Saturday, 21 December 2013

Woolwich Attack: Rationalising Terror and Propagating Ideology.

There is a difference between journalists attempting to explain why terrorists or assassins believe they are justified in carrying out attacks and using those justifications as a means to rationalise them as a mere reflex action to foreign policies that are said to be bound to cause a response.

Senior Guardian journalist Seumas Milne is an example of the latter as clear from the headline accompanying his reactionto the verdict in sentencing soldier Lee Rigby's killer Michael Adebolajo-Woolwich attack: If the whole world's a battlefield, that holds in Woolwich as well as Waziristan.

Essentially, Milne's attitude towards to Adebolajo's assassination is to use it to hammer home hard propaganda points by quoting the words of terrorists and assassins as if their justifications were self evident and not to be 'condoned' because 'counter-productive'.

This Leninist approach to terrorism regards such violence as Adebolajo's as bad because bad for 'the cause', an 'infantile disorder' to use Lenin's words when criticising 'pointless' anarchist violence in Russia before the Revolution of 1917 that fails to yield results.

Milne opines,
'Quite apart from morality, the impact was violently counter-productive for the Muslims that Rigby's killers claimed to be defending, as Islamophobic attacks spiked across Britain.'
That is why Milne loftily writes off morality as something 'quite apart' from the 'counter-productive' nature of the attack. That, in any case, matters less because a soldier who had served in Afghanistan was hacked to death in the streets of London but because it led to a backlash against 'our side'.

The use of language to hint and insinuate that message is clear to anybody who knows anything about how propaganda works. Milne is claiming that what assassins such as Adebolajo must be taken at face value and not to even bother looking in detail at what he actually said.
"We swear by the Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. The only reason we have killed this man this is because Muslims are dying daily. This British soldier is an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth ... We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth...I apologise that women had to see this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments. They don't care about you. Do you think David Cameron is gonna get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? Do you think the politicians are gonna die? No, it's gonna be the average guy – like you, and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so you can all live in peace. Leave our lands and you will live in peace. That’s all I have to say. Allah’s peace and blessings be upon you. Salaam alaikum".
Milne completely discounts the nature of the threat was aimed at the British public, that if 'You people' failed to stop the war then 'You' would become next. The fact it was a soldier who was targeted was intended to give Adebolajo a sort of equivalent status as a foot soldier in a war.
'Rigby was a British soldier who had taken part in multiple combat operations in Afghanistan. So the attack wasn't terrorism in the normal sense of an indiscriminate attack on civilians'.
It was a discriminate attack on a soldier that was meant to get the public to think that they would be next because they have not prevented a war in Afghanistan being fought. Adebolajo was not even a born Muslim nor from Muslim lands ;attacked' but someone who converted in order to have a creed to fight for.

In that sense, Adebolajo's actions are quite in line with a tradition of political terrorism and assassination that has a pedigree going back to the Russian tradition that culminated in Lenin's bloodthirsty use of mass terror during the construction of the Soviet Union.

The idea that there are no innocent people in this world once the scale of the oppression is so clear means that either people are either for the right cause or against it. By failing to 'do' anything to change governments that carry out oppression in their name they are objectively supporting it and targets.

To mechanically write off all consideration of the psychopathology behind acts of terror and assassinations and killings for political and religions reasons is the gambit of those who have no problem with the idea of murdering their opponents so long as it gets the result they want.

If that means using outrages and atrocities for bolstering one's own propaganda, while affecting a distaste for that killing as 'counter productive', then that's simply the way it has to be in order to wake people up to the killing done in 'our name'. Sp Milne, as a prominent figure in the Stop the War Coalition claims,
'Only the wilfully blind or ignorant can be shocked when there is blowback from that onslaught at home. The surprise should be that there haven't been more such atrocities.'
'You People' had it coming in other words. The position is Stop the War or else expect more bloodshed. This is far from being a pacifist position. But then again, one problem with the 'anti-war' groups in Britain is that they are not led by well meaning people but, alas, cold blooded totalitarian ideologues.

No comments:

Post a Comment