Friday, April 29, 2016

A Little Jerk From Molenbeek

"He has the intelligence of an empty ashtray, he has a profound vacuity."
"I asked him if he had read the Qur'an, which I did, and he said he had read his interpretation on the Internet."
"[Abdeslam is a] little jerk [or asshole], more a follower than a leader [among] Molenbeek's little delinquents."
"[Abdeslam] is the perfect example of the GTA [Grand Theft Auto video game] generation who thinks he lives in a video game."
Sven Mary, Belgian defence lawyer
TVbrussels via AP
TVbrussels via AP   This file image taken from video and first released on Wednesday April 13, 2016 shows Salah Abdeslam, left, the fugitive from the Nov. 13 Paris attacks whose capture appears to have precipitated the March 22 bombing in Brussels. 
"Injustice was often a starting point with their predecessors' journey toward extremism and terrorism. This has now largely been overshadowed by personal estrangement and motives as the primary engines of their journey."
"[The distinction is between an earlier generation of] radical Islamists [and the current crop of] Islamized radicals."
"[Abdeslam and his peers'] acquaintance with religious thought is undoubtedly more shallow and superficial than their predecessors', as is their acquaintance with international politics."
Brussels think tank report
If authorities are looking for a rational explanation from this young thug of Moroccan heritage and Belgian citizenship they are hoping for too much. This is a young man who like most of those with whom he and his kind associate, are reactive to opportunistic situations. They look for excitement, for some means of proving to themselves and to others that they are tough and capable of sending the world into a tailspin of horror, of creating reputations for themselves.

They dream of committing atrocities and becoming the admired heroes of the world of jihad.

Some among them don't much mind sacrificing themselves in the greater interests of martyrdom while dispatching innocent people to hell, as they ascend to Paradise, and others like Abdeslam prefer to take part in the excitement of intrigue and conspiracy, venture out on the field of battle, create the conditions for actively murdering as many surprised people as possible, then preferably make good their escape, to live to tell another tale, and plan another escapade, and escape again, endlessly.

Like all such young men who view themselves as adventuresome and fearless, they cannot imagine themselves dead; this is where the imagination of youth stops dead cold. For how can the world go on without their presence? They and their actions animate the world, their contempt for the world and those inhabiting it requires their response. Gauge how over-represented Arab and Muslim youth are in Western societies, particularly those that empower them to be equal in opportunity to all others, when they choose to be one with gangs and crime and violence.

They seem to naturally gravitate to the world of crime, to meting out violence, to extracting all the adrenalin-producing adventures available to the bold and the venturesome, which lands them in prison where the volatile venom of criminality and entitlement finds free expression and the admiration of others vulnerable to the allure of violent action, imagining that there will be no consequences to do harm to their own longevity.

Now transferred to France to stand trial in a number of years for his crimes against the people of the Republic, he will be housed in a high-security prison, his every actions under scrutiny. But he is unlikely to be a further violent threat to anyone. His hopes of escape have been dashed, his outlook is bleak, and he feels defeated by circumstances clearly not of his own making, but of the consequences that his actions created. He cannot find it in himself to cast blame on himself, after all.

It is the world that is responsible for the manner in which he reacted. Others deserved to die. Others sought to die, but not he. And to be placed in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time is not his vision of reward for the exciting risks he took in pursuing the role of righteous jihadist. His role in the death of 130 people in Paris, his clash with police in Molenbeek leading to his later arrest precipitating the Brussels bombings were celebratory exploits for which he is being punished by an unfair world.

Video games never ended up in such a sordid finality.

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