Tackling the London bombers…

A couple of Republican writers that are always worth reading are Danny Morrison, and Deaglan at the Res Publica blog. Both tackle the London bombing this week. Deaglan takes Bernard Crick to task for seeking to blame fallout from the Israel/Palestine conflict as the primary cause of the bombing. Meanwhile, surprisingly for some, Danny Morrison supports the UK’s right to pursue the bombers, but argues that so far too little effort has been made to address the circumstances that give rise to such intense violence.

  • peteb


    Morrison presents a misreading of both history and the circumstances that give rise to such intense violence, notably with the line “We are told that terrorism is part of the modern condition and British people just have to learn to live with it”

    As Martin Kettle in yesterday’s Guardian pointed out, “Useful idiots have always apologised for terrorists”

    “The delusions of the politics of the deed are in no way new. A decade and a half ago, Simon Schama pointed out that violence was not just an aspect of the French revolution, but its motor. The cult of the just massacre and the heroic death, which may seem to have erupted into our midst in the 21st century, were essential parts of the French revolutionary mentality – and the IRA’s.”

    Deaglan, on the other hand, hits the nail on the head (I’ve added the emphasis) –

    “To repeat: is it so difficult to imagine that Islamic fundamentalism is caused by…Islamic fundamentalists?”

  • slackjaw

    Is it so difficult to imagine Islamic fundamentalism is caused by…Islamic fundamentalists?

    Well of course it is. And Nazism is caused by Nazis, but if a GCSE student wrote in a history essay that the Second World War and the Holocaust happened because, well, ‘what else do you expect from a Nazi?’ she could kiss goodbye to her quadruple A-star. Or perhaps not, what with falling standards in schools these days.

    When Kettle says:

    ‘We too face a revolt whose activists are often relatively prosperous young people with a romantic attachment to violence, apologised for by a surprisingly large number of the comfortably disaffected

    (emphasis mine)

    he is being rather vague, perhaps in keeping with his rather timely intervention for Tony Blair. I wish he had been more precise. Who is an apologist, and who is not? Who are the comfortably disaffected? Where do they live?

    It feels like being an ‘apologist for terrorism’ can mean anything from holding a street party to celebrate the London bombings to asking if we could possibly look for a political explanation. Is it an apology for terrorism to point out that ideas, even those of Islamic fundamentalists, do not merely appear by magic? Why does Cornwall have no equivalent of the Real IRA? Why no LVF in Jersey? I mean, surely people there also ‘think bad thoughts’?

    (Of course, there are some political explanations generally deemed acceptable – provided you stay away from referring to the foreign policies of the most powerful country in the world and its allies, or the reality of modern day Iraq and Afghanistan, and stick to 7th century caliphates, Al-Andalus and perverted interpretations of the Koran…)

    It is reasonable to expect that under some circumstances, there is no need to give too much thought to the historical origins or political motivations of a terrorist’s activity. Examples might include when you find him pointing a gun at your head or placing a bomb in your street. What is not acceptable, however, is that at the same time one should be quiet about the role of sovereign governments, their clients and their proxies in creating terrorism.

  • slackjaw

    Well of course it is.

    I meant, of course, ‘Well of course it isn’t.’ Damn.

  • slackjaw

    And I’ve just read through my last paragraph. That was ridiculous. What I meant to say was just because there is terrorism does not mean rational political discussion should stop. It didn’t come out that way unfortunately. I’m in a Radio 5 Live phone-in mode today.

    Just to clarify: If a terrorist is holding a gun to your head, there is no immediate need to debate state-sponsored terrorism.

    *slinks off home…*

  • Betty Boo

    Got you the first time, slackjaw.
    And there is hardly any ink or paper wasted to explain while out of the blue a black widow turns up with explosives strapped around her. What exactly happened to her to stand like this in the middle of a school full of children, although I fail completely to make a comparison between her and Ulrike Meinhof.

  • Andrew

    I seem to remember reading an article about the exploits of a British Colonel serving in what is now Pakistan during the early 1900’s. It seems he had a big problem with Islamists attacking his forces. To solve this, every terrorist his men killed was buried with a side of pork. Needless to say the attacks stopped soon after!
    Not to say i’m advocating burying suicide bombers with a packet of denny rashers 🙂

  • Brian Boru

    Pointing out that there are root-causes to why people join terrorist organisations or so-called terrorist organisations is not the same as being an “apologist” for them.

    Personally, I consider the London bombings and any act that deliberately kills innocent civilians to be terrorism worthy of condemnation. I therefore resent the hypocrisy that allows governments to escape criticism for state-terrorism because those doing it may have been in uniform and therefore get shielded from punishment by the establishment, as for example in the cases of Lee Clegg and Mark Wright/James Fisher, who were reinstated into the British army in a calculated insult to the families of Martin Peake, Karen Reilly and Peter McBride. While I do not oppose their release (considering the GFA requires that terrorists being released), I strongly resent what I see as double-standards that exempts the state from accusations of terrorism when it does the same thing at times as terrorists.

    In particular, I regard the situation of Chechnya as a most disgraceful example of the West making things worse and demonstrating double-standards. The pro-Moscow puppet-government there has said that there are 50 mass-graves in Chechnya of civilians killed by the Russian army. This would certainly explain Russia’s refusal to let the Western media into Chechnya without military minders to keep there eyes away from things the Russians do not want us to see. Yet the Western governments since 911 have totally ceased all criticism of Russia’s appalling state-terrorism/genocide against the Chechen people, against whom many Beslans have been committed, yet because we do not see it on TV, the Western government’s find it easier to get away with turning a blind eye to it.

    Maybe if Kosovo had happened after 911, Milosevic would not be in the Hague now, as he could have passed off what he had done as “part of the war on terror”, with Western leaders no doubt stressing how they stand “shoulder to shoulder” with him etc. Such hypocrisy irritates me and many others I am sure.

    People who are being oppressed have always and will always fight back. Those descended from those rebels betray their own history when they tar freedom-fighters resisting oppression with the brush of terrorism – even with the so-called terrorism does not target civilians, the use of the term “terrorism” has become fashionable to describe them. This is wrong. By all means condemn Beslan, 911, London bombings and other similar monstrosities. But not without examining the faults of both sides. A bomb from the sky is at least as destructive as one from the ground.