Thursday, July 14, 2005

Kpunk kutting through the krapp with incisive analysis here
and here (about time they gave this man a Guardian column!) Particularly enjoyed, if that's the word, the grim wit of the kicker line that follows this particuarly penetrating insight:

"The rise of Islamism must be correlated with the demise of the Left. If it has become the default repository for Muslim rage against injustice then that is partly due to the US, which, as is well-known, funded Ilamist Jihadis in a bid to defeat Communism. Since only something like Communism could absorb and re-direct the energies that are fuelling al Qaeda, I look forward to the day when the US will fund Islamic Communism, and the circle will be complete."

This other very good bit, on the bombers---

Their affiliation with al-Qaeda will, we can speculate, almost certainly serve the function of resolving a tension in themselves. Al Qaeda recruit from schools and colleges because they are astute enough to recognize that male adolescence is a time of boiling confusion that craves easy certainties. It cannot be that difficult for a fervent Jihadi to convince impressionable young men adrift in the miserable haze of Babylonic capitalism that it is not al Qaeda but their enemies who are really Evil

---made me think of some statistical data on suicide bombers I read in the Guardian,

"Most of the bombers tend to be young, well-educated, and from lower middle-class backgrounds rather than those fighting for daily survival. An Israeli government study found that 23% of suicide bombers between 2000 and this year had been university graduates. "

That struck me as interesting because that's the class segment--lower middle bleeding into upper working--that has been the motor of most everything exciting in UK music culture. It's where mod came from, and a lot of rave; it's the heartland of the music press readership, and its writership too. Something about the precariousness of that class position--and the volatile, poorly digested combination of a bit of higher education with a lot of autodidact learning--breeds a certain kind of believer kind of mindset, a psychology of quest and mission. (Before rock became the focus-locus for that kind of energy, it came forth in things like the Angry Young Men... lthink of the anti-hero of Look Back In Anger, whose anguish is partly caused by the lack of a noble cause worth fighting for). More specifically, that unstable, inbetweeny class zone was where where punk came from. Running through the UK punk continuum (not the American punk one, interestingly) is a thread of terrorism-as-metaphor... The Clash with their songs like "Death or Glory"and fascination with Italy's Red Brigade and Germany's Red Army Faction (and punkzine pioneer Tom Vague wrote a whole book on Baadher-Meinhof premised on the notion that the RAF was what Germany had instead of punk rock) ... Manic Street Preachers' Generation Terrorists (think also of their cover of the MASH theme "Suicide is Painless’)... even when terrorism as metaphor isn't part of the overt vocabulary, there seems to be some kind of affinity of psychology--young men with burning souls and hearts full of zeal and chips on both shoulders--there's that same quest for purity in a sullied world, for absolute truths and clear vision, for something that transcends mediocrity and market society... something, in fact, that's outside the class system and the alloted fates it doles out... that promises a heroic life...

the next bit, from the same Guardian piece, made me think of Kevin Rowland, or junglists chanting along to "alla da youth shall witness the day that babylon shall fall"...

Ms Oliver said that one of the most important motivating factors was what she described as "an element of ecstatic camaraderie, which is central to the group".

Perhaps what they really need isn't Communism as a surrogate belief system/ideological framework for their rage ... they need their own kind of rock'n'roll... something to divert and defuse them as effectively..... as rock culture has done vis-a-vis Western youth these past 40 years...

No comments: