On jihadi extremists, their goals and methods

Standard

“ So it’s no surprise that both parties talk about security. However, the term itself is open to debate. People will point out that cows, clothes and cars kill more people every year than terrorism. Some say the threat we face from jihadi terrorism is unprecedented, while others say that, in historical terms, Europe is in a period of relative peace and that the larger dangers are from our own governments grabbing power in the wake of tragedy. Who’s right? Well … it’s complicated. Security expert Bruce Schneier describes security as both a reality and a feeling. The real risks of your children being the victims of a terror attack are low, but the odds don’t matter when it’s happening live on the news. Certainly, the raw number of attacks were higher in the 70s and 80s. That may be contributing to a greater sense of threat: if our baseline expectation of violence is minimal, attacks have more impact than if they are more regular (…) Westerners and Muslims, of course, are groups of significant overlap. They are not in opposition, but extremists on both sides want them to be. Professor Matthew Feldman, an expert in extremism at Teesside University, explains that an often overlooked impact of extremist activities is that they make the broader community feel forced to pick a side. Seen through this lens, the rush to demand that Muslims condemn the violence, setting up new loyalty tests for ordinary Muslim citizens, reinforces the Isis/English Defence League narrative that Islam cannot be accommodated within European culture (…) The Manchester bomber and the London Bridge attackers were atypical in historical terms but match a recent pattern of Isis terrorists. They weren’t religious extremists who became radicals, but radicals who became religious extremists. Isis is targeting young men who are already angry, disillusioned and rootless, and giving them a focus for that anger ”

Phil McDuff, ‘It’s complex: why the us-and-them approach to extremism won’t work’, The Guardian

Advertisements

On who the Italian Left should take inspiration from

Standard

“ What model of the European left should inspire the Italian left? Should it be the English Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn or the French President Emmanuel Macron? The answer, in fact, is already contained in the question. If it’s the left we’re talking about, the model can hardly be Macron and for a simple reason: Macron is not a leftist ”

Davide De Luca, ‘Why Macron is not a leftist’, Il Post

On the small coverage of Turkey’s human rights violations

Standard

“ Violation of the freedom of the press would attract more attention if a Western government blocked Wikipedia for two weeks and held more than 120 journalists. It seems, however, that such measures appear to be normal for a country like Turkey, that they are little to be scandalized for. On the one hand there are those for which Turkey has always been and will always be a country fundamentally different from European countries. On the other, there are those who hoped for Turkey’s accession to the European Union and read Pamuk’s novels, but who have now resigned to the idea that modern Turkey no longer exists ”

Translated from Italian.

Lorenzo Ferrari, ‘Turkey, human rights, and us’, Il Post

On the strict correlation between European colonialism and imperialism and immigration

Standard

“ In the French case, it is impossible to maintain a settler colonial regime on your own doorstep for over 100 years, with all the brutality inherent to such a project, without telling yourself certain stories by way of justification. If you can convince yourself that you are the agent of modernity and progress, while your colonial subjects are backward, superstitious and irrationally violent, then massacres, torture and repression become regrettable necessities or understandable aberrations. Then, when your subjects in north Africa and elsewhere overthrow your rule, end your empire, and then in some cases come to your country as economic migrants or refugees, you are ready to see these developments as a humiliation, an insult and a threat (…) The reality is that in Britain and France much of our patriotism has been toxified by imperial self-satisfaction, an inherited sense of superiority over others, and a refusal to climb down from this through an honest reappraisal of our history. It is here that we find the roots of the post-imperial status anxiety that characterises the rightwing Brexiteers. It is also here that we find the instinct to see Muslims as uncivilised, immigrants as an economic burden, and refugees as cockroaches or just chancers on the scrounge ”

David Wearing, ‘Immigration will remain a toxic issue until Britain faces up to his colonial past’, The Guardian

On borders’ uselessness

Standard

” It is understandable that borders are creeping into fashion again, lubricated by the passions of various new nationalisms that aren’t at all new. (…) It is understandable because there is an overwhelming sense of fear in many – and a border appears to be a kind of solution. But it may be useful to recall that, until 1990, for half of Europe’s people, borders were a trauma. The iron curtain was more than a figure of speech. It cut into flesh, into families, into the lives of the unborn ”

Kapka Kassabova, ‘New borders will fail just as old ones did’, The Guardian