Category Archives: suicide bombing

Prepare for communal violence

Dalrymple writes:

One of the objects of the bombers, instinctive rather than articulated, might be to undermine restraint, both of the state and of the population, in order to reveal to the majority of Muslims the true evil nature of the society in which they live, and force them into the camp of the extremists.

If so,

there is some hope of success. It would not take many more such bombings, perhaps, to provoke real and serious communal violence on the Indian subcontinental model. Britain teems with aggressive, violent subgroups who would be only too delighted to make pogroms a reality.

The outlook, Dalrymple points out, is

grim and without obvious solution. Surveys suggest that between 6% and 13% of British Muslims are sympathetic towards Islamic terrorists and their efforts. It is a sufficient proportion and absolute number of sympathisers to make suspicion and hostility towards Muslims by the rest of society not entirely irrational.

This, says Dalrymple,

is the tightrope that the British state and population has to walk; the sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.

Dalrymple: I met a would-be suicide bomber

What, Dalrymple asked himself, in this man

who had not yet had the chance to put his thanatological daydream into practice could have produced as embittered a mentality—what experience of life, what thoughts, what doctrines? What fathomless depths of self-pity led him to the conclusion that only by killing himself and others could he give a noble and transcendent meaning to his existence?

Dalrymple writes that

no threat (at first sight) might deter someone who is prepared to extinguish himself to advance his cause, and who considers such self-annihilation while killing as many strangers as possible a duty, an honour, and a merit that will win ample rewards in the hereafter.

And Britain has an unknown number of such people in its midst, many of them homegrown.

Inside the mind of a Belgian suicide bomber

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 09.11.50Watching some Swiss television

for the first and possibly last time,

Dalrymple views a report on Muriel Degauque, the first white European suicide bomber. Born and raised in Charleroi, she was a child of ordinary working-class parents.

The television underlined this with lengthy shots of her dreary childhood neighbourhood. Even a few seconds looking at it on a screen was almost enough to provoke an existential crisis.

Her life was unremarkable, said the television report.

She was average at school, then worked in a bakery. People who knew her emphasised that she was an ordinary person—the last kind of person to act in such an outrageous way. There was nothing in her life out of the usual. True, she went through a period of sexual promiscuity and drug-taking, but when she converted to Islam—cut to a Muslim area of Brussels—she gave up drugs and was faithful to her Moroccan husband. So really, the commentary concluded, the whole episode was mysterious and inexplicable.

But only, writes Dalrymple,

in the sense that all human conduct is, in the last analysis, mysterious. Actually, the suicide bomber reminded me of the lost and bewildered young whom various Christian sects would look for as they scoured our streets, trawling for recruits into their all-embracing communities. These communities happened to make lots of money for their founders but really did rescue some young people from the gutter.

The television commentary

made no connection between Degauque’s promiscuity and drug abuse on the one hand and her subsequent conversion to a murderously puritanical form of Islam on the other (she wore the most extreme of veils).

Yet it requires little imagination, says Dalrymple, to make such a connection,

for one interpretation of her former life was that she sought to fill a void, a lack of purpose or interest, with sensation. Once the self-defeating nature of this was obvious to her—and nothing suggests that she lacked intelligence, despite her mediocre academic background—she became vulnerable to a ‘complete’ answer to life’s problems. Her death demonstrated, to herself and to others, how deeply (or desperately) she believed in it.

Her problem—a lack of meaning in her life—is

far from unique. Millions of people are in the same or similar position. That is why Europe cannot afford to be complacent about it.

Certain unfortunate consequences of stress

Inactivity; lassitude; moderate activity; tiredness; fatigue; exhaustion;

Stress curve: inactivity; lassitude; collecting social security; moderate activity; drug-dealing; vigorous activity; living off the earnings of kuffar prostitutes; tiredness; drug-taking; fatigue; robbery and violence; exhaustion; breakdown; running amok; mass murder; suicide bombing; 7,000 houris in Jannah

The mother of two of the mass murderers in the 2013 Paris attacks said she was sure that the son who blew himself up with explosives in his vest did not intend to kill anyone and acted in the way he did only because of stress. She thus, writes Dalrymple,

demonstrated how far she had assimilated to contemporary Western culture from her native Algerian, and how well she understood it.

