it takes at least 20 years to replace any suicide bomber. Whatever the propaganda or the inspiration, numbers can only dwindle down to zero in the medium term (a fact explaining, alongside the Wall, the recent sudden mellowing of Palestinian terror groups, after the large rate of suicide bombings in Israel a few years ago).
That of course raises the question of how much propaganda we are getting about Iraq?
How many terrorist attacks over there have actually been committed by suicide bombers, rather than far-easier-to-manage remotely-controlled explosive devices?
It may take hours, not months and definitely not years to find and prepare a new car bomb.
Is anybody playing to us the dangerous game of showing suicide bombing as easy and common in Iraq, thereby increasing our fears and willingness to give up civil rights, but also inspiring a whole bunch of untrained idiots to cobble up the crudest of bombs, as in the Glasgow airport accident?
One day, even the idiots will manage to kill somebody, by chance or mistake.
I am having a nightmare.
It is about a democratic country on this planet, where Immigration Police routinely ambushes people at their place of work, sending armed officers into workplaces to apprehend those guilty of working a decent and honest job.
In the process, those officers scare the wits out of any law-abiding person in sight.
Anybody and everybody, not just the person they are looking for, is threatened if not manhandled, unless he or she provides full co-operation, including letting said officers rummage through personal items including e-mails without showing so much of a photo ID.
All in all, the experience has the one result of instilling terror in perfectly innocent people, more than a couple of train bombs put together. How much they will feel protected, it’s anybody’s guess.
My nightmare is that such a country is 40,000km/25,000mi away from where I am standing at the moment.
Just received from the future
London, 14 Aug 2011 (MNN) – British Police has today foiled a major terrorist plot involving a novel usage of bodily orifices. A group of men, women, children and dogs were arrested in various parts of the UK after an inside source aired their plans to board a series of planes, trains and automobiles after inserting exploding suppositories in their, well, you all know where suppositories are meant to be inserted
Whilst security forces have been removing potentially triggering beans from kitchens and refrigerators, thousands of previously neglected doctors are being given the limelight (and some searchlights) in all major international airports
They are instructed to proceed with proctological examinations of all passengers. People are reacting surprisingly calmly to the new in-depth safety procedures. Are they used to the feeling already, one wonders
In other news, reports indicate that new proposals for air travel safety against terrorism will involve the prohibition to carry humans on board. According to a spokesperson, “It is a well-known fact that all terrorists are humans, so it is in the interest of travelers that we make sure none of that species travel on passengers planes”
Much more important for most of us, what is the long-term perspective of present-day suicidal terrorism?
It’s that there isn’t much to fear about, because suicide-based terrorism is peculiarly idiotic, bound to destroy itself (unless we do anything egregiously wrong)
- For the law of diminishing returns, either attacks get bigger and bigger, or the targeted population will feel habituation rather than increased fear. It’s like opening (the proverbial bonfire) with the stakes too high, and having to destroy one’s forest simply to keep up
- There’s millions of potential victims, and one day they will surely come up with novel solutions to prevent the killings, making further attacks quite hard to organize: think the Israeli wall, think the changed tactics of the US Navy after the first round of Japanese Kamikaze pilots
- Just like then, “the best and the brightest” in the terror organization are bound to blow themselves up. They can be substituted, but it does take around two decades to make another terrorist. In the meanwhile, ranks will be increasingly fuller of coward weasels that couldn’t stomach the suicide they themselves require of the others
- Those people want to die whilst the rest of the world wants to live. Guess who’ll be sticking around the longest? On average, both aspirations are bound to be fulfilled
- In the fight against relatively well-organized societies, for the terrorists the only way to victory is to get hold of weapons of mass destruction. But even in that case, the only thing a suicidal terror organization will succeed in doing, is to eliminate itself
Instead of making the life of the many increasingly more difficult, the best thing we can do is first and foremost to get on with our lives (unless of course one is professionally involved in the prevention of terror attacks and other criminality)
London, 14 Jun (MNN) – In an unexpected turn of the events, Sir Ian “Shoot-The-Innocent” Blair, London's Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has admitted today that a special, ultra-secret police squad codenamed “Gillette” has been behind the botched anti-terror 4am intervention of security forces in the house of honest, beard-sporting Londoners
During the course of the interview, Sir Ian repeated several times that, although weeks of controls had not revealed anything more suspicious in that house’s kitchen than pepper-enhanced Vindaloo sauce and broccoli, still the two men targeted by the operation were grooming the wrong kind of facial hair
They had to be stopped and shot^H^H^Hgently interviewed in nice secret service prisons^H^H^Hfirst-class hotels, if only to protect the purity of the English maxillar landscape, and the sale of razors..
In unrelated news: an unidentified Metropolitan Police Commissioner has defended the proposal to offer a Caribbean holiday to anybody remotely suspected of being a terrorist, because caught while either preparing a bomb, or threatening to sue the Police, or not shaving appropriately, especially from the lower lip downwards