An Unpopular View 246

I expect some criticism for saying this. But allowing terrorism to disrupt our democratic processes incentivises terrorists. Personal attention seeking, and the idea that their self-sacrifice will have an impact on the world, is part of the deranged psychology that motivates suicide bombers. To suspend the election campaign again following another dreadful terrorist attack, actually will boost the prestige of the act in the eyes of their supporters and potential future terrorists. If we react in this way, we are promoting the chances of a wave of such attacks every time we have an election.

I abhor and condemn last night’s attack and am dreadfully sorry for all victims, dead and injured, and for their family and friends. But it would serve the memory of the dead better if we reacted by continuing calmly with our democracy, and showed that their killers cannot win, cannot affect us.

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246 thoughts on “An Unpopular View

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  • Anonymous

    To put things in context, Iraq has had four or five Manchester death tolls a day, day in, day out, for 14 years.

    Then there is Libya, Syria, Yemen.

    • Suhayl Saadi

      Yes, but the subtext of this argument, repeated again and again, is that these attacks are ‘revenge’ for those. That is not the case. Most people murdered by the clerical fascists are Muslims or religious minorities and the are murdered by them in Muslim countries. These attacks on the UK and Germany and France are not done to ‘take revenge on the West’. It simply is a tactic to cause disruption and economic damage and to provoke a disproportionate and ill-thought out response. It also is a manfestation of supremacist thinking. The attacks are cold, calculated, planned. They are not crimes of passion. We have to stop reflexively making de facto excuses for fascism.

  • Michael McNulty

    This brief video of the police forcing patrons in a bar to get on the floor after last night’s incident in London shows they’ve pretty much got their police state. Such compliance takes years of conditioning when they’re careful not to wear jackboots.

    • Anon

      The horror of police getting people to hit the deck during a terrorist attack that left 7 dead. Whatever next.

    • Jo

      That footage upset me when I saw it in the early hours it made me angry Michael. Later however it emerged that the perpetrators were thought to have gone in among crowds in bars or restaurants. The police were apparently checking this out and this was their way of doing it. I’d also wondered why so many people were walking with their hands on their heads. Again this was to signal to police that they weren’t part of the attack.

    • Kempe

      A sensible precaution if the police are about to open fire. It’s reported they fired 50 rounds at the three suspects and managed to hit a innocent person who, thankfully, is recovering in hospital.

      • Dave

        50 rounds at 3 suspects are you joking and only one innocent bystander hit!!!

    • Suhayl Saadi

      Michael, if you think this is a police state, you don’t know what police state is. It is entirely sensible to get people to lie down on the ground when there are bullets flying around (or likely to be flying around). What would you have people do? Stand up and wave a Union Jack? Sip a latte? Shout, “False flag!”?

  • Jo

    The weird thing is how excited journalists get at times like this. BBC News has been wall to wall with it for +19 hours now. Same interviews played over and over.

    When the risk status post-Manchester was reduced from critical back to severe I was very surprised. This was raised today on the BBC but its “Home Affairs” person immediately stepped in to say this was absolutely correct procedure as police were now satisfied they had everyone involved in Manchester. (Again I found it bizarre that a mere BBC person was speaking on behalf of government /police /security people and batting away any questions.)

    Finally there was the suspension of politics today. This didn’t stop Mrs May from indulging absolutely in politics throughout her speech today. That was crass and devious indeed. She exploited a terrible event for her own political purposes. We have no government right now, Parliament is dissolved, there was no one to challenge her. There were in my view suggestions of more military intervention in Syria. Bizarrely, Mrs May seems to forget how much support was given to ISIS when training, weapons and funding were given by this country to rebel groups in Syria who are linked with ISIS .

    Theresa May is using something unspeakable to recover ground lost in her campaign. That is simply unbelievable. If I hear, “our values, our way of life” one more time I think I will throw up.

  • Athanasius

    No disrespect, my friend, but I lost any regard I had for your opinions on democracy when you started doing “no platforming”.

  • strawberries

    Craig Murray claims: “allowing terrorism to disrupt our democratic processes incentivises terrorists…….it would serve the memory of the dead better if we reacted by continuing calmly with our democracy”


    if we had a democracy, our regime leaders would never have been allowed to have set the middle east on fire.

    in a democracy, our regime leaders would already be on trial at the Hague.

    And let’s not even begin to discuss issues like PFI and the privatisation of the NHS (i.e. a giveaway to their financial pals).

