8/10 is 9/11 minus 1/1

posted 10 August 2006

...so I guess on July 9th, 2011 I should be very, very careful about where I go?

So, as everybody and his dog has already related, a plot to blow up multiple transatlantic flights has been foiled by UK police. The presumed terrorists were evidently planning to use liquid explosives, composed of ordinary materials and mixed on board and detonated with small electronic devices disguised as everyday items. Britain's airports have gone into massive security alerts, and hand baggage and all liquids have been banned from flying.

Of course, when an attack is foiled, it's all very well for everybody who's been not-bombed, but what of the poor news networks? Deprived of scenes of carnage and heartbreak, they're stuck with only hastily-arranged interviews with "experts" of dubious provenance and endless retelling of the only actual victims of the attack, those of the massive delays to flights -- "Oh god, there's nearly been a terror attack! It's made me 90 minutes late for work!" doesn't really have the same emotional gravitas. Mind you, when there actually was a terrorist bombing last July I was only an hour late.

The British media have so far been admirably careful with their use of language and admirably restrained about speculating, but there is a certain depressing inevitability to the news that all 24 of the suspects are so far apparently young British Muslims. We* as a nation have done nothing since July 7th to lessen the disillusionment and alienation felt by this segment of society, and since September 11th have actually been actively making things worse.

And what exactly is it that young British Muslims are so angry about? Let's remind ourselves, paraphrasing from an interview last year with a friend of mine who also happens to be young, British and Muslim:

  1. Palestine vs. Israel - the US is funding Israel. It doesn't matter whether you think it's justified or not, this is primarily what is making them angry.
  2. Kashmir - this is especially true of those who've been to Pakistan.
  3. Iraq - the loss of civilian life
  4. Bosnia - indifference to the massacre
  5. Terminology: "what's the difference between a US/Israel army officer killing a 10 year old muslim boy point blank range and a suicide bomber killing a innocent 10 year old Israeli boy? Nothing, but one of them is called a 'terrorist' while the other isn't."
  6. Hypocrisy: the US can kill whoever it likes in the name of freedom, but other people who do so are terrorists

We've not done anything about any of this. We've not even tried. So we shouldn't be surprised that people are still trying to blow us up.

* Again the schizophrenic use of "we". This time I mean the UK.

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