the number frightened

August 8th, 2011

The Italian theorist saw every act of Symbolic Terror as a “chimera,” due to the paradoxical belief that “the people will not be free when they are educated but educated when they are free.” In simpler parlance: violent acts are necessary to first free the People from their manacling to false social assumptions both in terms of what is possible and what is Right.

It is violence that opens minds to new revolutionary ideas.

Minds that otherwise would remain locked by the bars of what is socially acceptable. Minds aren’t changed by ideas, but are changed after actions open them up to the possibility of new ideas. Actions, then, are what rewires minds and makes them capable of accepting, forming, and eventually implementing new ideas.

The terrorist attacks of September 11th weren’t the maniacal actions of an apocalyptic sect madly bent on the annihilation of America and its people, nor were they fueled by hatred and an irrational predilection with death and mayhem. Neither death nor mayhem were even main goals of al-Qaeda. They did not seek to kill as many innocents as possible, but to dramatically attack buildings which served as the most vivid symbols of America’s dominance and control over the world. The people inside the buildings were invisible to the attackers, and so were largely incidental.

And their attacks were meant not to cause mayhem per say, but a coordinated and documentable violence that would be broadcast to the entire world. Violence that would show their people, the audience was not only the American public but Muslims across the world, and the message was that American hegemony was not invincible and could be successfully assaulted.

It is almost universally assumed that 9/11 was aimed at the American public. We interpret it in terms of how many lives were lost, in what it meant to us, in how it affected us, and it resulted in us asking the question Why Do They Hate Us? It is assumed that 9/11 wrought a destructive toll – in terms of fathers and friends and loved-ones lost, billions of dollars of damage done, airline revenues turning into debt, even a destruction of our own national innocence.

But if you really look at it, 9/11 very clearly wasn’t just about killing innocents.

It was about lighting torches. It was about empowering a disaffected and largely hopeless group, and rallying them to the vanguard and the ideas of a man who was seen by many of those who share his faith as one of the most devout and pious men alive at the time.

Understanding how this could be possible is based on two rather distant predicates. The first is the fate of the Narodnaya Volya. After their assassination of the Tsar in 1881, Russia soon became a police state as the Tsar implemented oppressive polices to try and destroy the group. Soon thousands of police forces were sent into the furthest corners of the Motherland, on the hunt against a “tiny, clandestine band that had the advantages of mobility, surprise, and relative invisibility.”11 And although the Narodnaya Volya was soon destroyed, the propaganda of their deed lived on.

Later that same year, American president James Garfield was assassinated by anarchists inspired by the actions of the Narodnaya Volya. And two decades after that, terrorists managed to kill President William McKinley. Soon the techniques of the Narodnaya Volya which had caused the Tsarist regime to expend resources on repression which might’ve been used to extend its stay in power, were copied across the world. Much of the violent anarchism that swept across early 20th Century Europe can arguably trace its roots back to the Narodnaya Volya and the propaganda of their deed. Bin Ladin is hijacking their fundamental manifestation of the propaganda by deed, but mixing in elements unique to our modern era.

The second concept needed to understand bin Ladin’s own take on propaganda by deed that hasn’t been explained yet requires returning back to the Middle East of the 1970s. Then, at the same time as city buses were serving as multi-ton wheeled canaries for the fumes of civil discontent, international jetliners were being directed in a different direction and on a more cosmopolitan course – although for many of the same purposes.

And, perhaps more importantly, they provide the necessary vehicles for conveying the tale of how bin Ladin began to act his dreams with open eyes.

Category: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , 3 comments »

3 Responses to “the number frightened”

  1. Naseef

    My god this is the most pretentious bullshit I’ve ever read. Has this guy ever talked to real Arabs or does he just sit in his ivory tower and talk down to the stinking masses.

    TtD: rumor has it that the guy who writes this site hates brown people, and Arabs specifically. Could you please expand upon how this is offensive to Real Arabs so I can tear him a new one? Thanks!!

  2. Heinrich D. Bag

    Ah yes. The religion of peace.

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    […] instance, I came across this quote, from a Londoner who was asked wether rioting is the correct way to express your discontent. The […]

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