The recent ‘terrorist’ bombings in European cities may need to be looked at from a wider perspective. Is this increasing wave of violence on urban communities a signal of a deeper malaise?
The ‘terrorists’ who have perpetrated these attacks over the past few years ( ie not just “ISIS’ inspired killings); have inevitably be enacted by dispossessed angry young men who predominantly have no clear ideology of much longstanding. While they have often attributed the rationale for their attacks to some formal ideology like ISIS, I suspect that any ideological excuse would have sufficed for them. The recent killings by those who stated their motivations were in the name of Allah and ISIS, were almost all by young men who had lacked any consistent commitment to Muslim practice; ie not regularly attending a mosque, and indulged in drinking, drugs , gambling etc.
This indicates that the rationale for the killing did not come from idealogical sources, but rather from their own anger and hurt about their own life experiences. Undoubtedly however, the last few years of ISIS, Al Qaeda and other similar extremist groups espousing the glories of the killing of innocents, have provided a focus and a ‘rationale’ for that anger and blood-lust.
This process might be likened to the Christian crusades to the “Holy Lands” in mediaeval times, when Europeans from all walks of life joined armies to supposedly ‘free” the Holy Lands from Saracen tyranny, but in fact used that license to indulge in vast amounts of rape, pillage and terror of local populations, both on their journeys to Palestine through Europe and the Middle East , but also within Palestine itself.
What is different this time around however, is that this is an internal self-immolation of societies and almost a global one: predominantly by young men who were born within European societies, but at the same time alienated from them.
What we see then, is a political response to these multiple deaths which labels them as “terrorists’ attacks rather than an epidemic of murder/-suicides by young angry and hurting men.
Instead of addressing the root causes of that anger; alienation from society, loneliness, poverty, drugs and perceived inequalities and injustices; Western governments have increasingly focussed on more and more draconian responses to these murders; an action which further legitimizes the imaginary ideological fervour of more and more young men.
As in the United States, the political response is to further militarise police forces and restrict human rights and freedoms, and thereby increase the likelihood of inappropriate and unjust responses by the ‘authorities’ to legitimate community conflict situations. It is plain that such actions lead only to community disintegration.
One might therefore argue that the actions by both parties are symptomatic of a global community in decline; in a state of self-immolation, as it unconsciously acknowledges the multiple absurd paradoxes of our global consumer society whilst we inexorably head towards an unliveable over-heated and species depleted planet.