Thursday, July 14, 2005

Peter Lamborn Wilson

Peter Lamborn Wilson, sometimes also known as Hakim Bey, the inimitable author of T.A.Z and Pirate Utopias talks at Chaos Day 2002 on Spiritual Anarchism. Well worth a listen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Suicide bombing as a virus

So it seems the worst fears are realized, the London bombers were home grown and suicide. No sinister foreign terrorists sneaking over the border on forged passports, no sleeper agents of some worldwide evil empire, just four guys from Yorkshire and some backpacks of explosives.

I was Listening to the Today program on Radio 4 this morning as they discussed the bombings and something one of the commentators said (I missed his name but he's producing a program on channel 4 about the history of suicide bombers) really struck a cord. He said 'suicide bombing is a virus that's transmitted via media'.

This, I think, hits the nail on the head and sums up the difference between this situation and say that of the IRA. The IRA were/are an organization with clear aims and objectives and definable leaders and structure . Al-Qaeda on the other hand appears to be a generic media term that is used to describe many different groups with many disparate (and often conflicting) ideologies. The idea of this shadowy organization with Osama Bin laden as it's head, sitting in his underground hideout plotting the end of the Western World is Doctor evil style, is in my opinion bollocks. The only thing that links most of these groups together is that they have a distorted view of Islam, they think capitalism and the west is the root of all evil and death in the service of a higher cause is a good thing.

It seems that what we're dealing with here is something far more elusive than a shadowy and sinister organization. It's an idea, a particularly virulent viral meme. It seeds itself via websites and chat rooms, is nurtured and grown in the soil of hate and disenfranchisement and eventually kills it's host. Trying to fight this idea with guns, arrests and an 'US' against 'THEM' dichotomy is stupid, pointless and just produces more mental fertilizer for the idea to grow in. The only way to fight ideas is through other ideas. Ideological antibiotics, administered through the opening of dialogue between communities, breaking down boundaries instead of setting them up and nurturing more beneficial strains of meme.

It seems to me that the same mistake is being made here that was made in the first world war when the generals sent their cavalry in against the machine guns, technology has changed the rules of engagement but the entrenched power structures are still using the same reactionary tactics, wildly shooting at shadows, trying to find an enemy that they'll never be able to pin down.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More Dave and Malcolm on Key23

Thanks to comments from a friend of mine there is a new Dave and Malcolm adventure on Key23. It's amusing that two characters who originally popped into my head as a plot device have now started to take on a life of their own.

television the drug of a nation