T Nation

BTW, There was Another Major Terror Attack


#1

The terror attack in Egypt was a pretty major event. 305 dead at last count. These people are every bit our brothers and sisters that Parisians or Londoners are.
Have we become that num? A terror attack is just, ‘meh’?
I guess it takes the attractiveness out of it, somewhat. I just don’t get the western reaction here. If this happened in the west it would be plastered on all the news for days. Egypt isn’t exactly a banana republic, though.

I think it’s a big enough deal that it deserves it’s own thread. They ambushed the ambulance drivers, blocked off the exits and murdered everybody. Why? They apparently aren’t ‘islamic’ enough.


#2

There have been many high-profile terrorist attacks in non-Western countries in the past decade or so.

Here’s a really recent example- groups associated with ISIS are active in the Philippines and have caused great damage.

Did you even know about this? I only learned about it because I enjoy reading The Atlantic and they actually bother reaching a bit more broadly than places like the NYT.

How many of incidents like this can you even think about reading in the front page of a major news? The sad part is that you can’t even say that places like Egypt/Turkey/The Philippines are non-Western states. Egypt and Turkey are major regional powers and possess most of the trappings of a “modern, Western” lifestyle.

It’s not that we’ve become numb to this, but rather that shit that happens in non-Western countries aren’t exactly mentioned or even cared about.

Folks are racists. The only person I’ve seen on my Facebook feed who cared about the attacks in Turkey in the last couple of years was an expat who lived there for a couple of years.

Not a single one of the people who feigned interest in the attacks in GB and France feigned interest in Turkey, and now Egypt. Seriously, not a single comment (except, again the expat I know) said anything about Egypt.

It’s part of the reason why I found the many responses folks had to the 2015 Paris attacks really tasteless.

Where was the Turkish flag overlay FB?

And, as of now, where is the Egyptian flag overlay FB?


#3

Well, Islam is Islam. It is violent and destroys anything that has a different opinion…Maybe no numb but we have come to expect this from muslims.


#4

Actually Sufis (the mosque in question was Sufi) are more islamic/religious that radical sunnis, at least by Western standards. Sufism is a more mystical, contemplative strain that places great emphasis on internalization of religion and religious thought and not on “kill everyone else” preached by radical sunnis.

So it’s more in line what “religiousness” means to a Westerner.

Of course, due to their contemplative component that more deals with theological issues and inner peace they’re second only to Shiites at the list of heretics to Salafi sunnis.

Oh yes you do. We all do. They’re “brown” and no one gives a shit.


#5

No they aren’t. I have 3 brothers and one sister. No one else on earth shares that title with them but us among each other.

Now for my dissertation on the middle east titled “How to Become An Asshole To Middleatserners”

Paragraph one- Get involved in their shit. Brown or not- there are about something point something billion assholes in that region that can’t resist the urge to fuck each other up. So let them.

The End.


#6

Written from the luxury of having a continent just for yourselves and extremely threatening neighbors that are Canada and Mexico.

There’s nothing irrational in ME politics and they’re not a “bunch of crazies”. Horrible and offensive to modern sensibilities - yes, but irrational - no. The religion you probably adhere to was wouldn’t have survived the first century or so if it wasn’t enthusiastically embraced by the people of Alexandria, Egypt.

There are winners and there are losers. And the losers have been slowly losing for the last thousand or so years. Druze, Copts (not to be confused with other Christian sects such as Maronites and other Arab Christians), Sufis, Shiites, Kurds…

Sometimes one loses quickly, such when Greeks of Asia Minor or Armenians were massacred in their millions by the victors in a space of few months, sometimes more slowly, such as the Maronites in Lebanon. Sometimes one even puts up a fight, such as the Kurds or Phalangistes in Lebanon but the outcome is never in doubt.


#7

Responded to from the luxury of having the US military as your guard dog.

No, but what is crazy is intervening on behalf of a side. I think we’ve proven that enough times in the last half century to settle on it as a basic fact. Maybe history doesn’t satisfy your burden of proof to agree on it as such, but it does mine.

Not that I condone a completely hands off approach, but more along the lines of Chirac, in that if they were the recipient of a terror strike it would be met with nuclear retaliation.

Hasn’t happened in a while, but I used to read and meditate on some writings of the desert fathers.

I get that. Thats why I figure that it would be best to let them win among themselves, but as soon as they set foot (or an IED) on western land- Turn the the entire consolidated region into glass.


#8

Yes, but the US military is the product of the US of A, its size, industrial power and population.

From a historical perspective, as soon as the nascent US of A crossed the Appalachians this was never in doubt - Louisiana Purchase sealed this.

The British Empire officially gave up the idea fighting a war against the US in 1867. France gave up post Maximilian adventure in Mexico a couple of years later.

Thanks to its geographical position - abundance of territory, natural resources and lack of tough enemies close by - the US could get away with abysmally low military expenditures in those crucial decades for industrial development in differing periods in the 19th century.

Which side? The US has been very consistent by supporting the grand Sunni Gulf coalition from those early FDR talks with the Saudis during WW2.

Of course, occasionally every few decades they’d fuck the Kurds over (they’re nominally Sunni) but this stance has been consistent for decades, even centuries .if you expand the definition to include the British Empire.

So a terror atrocity has been committed by an Uzbek living in NYC or a French-born Muslim whose parents immigrated from Algeria - who do you drop the bomb on? Uzbekistan, a country where the US has the highest approval rating or onto a Parisian immigrant suburb?


#9

But the US chose this role for its own self-interests.


#10

True, but this one was particularly big and brutal, which is why I thought it would get more attention… Like, ‘Oh shit, this is far from over’ kind of stuff. The Bali night club and the Indian Hotel attacks were also particularly brutal attacks that got a lot of attention from the White House, but not so much the public at large.

Not about this particular one, but such things do not surprise me. I always suspected Obama was a little skiddish or ‘measured’ in response to ISIS because he did not have any idea what to do with the land and people once ISIS is gone. However, being that ISIS would decorate their city centers with heads on a pike, that is a secondary concern. We should have removed their asses and then figured out what to do with the land and people. Snowball’s chance that they will not assimilate back into Assad’s Syria, which is light-years better than ISIS. I’d rather get gassed then live under ISIS.

It sucks for the Phillipino’s, but I’d rather have the rubble than ISIS… Says I, from behind a computer in a comfy chair in an air conditioned and heated building with electricity and running cold and hot water… So, no I couldn’t even imagine… Well, I can imagine, but I cannot truly sympathize.

This is really the point I was making… This isn’t many layers of separation here. Egypt is probably less of a soft target than the U.S. is, but they just live in closer proximity to the crazies. Having that ocean between us is a nice barrier to have. Physical barriers still matter. Nevertheless, this is 2nd world at worst, board-line 1st world. We cannot get in to a fruckuss about too much, but this is as personal as any attack on the west, in it’s scope and cruelty.

Good post! I enjoyed it…


#11

Eh, I don’t buy that… Not this time. I give a shit, which doesn’t mean a whole lot except that I do and I started this thread.
It’s possibly also because I am acutely aware of the semi-ally status they have with Israel and are a big reason why the ME hasn’t melted down yet and if they wanted to, they could take any number of enemies to the wood-shed.


#12

From what I’ve read of your posts, you genuinely abhor Islamic terrorism, and so it matters to you no matter where it happens.

I firmly believe that the vast majority of people are discriminatory in some form or fashion and simply do not care about people outside of their community, contrary to what they may occasionally say or write.

Edit-

It could be that it happened on Thanksgiving week and so many people haven’t read the news, but I don’t want to give the benefit of the doubt.


#13

I understand your sentiment, but I don’t buy that Egypt quite in the category of ‘crazies’. Yes, there are nuts their that have been torturing the Copts, but Egypt as a whole is pretty western -friendly. Hell, it wouldn’t occur to us because it’s a major deal for us to get to Egypt, but it’s quite a popular European vacation spot. I would argue more so than the UAE for ME destinations. The time I spent in Europe many I came across would do some vaca in Egypt it was not uncommon. It’s not expensive for them and apparently has a lot to offer for the dollar… or Euro or Lira, or whatever.
There has been a drop off in tourism because of the political unrest, but apparently you can still get a good cold, cheep beer and some hash and sit on the banks of the Nile puffing away in peace, occasionally bothered by somebody selling shit.