  • Suhayl Saadi

    What I see here, mostly, is a lot of willful denial. A steadfast refusal face to face up to the truth. Attempts to minimise, or excuse, what are actions by fascists, supremacists.

    • SA

      I think many are seeking to explain rather than to condone. We must be strongly anti terrorist but also explore and fight the causes of terrorism. We have to stop trying to change the world to fit our image and our needs only, especially when this leaves a trail of failed states like Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. This provides the fertile space for indoctrination and training for terrorism. Of course this is also not helped when some of the countries ee support in the region are also sponsors of extremist Islamic teachings.

      • Suhayl Saadi

        SA, with respect, that is not the overwhelming tone. We – people who post here – know all this historical/geopolitical/imperialist/neo-colonial/neo-liberal/contextual background already.

        a) What I do not see, and have seldom seen, from many who post here, is any sense of solidarity with the Left/Feminists/Trade Unionists, etc. in majority-Muslim countries or ‘communities’.

        b) What I do not see, and have seldom seen iterated by progressive people who post here is a critique of the ideology of religious supremacism.

        What I do see, all too often is this:

        1) “It didn’t happen. It’s all a feature film.”
        2) “It wasn’t their fault. They were driven to it by us, the poor darlings.” The subtext: ‘Natives are all One and don’t have capacity’.
        3) “The state dunnit.”
        4) “It’s being exaggerated.”
        5) “We live in a Police State!”

        • SA

          Yes maybe some do and some don’t. It is however undeniable that the ME has been at the receiving end of the Ottoman Empire followed by the British and French Empires and the the US because of the natural resources. Whenever any nationalist movement arose, there were major efforts to suppress them by all means even by siding with Islamists. It also did not help that the richest countries were curved up by the empire and provided with strong medieval rulers,
          None of this condones the violent Islamists but we must recognise our role in hypocritically supporting the rich dictators and toppling the nationalist secular ones. Democracy will never thrive by forced invasions and regime change.

          • Suhayl Saadi

            As I said, SA, we know all this stuff. Of course, I agree.

            What I’m highlighting here is (not by everyone but it is a frequent refrain and is emblematic of a wider attitude) the persistent avoidance of dialectically, intellectually, politically, confronting a specific type of religious fascism – and the specific aetiologies of that supremacism – which appears a peculiar affliction of sections of the British Soft Left. I think Clark is right – there is much confusion. Things no longer conform to tidy post-imperial narratives. And so, partly because it doesn’t fit the tidy dualism through which many people prefer to view the world, the Left in Muslim countries/communities effectively has been removed from the narrative/abandoned/erased from history/made inconceivable.

      • Jo

        I have to say I am aghast here at the way you have just glossed over British actions in Iraq and elsewhere.

        • Clark

          Jo, I think Suhayl’s intention is not to gloss over the devastation of Iraq etc.

          Rather, Western progressive thought is confused and fragmented by a combination of cultural ignorance and the atrocious effects of neocon Western foreign policy. Western wars of aggression and Western covert support of selected sectarian violence are contributory causes of terrorism, but because both strengthen another evil which Suhayl calls islamism or clerical fascism.

          Upon recognising the evil of one party, it is a natural human tendency to assume that the other party must be simply their puppet; this is the root of the confusion because more usually it is not so. Those who favour violence to further their objectives come from all groups of humanity, and frequently form alliances of convenience. When ‘our’ side’s evil intent is revealed, it does not follow that the other parties are entirely blameless and have simply been manipulated – quite the reverse; unsurprisingly, the violent find common cause with the violent, the repressive with the repressive and so on.

    • Clark

      Suhayl, people don’t understand (my own understanding is very limited). People know that Western foreign policy is strongly implicated, but the details of the underlying relationships are obscured; partly deliberately, partly due to their inherent complexity, and partly through barriers of culture and language.

      There are multitudinous groups, political parties, governments etc. But the real division is between those who will attack and fight to achieve objectives, and those who will not – the War Parties and the Peace Parties if you will, and this division cuts across all other groupings.

      Covert foreign policies of multiple countries repeatedly nurture alliances with people from the War Parties according to convenience, no matter which other groupings they may happen to belong to. It thereby exploits them for its own ends, usually betraying them when those ends are achieved.

    • SA

      I was amused to hear criticism of Iran, because the supreme spiritual leader is chosen rather than elected, but there are also presidential and parliamentary elections. Perhaps if the post was hereditary it would be more acceptable?

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