Celebrity Terrorism?

Read this article on the BBC website:

The age of ‘celebrity terrorism’
By Paul Cornish Chairman, Chatham House’s International Security Programme

am quoting some excerpts here:

But, for all the horror of the Mumbai attack, there might have been much less to it than first met the eye, and a hasty and exaggerated response might have played more of a part, and given more meaning to the attack than it should.
Nobody appears to have heard of the Deccan Mujahideen – perhaps because they have never existed.

Perhaps it was not so difficult after all to plan and execute this attack: small arms and hand grenades are not hard to find, boats are scarcely specialised equipment, and Mumbai is a vast, open city with more than enough soft targets
Perhaps we do not know enough about where the perpetrators are from, because they could have come from almost anywhere?
The terrorists were willing to show their faces on CCTV. Was this suicide for martyrdom – as in New York and Washington in 2001, and London in 2005 – or suicide for celebrity, as in Columbine in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007?
And perhaps so little is known of the terrorists’ cause, because they simply did not feel the need to have one.


In a novel twist, the Mumbai terrorists might have embarked on propaganda of the deed without the propaganda in the confident expectation that the rationalisation for the attack – the narrative – would be provided by politicians, the media and terrorism analysts.
If so, then Mumbai could represent something rather different in the history of terrorism, and possibly something far more disturbing even than global jihad.
Perhaps we have come to the point where casually self-radicalised, sociopathic individuals can form a loose organisation, acquire sufficient weapons and equipment for a few thousand dollars, make a basic plan of action and indulge in a violent expression of their generalised disaffection and anomie.
These individuals indulge in terrorism simply because they can, while their audience concocts a rationale on their behalf.
Welcome to the age of celebrity terrorism.
The invitation to the world’s D-list malcontents reads as follows: No matter how corrupt your moral sense, how contorted your view of the world, how vapid and inarticulate your ideas, how talentless you are and how exaggerated your grievance, an obsessive audience will watch your every move and turn you into what you most want to be, just before your death.

certainly a line of thought worth pursuing, and very, very scary. if like the rebel without a cause, we now have the terrorist without a cause… how do we stop him? perhaps terrorism has taken on a course that the original perpetrators didn’t think of, perhaps the years and years of terrorism have bred people who simply see it as a way of life, not a symbol of any protest. and if you remove the protest and cause which are the reason for dialogue, debate and negotiation, what do the rest of us have left that can quell this?

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    • Anil P
    • November 30th, 2008

    He sure has a point, especially the bit about us prviding a rationale for an act the terrorist may never have had.

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    • December 2nd, 2008

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