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ISIS

Horrific news out of Orlando today. Hate crime, domestic terrorism, whatever you want to call it, at least 50 people are dead today who should be alive and well:

An American-born man who’d pledged allegiance to ISIS gunned down 49 people early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11, authorities said.

Some thoughts:

  1. Saying that it has nothing to do with the victims being gay is to erase a hate crime by trying to cover it up or mask it. It’s disrespectful to the victims, who died simply because someone hated them for who they were. It’s erasure in retrospect, even if it’s well intentioned.
  2. Yes, it is about gun control. Sadly, I don’t expect this to have any more impact on the debate than the zillion mass shootings before this. At some point, America decided it was okay with the consequences of the “right to bear arms” and this sort of thing will keep happening. And happening. And happening.
  3. Trump is going to make this all about hatred of Muslims and hysterical fear of immigrants — even though the shooter was a domestic terrorist who lived in Florida. He’ll probably succeed, too.
  4. Don’t expect people to refer to a “cycle of violence”, at least, which is what the media would be doing if this were a nightclub shot up in Tel Aviv instead of in Orlando.
  5. There’s really nothing good to say. It’s all horrific and awful. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims.

 

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Banksy: peace for paris

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for the TV show “The Wire”. And also some colourful language, such as you might expect when talking about terrorist bastards.

This week has been a bad one for the world. Unless, of course, you happen to be a giant terrorist asshole. Terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and the deadliest attack in Paris since World War 2 have sent the world reeling. The group known by many acronyms — ISIS, ISIL, or what I’ll refer to in this post as Daesh, has claimed ‘responsibility’ (if such a word could even be used) for all three attacks.

All this has happened against a backdrop of unprecedented humanitarian crisis, as hundreds of thousands of refugees continue to flee Syria’s deadly civil war. Western governments are debating how they can cope with what they’ve dubbed a “migrant crisis”, as though the problem only started when desperate refugees started showing up in Europe. It happened on the eve of the G20 summit in Antayla, Turkey, and in the lead-up to a huge global summit on climate change taking place in Paris.

The responses to the attack, in typical format, have followed the Rorschach Test pattern; people see in tragedy what they want to see. More foreign aid. Less foreign aid. More military intervention. Less military intervention. More solidarity with refugees. Close our borders to refugees. It’s about Islam. It’s not about Islam. And so on, and so forth. French president Francois Hollande has taken a hard line, promising military strikes against Daesh, closing of borders, and crackdowns all around.

Everyone has an opinion on how to fight this so-called “war on terror”. But is this really a “war”?

It strikes me that this so-called “war on terror” bears a lot of resemblance to another misnomer: the so-called “war on drugs”.

Sure, this isn’t exactly an original observation. Plenty of people have pointed this out in analysis after analysis. But, other than depressingly similar tactics, sources of funding and consequences, these two so-called wars parallel each other in other ways. Here are just a few:

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