The lost leading the lost

London bombing suspects enter a tube station - CCTV image from & July 2005
The young men who attacked London last week are pitiable – profoundly lost to humanity. Theirs isn’t a religion, nor a cause. It’s a sacrifice cult, a bloody creed designed to glorify not God but a millionaire demagogue called Osama Bin Laden and a bankrupt, history-less ideology from the fringes of world culture. Five hundred years ago, the sophisticated and decadent Aztecs killed children to appease Gods they feared. The sad gang that killed 55 people in London nine days ago has as much in common with the complicated, enlightened tradition that produces big, resilient cities like London as those Aztec priests.

It’s a vicious ideology and it’s sustained by violence and by the pitiless conversion of its own adherents into dumb weapons. The logic of a fighting force dependent on the deliberate death of its soldiers for its success is so perfectly inverted as to defy rational thought. Suicidal Terror’s only possible victory lies in the pointless self-murder of its last happy martyr. Only then will it be possible for those who lead these young men and women to their deaths – convince them of their destiny – to calculate the magnitude of their victory. The question is: what will they do if they conclude that they didn’t win yet? That they need more martyrs?

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  1. I think you’re way off. It seems common sense to me that you’d have to be extremely desperate to either volunteer to be a suicide bomber, or employ one. Why have there been so many Palestinian suicide bombers, and so few Israeli ones? And why so many in Iraq since the invasion, and no recorded cases in that country previously? You might read this article:

  2. This is also an edifying article:
    If you’re not careful, you might start sounding like an apologist for Tony who has insisted that “terrorism was the result of an “evil ideology” and not a response to Iraq or other policies”. Perhaps Nick Cohen is now regretting his comment in the Guardian a few days ago, tho Jack Straw is still apparently playing the “I didn’t know” card, which just makes him look pretty silly.

  3. I think Steve puts our confusion and despair rather elegantly. I would suggest the answer is: we don’t really know. We don’t have a clue what motivates suicide bombers. We’re about as far from being able to comprehend their motives as we are from the Aztecs.
    But should we really find it quite so amazing that people will go to these lengths? As my old granny used to say, ‘man is alone on a godless planet, he has made himself what he is, and has to be what he is.’

  4. Oh dear! This “either you’re with us, or you’re with the terrorists”, black-and-white nonsense does not impress me. Those who are all for the War on Terror would do well to do their homework, don’t you think? (Their track-record is not very good so far). Such as being aware of what Al-Queda and related Muslim groups actually state as their aims and reasons. The link I provided suggests that, contrary to Ivan Pope’s desperate suggestion, we DO have a clue what motivates suicide bombers, plenty of clues!
    To tar someone who suggests that their might well be a connection between the invasion of Iraq (and other Muslim grievances) and the London bombings, as an “apologist for psychopaths” looks like, well, tarring!
    Blair may well have no political choice but to categorically deny any connection. That doesn’t mean he’s right, or that I have to believe him.

    The politicians are playing a political game, a game with people’s lives. In the face of the awesomeness and awfulness of human life and death, what kind of game is that?

    I wish with all my heart for an end to the violence perpetrated by human beings against human beings. I wish for peace to become a reality as soon as possible.

  5. So what’s with the plastic bag? A sandwich for Allah, no doubt? Gimme a break!

  6. Dear Kipling,
    Well, yes, we do have a CLUE. But we don’t have an answer or an understanding. If you’re telling me that UK born and brought up people are so motivated by a religious affinity with people in another country that they will blow themselves up for it – then I guess I’ll never understand religion. If you’re telling me that people are so upset at an unjust war in another country that they will blow themselves up for it – well then I’ll never understand people.
    My point is that we don’t have any understanding (yet) of this. For sure we can understand Palestinian or Chechen ers – but these? No way. Not yet.

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