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Yet more proof of what happens when you convince the young and devout that a hedonistic paradise awaits them just the other side of this detonator. All the rage and hate of the genuinely downtrodden, along with the riotous energy and frustration of adolescence, can be fast-tracked into violent upheaval with a simple injection of folklorish babble. If there were ever a pressing need to persuade five year-olds to run amok with automatic weapons—which might yet happen if the mujahideen were to use up their stock of enthusiastic young men—the story would have to be altered a bit: instead of the virgins, you are guaranteed 72 vats of ice cream.

The people who sent them will have encouraged them to think of themselves as brave warriors, and the smile on the guy on the right displays his pride in what he’s doing. But shooting into crowds of unarmed commuters or hotel guests can hardly be described as going into battle. It tests your mettle about as much as scrubbing mould from your fridge, especially when you’re certain that as soon as the situation starts to get a bit tough, you have only to press a button and instantly it’s wall-to-wall virgins and/or ice cream. When you do not fear death, there is no bravery.

That’s why the hostage-taking is really unsettling. It’s not as if the gunmen are going to request a few million rupees and a helicopter. They went to Mumbai to die, and they wanted to take as many people with them as they could. This “spectacular” isn’t over until the last of the gunmen are dead or in custody. Meanwhile, there will be people all around the world not seeing the wanton, cowardly destruction of people’s lives but rather believing that they are watching the deeds of heroic martyrs, poster boys for their cause who are setting out a new blueprint for how their struggle must be conducted. That doesn’t bode well for the rest of us just trying to live some kind of life, the god-fearing and us unsaved heathens alike.

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( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
chiller
Nov. 27th, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC)
Madness is catching. It wouldn't be so troubling if one had the first idea what it is they actually want. As it is, we just have this childish folie de milliers cropping up hither and yon on the face of the world, where anyone who wants to rip people apart simply has to declare himself a certain name and buy a gun in order to obtain a sort of licence to be what he is. From everyone.

As a species, we undermine ourselves so creatively, don't we?
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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