Monday, January 12, 2015

necropolitics: poor gary younge, panem's got his tongue....,


guardian |  Given world events over the past decade or so, the most obvious explanation is also the most plausible: the fate of Muslims in foreign conflicts played a role in radicalising these young men. Working-class Parisians don’t go to Yemen for military training on a whim. Since their teens these young men have been raised on a nightly diet of illegal wars, torture and civilian massacres in the Gulf and the Middle East in which the victims have usually been Muslim.

In a court deposition in 2007, Chérif Kouachi, the younger of the brothers affiliated with al-Qaida who shot the journalists at Charlie Hebdo, was explicit about this. “I got this idea when I saw the injustices shown by television on what was going on over there. I am speaking about the torture that the Americans have inflicted on the Iraqis.”

In a video from beyond the grave the other shooter, Amedy Coulibaly, claims he joined Islamic State to avenge attacks on Muslims. These grievances are real even if attempts to square them with the killers’ actions make your head hurt. France opposed the Iraq war; Isis and al-Qaida have been sworn enemies and both have massacred substantial numbers of Muslims. Not only is the morality bankrupt, but the logic is warped.

But Islamists are not alone in their contradictions. Today is the anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay. Given the recent release of the US torture report or France’s role in resisting democratic change during the Arab spring, many of those who claim that this is a battle between liberty and barbarism have a foot in both camps.

This is why describing these attacks as criminal is both axiomatic and inadequate.