Wednesday, July 13, 2005

So far I have been pleased with the measured tone of the London bombing coverage in my three preferred UK news sources (the Guardian, the BBC, and the Economist). Lots of factors explain why they aren't hyperventilating like many US media did after the 11 September 01 attacks (scale, media culture, and the 911 having been on tee vee are chief among them, I think). Whatever the cause, though, I prefer the Brits' style.

I do have a problem, however, with the notion that folks are shocked (shocked!) that the perpetrators seem to have been born and reared in Britain. This smacks a little of the fondness, so often expressed by my fellow Alabamians in other contexts, for laying the blame for whatever we face at the feet of "outside agitators". I don't think this is healthy. I know it doesn't bear scrutiny.

[Dog forbid such an outrage were to take place here in Germany, with native "foreigners" (as so many Germans assholishly call folks who don't "look German") on the hook.]

And so, in the interests of pointing out to the "how can they?" brigades that this is not all that unusual, a bit of histoire in the form of event/name dropping:

- Birmingham, Alabama's 16th St. Baptist Church bombing (all perps were local)
- The Baader-Meinhoff Gang (a bunch of Germans doing most of what they did in Germany)
- The Italian Red Brigades (for Italians by Italians)
- The Unibomber in the US (a Harvard Man, no less)
- The Oklahoma City Bombing (both of the men convicted were Americans and army vets: "John Doe #2" is still at large)
- most terrorism in the West Bank and Israel comes from folks who were born and raised inside those territories
- So far as we know, all of the recent attacks inside Saudi Arabia were done by Saudis.
- Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers are, um, Sri Lankan for the most part.
- Japan's Aum Shinrikyo (sp?) cult was/is Japanese.
- Randall Terry (Atlanta Olympic bombing and several abortion clinic bombings) is an American.
- All bombings inside Northern Ireland were done by native residents of that benighted province, to the best of my knowledge.
- Germany's Reichstag fire (probably done by Nazis, but even if you buy their story [that it was the commies], it was still Germans)
- Kristallnacht: German citizens attacking other German citizens (the understatement of the day, at least)
- From what I have gathered, the terrorist problems faced by India have largely resulted from the actions of Indian citizens (and I'm not even talking about Kashmir).
- Most assassinated heads of state I can think of were assassinated by home-grown assassins, if I recall correctly.

And so on.

We have met the enemy and he is us, in other words. Although this could be read as a call for paranoia, what I mean to say is that when the problem is "outside agitators" there is a tendency to take their concerns less seriously (after all, they are outsiders: they shouldn't even be "here"). If our friends and neighbors are going wild, however, it is time for a good long consideration of what the fuck is up.

This (the thinking) is much more difficult and much more effective than lashing out at foreigners. It is so difficult, in fact, that the knee-jerk reaction tends to be a hunt for those things which weigh the same as ducks. And that just makes it all worse.


At 3:02 PM, Blogger wvbetty said...

Um actually in fact, whily Randall Terry is a complete douchebag, he is nonetheless fairly non-violent. I believe the scum you're thinking did all the bombings is Eric Rudolph, Private First Class, God's Army.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Oh, yeah.

Randall Terry is just a Christianist preacher.

My bad.


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