Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The SMERSH laugh

Brendan O’Neill on Spiked, writing about Muriel Degauque (Belgian suicide bomber who recently dismembered herself and those around her in Baghdad). He claims that…

“Both the pro- and anti-war sides try to force this new and peculiar form of violence into old categories where it simply doesn't fit; they try to render explicable what often seems like inexplicable behaviour by labelling it 'fascism' or 'resistance'. In fact, contemporary Islamist violence - whether it's of the al-Qaeda, Iraqi insurgency or four-men-from-Leeds variety - is far more diffuse than that. It is less the expression of any clear political ideology than it is a loose collection of often disaffected and middle-class individuals who want to lash out against something, anything. And it has its origins as much in the West as in the East.”

The only thing I find odd about his article is the opposition that Brendan sets up. A lot of people that I’ve spoken to have commented on the ‘identity politics’ angle – particularly where Westerners become involved in this sort of extremism. His is not an original or new observation, but one that I've found very commonplace in discussion.

As Brendan says, this violence is often unfocussed. Or often an expression of a more unfocussed anger. Two British suicide bombers were, after all, West Indian converts to Islam. We can only speculate of course, but when two (out of nine) British would-be Islamists are from a section of society that is not usually Muslim, it could be a bit more than a co-incidence.

Was this a fury that was created by something other than religious zeal - the expression of a wider disaffection of some kind?

I’ve posted in the past about how political extremism is often partly a vehicle for narcissism – and this is as true for that video that Mohammed Siddique Khan (the London bomber) made prior to his ‘martyrdom’ in July. If the results of his posturing hadn't been so serious, they would have been comical.

The only think missing from MSK's video was a SMERSH laugh ("mwah ha ha ha") at the end.

(Pootergeek's regular use of the SMERSH laugh helped focus this post)

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