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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

03 August 2005

Terrorist charms

Anne Applebaum wrote a column for today's Washington Post that is well worth reading; it is entitled, "The Discreet Charm of the terrorist cause," and begins:

"Since the bombing attacks in London last month, a welter of columnists, writers, talking heads and ordinary people have puzzled over the mystery of British Muslims, one in four of whom recently told pollsters that they sympathize with the July 7 suicide bombers.

The idea that British Muslims, whose parents received asylum, found jobs, and made lives in Britain, could be so deeply affected by the "oppression" of Muslims in countries they have never visited seems incomprehensible. The notion that events in distant deserts should lead the middle-class inhabitants of London or Leeds to admire terrorists seems inexplicable. But why should this phenomenon be so incomprehensible or inexplicable, at least to Americans? We did, after all, once tolerate a similar phenomenon ourselves.

I am talking about the sympathy for the Irish Republican Army that persisted for decades in some Irish American communities and is only now fading away."

Close the end, Ms. Applebaum writes,

"My point here isn't really about Northern Irish politics, however, but about the extraordinarily powerful appeal of foreign, 'revolutionary,' 'idealistic' violence to the inhabitants of otherwise peaceful societies. You don't have to be Muslim, or poor, or an extremist, to feel the romantic pull of terrorism. You can be a middle-class American and a lapsed Catholic whose grandmother happened to come from Donegal."

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