Friday, August 11, 2006

Bomb plots? We should just refuse to be terrorised

In the past, our political and cultural elites traditionally confronted terrorism by not allowing it to succeed in preventing us from going about our daily business. Not anymore - this attitude is much less in evidence today, especially with regards to recent responses to bomb threat on cross Atlantic airliners. Indeed, there is tendency towards promoting our vulnerbility.

The idea that an advanced society like Britain, is constantly under terrorist threat encourages a climate of fear, which in turn, just encourages more attacks. Confusion and a culture of fear are the main rewards for the terrorists. Indeed, how can it be, that an alleged plot to bring down a few airliners, cause a nation of 60 million strong Britons to be paralysed? This is one of the most advanced societies on the planet, with a successful economy, but is seemingly trapped in a culture of fear, with an acute aversion to taking any risks.

Matters of sercurity are top of the political agenda, adding to our current state of fear. Its worth noting, in the past our leaders' engaged terrorists by special means. Through small scale counter-terrorist operations and the use of intelligence - mainly against organised national liberation forces like the Provisional IRA. Today, our elites launch full scale wars, against a home-grown new breed of non-political nihilists. A breed for which terror is an end in itself.

One thing I know for sure, we can't afford to become traumatised by such events. This only succeeds in advertising our vulnerabilities. We need to pour emphasis on the idea of our resilience, our tanacity and perserverance. Professor Frank Furedi argues that ' the impact of the threat of terrorism is often psychological and its power is signficantly enhanced by the fears generated by a risk averse culture' (1). In other words, the terrorists most powerful weopon is our very own fears.

How many times have we been warned of how terrorists could strike at numerous stategic targets? To date, none of these things have happened - its as if Britain is just sitting around waiting for it to happen. In the meantime, Islamic wannabe terrorists go about organising hitting soft targets - the softer the target, the better to scare the mighty, powerful West with.
There is one thing we all know, whoever is behind any of these alleged bomb plots, do not pose a military or political threat to British state.


At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Lucyp said...

Im a cynic when it comes to things like this. I believe that this Government WANTS the mass hysteria, panic and disruption as it can point to it and say, "Only we can keep you safe".

At 11:47 PM, Blogger The Intolerant One said...

" the kidnappers most powerful weopon is our very own fears."

And this, my friend, is why terroists are winning the war.

Sad but true. Which is why I cannot fault the strong measures some nations choose to take against them.

Unfournatley their is always the many innocents who get caught in the crossfire. But terrorists are an unnegotiable bunch. May be time to strike alot harder.

What a catch 22.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Johnny said...

Hamilton, I agree with the general thrust of your argument, but I do have to question one element of it. You assert in the first paragraph that the terrorists have won, by interpreting the new airport security arrangements as, “preventing us from going about our daily business.” I personally do believe this to be the case.

Flying, unlike any old day to day car journey, is for the majority of people an annual or maybe biannual event, but certainly not a weekly or even a monthly activity. A plane flight is still, for most British families, the annual one that takes them to some Spanish resort or theme park in Florida. I certainly can not remember a time in my life, when there have not been security checks to get on board a plane.

Terrorists will only win, when we choose not to go on that annual holiday at all, when we won’t use the underground or buses, when we abandon multi-centralism for a xenophobic state. That’s when terrorists win, not when they make us queue for an extra hour at Gatwick.

P.S. I see you like Frank Furedi, well I see him around quite often at Kent University. A very clever man indeed!

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...


"I believe that this Government WANTS the mass hysteria, panic and disruption".

That sounds a bit too conspiritorial to me, and indeed, your right, it's a very cynical stance to take on these matters. I personally don't believe that for one minute - I think it's reasonable to argue that it has been the governments over precautionary reactions to, what is looking like a real bomb plot, has done more 'disruption' than the bomb plot itself.

Of course, we can always expect supporters of the 'war on terror' to scramble to the high moral ground when something does happen like 9/11, 7/7, and so on - but, instead of emphasising our societies resilience to such threats, the government just brings the country to a virtual standstill - in effect, doing the terrorists job for them.

This is the 'catch 22' that, I think, TIO was alluding to - because, the message we give out, is that it only takes a couple wannabe terrorists to cause untold chaos, that is far, far beyond their actual capabilities. It's our political elites loss of nerve that is more damaging than what a bunch of disaffected Muslim youth from Walthamstow could do.


Many thanks for your comment - the biggest problem I have with the current state of confusion and insecurity is the logic of it all, where is all this hightened security taking us? The governments over precautionary response only seems to have magnified the terrorist threat - it's a reaction based mainly on speculation, about what 'could' or 'might' happen - it's a perfect recipe for social stasis, whereby, we are on a constant state of alert, which, in itself, is a self-fulfilling prophecy that gives rise to more threats of attacks in the future.

Best wishes.


At 1:17 AM, Blogger Benedict White said...

Courtney, interesting article. I wonder where the jacobins comes from.

I have written a few articles on the "war on terror" myself, listed below:

BTW do you mind if I link to your blog?

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

Hi Benedict,

Many thanks for your comment - and, of course, link away my friend.

I got the name Jacobins from my favourite historian C.L.R. James, who wrote a classic study of the original black Jacobins in the Caribbean. The black Jacobin movement of 1791, was a product of the Enlightenment, and were the only successful slave revolt in history.

Anyway, I look forward to reading your posts.

Best wishes.



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