Her statement

combines two important modern tropes: that stress excuses all, and that irrespective of someone’s actual conduct, however terrible it may be, there subsists within him a core of goodness that is more real than the superficial badness, such as taking part in mass murder.

It is true, says Dalrymple, that

most of us are not at our best when we are plagued by anxiety and frustration, when we have a hundred things that claim our attention, when we are worried for our jobs, children, careers, and so forth.

However,

most of us are also aware that if we excuse our ill-behaviour on these grounds (as we all tend to do initially whenever we know that we have behaved badly), there is no end to that ill-behaviour.

Most of us, Dalrymple points out, have, strangely enough,

found it comparatively easy to avoid killing other people.

A stressful life, to be sure, but 7,000 virgins are waiting in Paradise

A stressful life, to be sure, but 7,000 virgins are waiting in Paradise

We have found that we are able, at the end of the day, to avoid

wearing garments full of explosives, however severe our stress.

None of us, Dalrymple surmises, has ever said,

I feel so stressed today that I want to put on a jacket of high explosives and blow myself up near, at, or in a restaurant or a café or a football stadium or a concert venue.

Indeed, says Dalrymple,

most of us would think that to dress up in explosives was a sign of a rather severe moral defect that went quite deeper than a response to the stress of the moment.

Cowards these attackers were not

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.51.34François Hollande, the French president, called the November 2015 Paris attacks cowardly. Dalrymple comments:

If there was one thing the attackers were not (alas, if only they had been), it was cowardly.

The attackers were, writes Dalrymple,

evil, their ideas were deeply stupid, and they were brutal: but a man who knows that he is going to die in committing an act, no matter how atrocious, is not a coward.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.59.16With

the accuracy of a drone, the president honed in on the one vice that the attackers did not manifest.

This establishes, Dalrymple writes,

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.52.34that bravery is not by itself a virtue, that in order for it to be a virtue it has to be exercised in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Barack Obama, the US president, referred to the values we all share. Dalrymple says:

Either he was using the word ‘we’ in some coded fashion, in spite of having just referred to the whole of humanity, or he failed to notice that the attacks were the direct consequence of the obvious fact that we—that is to say the whole of humanity—do not share the same values. If we shared the same values, politics would be reduced to arguments about administration.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.53.19Bono, the Irish pop star, said that the attacks were an attack on music. Dalrymple:

Bono might as well have said that this was an attack on restaurants, or on Cambodian cuisine.

The Guardian, the London newspaper, said the vast majority of Muslims abhorred the attacks. Dalrymple:

I do not exclude the possibility that this is so, but we do not know, and can probably never know, that it is so: for if Elizabeth I had ‘no desire to make windows into men’s souls’, we have no ability to do so, certainly on this question. But the Guardian wanted it to be so, and therefore, to its own satisfaction, it was so. This is a kind of magical thinking that persists in a supremely scientific age, and is dangerous because completely ineffective.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 17.04.00

 

Judge not these intellectual and moral minors

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 23.46.24Dalrymple asks (of certain people of the Levant and Mesopotamia):

  • Are they full members of the human race?
  • Do they reflect on their circumstances and act on their reflections in the way that fully responsible and potentially culpable people do?
  • Do they have the capacity for independent action?
  • Should we exculpate them?
  • Should we forgive them?
  • Do they have a fully developed moral sense?
  • Should we regard their misdemeanors with a degree of indulgence?
  • Do people who explode bombs, resulting in scores of deaths of people chosen merely because they are (most of them) of a different religious confession, appreciate what they are doing, any more than a dog appreciates what it does when it knocks over a porcelain vase?
  • Are bombings in the Levant and Mesopotamia as inescapable as the weather?
  • Are those who carry out the bombings blameless?
  • Do those who carry out the bombings consciously decide to do so?

There is, writes Dalrymple, an

inability to take seriously the culpability of men and women who, as a matter of policy or tactics, kill large numbers of passers-by and bystanders.

This inability, he points out,

is a hangover of the late-Victorian imperial sensibility, which viewed much of the world’s population as intellectual and moral minors.

Islamist humanitarianism

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 02.23.10‘He wanted to help all these people,’ explained the mother of Nicolas Bons, a Muslim convert.

So he blew himself up in an ‘enemy village’ — most helpful.

Dalrymple’s comment:

Never was feeble ratiocination so completely mixed with moral grandiosity.