#14

Actually, to Obama’s credit, despite his horrible foreign policy record, he seems to have understood the danger posed by Saudi Arabia, as can be seen from the back-and-forth petty snubs between him and the House of Saud. But at the end, like in many other instances, he didn’t have the strength to challenge the Saudi lobby in DC.

Trump seems to have swallowed the bait - hook line and sinker.

After throwing a tantrum over ISIS defeats in Syria, the Saudis are pushing the narrative “hey, forget about ISIS (and leave them be), let’s focus on Iran” - therefore, many DC think-thanks are perversely suggesting that sunni terrorism is short-lived (really? AQ and ISIS) while the real danger comes from Shiites.

Meanwhile, on the ground ISIS lost another stronghold - Al-Bokmal to these guys… So… yay?

Untitled

Also, this is a nice summary on the attack in Egypt

Edit: This tweet from DC journalist (she’s a Shiite) shows how much the Shiites are pissed at the Saudi lobby:


#15

Humans aren’t rational. What will get an emotional response out of us doesn’t always make any sense. We’ve talked about this before, but remember when the dentist shot and killed Cecile the Lion in Zimbabwe? People were outraged. Human beings died that week. Let’s say a child was shot by a stray bullet in Chicago, yet that got little to no response in the press. No outrage.

Dan Ariely talked about that on his blog.

Your question hinges on what we mean when we use the term caring. When you look at the volume of public outrage and the amount of ink spilled, it can sometimes seem that the loss of an endangered animal matters more. Sadly, that’s because, at least for some of us, the news of an animal’s death can have more emotional impact than the news of a person’s death.

Of course, this isn’t true for those who were close to the deceased, have personally experienced similar tragedies or have worked to fight similar injustices. But for those who experience such tragedies only via the news, the human loss sometimes doesn’t pull as much at their emotional strings.

This tendency has limits, though. If you gave most people two buttons, told them that pressing one would kill an endangered animal and pressing the other would kill a random fellow citizen, and ordered them to push one, very few would press the kill-a-person button. In this sort of direct comparison, I’d predict, almost everyone would prefer to kill the animal. Comparing lives more directly engages our cognition, not our emotions—and so the type of caring that emerges reflects our higher empathy for human beings and their families.

In other words, when we really think about it, we care more about humans—but we are often called to act based on our emotions, where our caring works quite differently.

The more the victims seem like us then the more likely we are to be able to empathize, put ourselves in their place. I sometimes see this in myself. I’m more likely to relate to and really stop and care about some Coptic Christians being killed in their church, because they are fellow Christians. That’s not rational. Or I will stop and care more about a little child washed up on a beach, because I have children and so it’s easier for me to visualize my own kids in that situation. I suspect that the more similar we see the victims to ourselves, the more likely we are to have an emotional response.

@ Race. Historically, humans have been very good at dehumanizing “the other” or the people not of our tribe. The Vietnamese were “gooks.” In that respect, yes. I agree with you.

I think these are cognitive biases that we all have. I remember this when reading about Anne Frank as a young girl. I could relate. She was about my age, so I probably cared more about Anne, than if the story were about an older woman, for example.

What will trigger our emotions is not always rational.


#16

There in lies the rub… In Myanmar, they publicly, very publicly announced long ago that anything resembling Islamic terrorism within their borders they would kill, string up, raze or otherwise eliminate every Muslim in their country, period. Well some dumb-asses decided to see if they were serious and attacked police posts and we have the Rohingya cleansing happening as we speak. Now we’re outraged about that too. And we should, but they were warned… However, Myanmar apparently doesn’t give a damn what anybody thinks. So we have a ‘2 wrongs…’ situation.


#17

I think that’s giving liberals, wonks and the msm too much credit.


#18

We all hear so much sad news. Everyday there are sad stories. Someone we know gets cancer. We hear about a terrible car accident. I’m sure we develop some callousness just so we can continue to function. It’s likely a defense mechanism for living in a world where life is suffering.


#19

Why isn’t that rational? It’s completely rational since those that are killing the Copts would do, and want to do, the same to you.


#20

I am glad you’re hear loppar. I may not always agree with you, but I appreciate your vast perspective and insight on these issues. I don’t disagree with you here…