Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A word or two on yesterday's news

So, our security forces have identified the Four people they believe carried out Thursday's bombings.

On the face of it the evidence is pretty strong:

  • They’ve found personal documentation and belongings from the Four at each of the four bombsites
  • They’ve found bits of at least one of the Four at one of the bombsites
  • They have the Four on CCTV in Kings Cross
  • They’ve found explosives at one of the Four’s home and in a car
  • And, at this stage, God knows what else.

I wonder if the newspapers will resist the temptation to coin a phrase like the Fanatic Four over the coming days.

Let’s see what those coming days bring. Maybe the case against these men is as strong as it seems this morning. Having said that, I recall that in the aftermath of 9/11 all sorts of incriminating things were found in cars, passports conveniently hurled out of the flight decks of exploding airliners and apparently damning anecdotes of nights out in Florida strip joints were told. The attackers also seemed to be sending anthrax in the mail from beyond the grave. None of this material held up to much scrutiny in the months and years that followed. And, judging by the huge trail of evidence described by our police yesterday, Thursday’s bombers did pretty much everything short of leaving a line of doughnuts to their front door in helping the police with their enquiries.

I’m pretty stunned by way the media has hysterically latched onto the possibility that these guys may have been suicide bombers and the manner in which that story has been reported. Suicide bombing evolved as a tactic due to the sheer desperation of people faced by overwhelming military force. The point was to find a way to deliver an attack against a heavily defended enemy. The suicide element and the belief in an afterlife were incidental. The Japanese and the Vietnamese were driven to similar tactics against the Americans in past years and I don’t believe anyone is accusing them of being ‘Islamofundamentalists’.

But that’s not how the nature of suicide bombing is being portrayed in our media. We’re being presented with a vision of a psychotic foe actively seeking death for death’s sake. Men who will sacrifice their lives for no reason at all. Fans of the Life of Brian will see parallels with the Assyrian Suicide Squad (funny) which, in turn, was based on the story of the Zealot garrison at Masada who killed themselves and their families, though not in that order, rather than surrender to the Romans in AD74 (not funny).

Whatever the true story of last week’s bombings turns out to be, assuming we ever learn it, the coverage in our media HAS been demented, biased and manipulative. The behaviour of our government before and after has been equally wicked. British Muslims and, I suspect, Muslims all over the World are scared of what this will all mean for them, and with good cause.

It’s a bloody nightmare. How else can you describe a war that has no conceivable end?

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