‘Conflict investment is the way forward!’ Applause rose, and clattered at the glass roofing like the wings of pigeons startled into flight. Around the lecture theatre, men and women came to their feet, hands pumping together. The entire contingent of Shorn Associates were gathered in the room. The youngest, Chris noticed, were the most fervent. Faces gashed open with enthusiasm, teeth and eyes gleaming in the late afternoon sun from roof and picture window. They looked ready to go on applauding until their hands bled. ‘
– Richard Morgan, Market Forces
Time was that when people felt disaffected with the way life choices were dished out in England, they rioted. But not any more, now they make a concerted effort to rediscover their roots (or some roots), and they may even go so far as to seek utopia abroad. There can be no more glorious a venture than embarking on jihad in order to help one’s Muslim sisters and brothers fight against moral and social injustice. Indeed many have done just that, remember the conflict between Croatia and Serbia in which the UN forces were able to do very little? No? Then you’ll surely remember the photo of a child, raped and hanging from a tree after the fall of Srebenica. There were a lot of people (mostly Muslim) hung from a lot of trees by Serbian ‘soldiers’ after the fall of Srebenica. That was a pivotal moment, communicated to us by the British media, and probably the moment in which many Muslims decided they would risk travelling to to that war zone to defend their Muslim brothers and sisters. Who could blame them? After that photograph of a seven year old Bosnian girl who had hung herself after being raped came out who would dare?
Stories came out after the war had ended, stories of mass rapes and one story told me by someone who had counselled a former soldier. A young man who, whilst high on drugs had taken and killed somebody’s baby in the most drug crazed way he could think of. When I heard that story I had nothing but unstinting admiration for those young Muslim men who had gone off to fight, doing for their people what no UN soldier had been allowed to do.
Not so with ISIS, who seem to have adopted some of the tactics the Serbians employed in Srebenica, raping Yazidi Christian women, slitting the throats of charity workers who left Europe and America to offer help, and threatening to slit more throats if their demands aren’t met. Yes, they have a slick corporate media machine exuding a very persuasive message. But like most slick corporate machines, you get left with a really ‘icky’ sense of manipulation afterwards, as though you’ve been ‘slimed’ over. Do I get why they initially travelled out to Syria? Given Basher Al-Assad’s brutality towards his own people, of course I do. What I don’t get is why cultural disaffection or disconnection, has caused them to set up a state that infringes on the territorial sovereignty of two nations, or why twenty-first century women have elected to take a step back in time, and play ‘step & fetch it’ to a bunch of throat slitting idealists. The whole developed world has been panicked into action by these fanatical idealists and rightly so, after all they are as passionate about their fanatical beliefs as say the average corporate executive.