Jason Burke “Al-Qaeda”

ISBN 0-141-01912-3. Published by Penguin in 2003. Quoted in more than one Chomsky book (including “Imperial Ambitions”) this is Burke’s clever dissection of a phenomena. Indeed Noam Chomsky even lends the book his credit with a quick quote on top of the rear cover. You don’t get higher praise than that. What fascinated me the most about this book was Jason’s lengthy discussion about the meaning of the Arabic word “Al Qaeda” – widely interpreted as meaning “the base” as in a physical place, it is pointed out that its meaning is wider than this. Al Qaeda can be interpreted as “the core”, “the reference”, “the starting point from which everything else springs” – essentially it translates as “the idea”. I wonder if the screenplay writers for “V for Vendetta” had this in mind when they give the hero his immortal words “Ideas are bullet-proof”? Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that this is an eye-opener. For it is the concept of Al Qaeda as an ‘idea’ that makes it so fascinating. It isn’t an army or terrorist group with a hierarchical command and control system. It is just an idea. It is people of a like-mind coming together to defend their religion. For it has not been difficult for this idea to demonstrate that Islam is under attack. From Finsbury Park Mosque to Afghanistan, Islam is facing the onslaught of a modern day crusade. The American hegemonists, with their racist neo-conservative principles, have launched an Orwellian war against these people and it is time to fight back. The long sorry history is all here. There is no war on terror. Only a war of terror. It is one that Bush and his cronies could fight for a thousand years and never win. Ideas are bullet-proof. Recommended (by the best).

About post-carbon-man

A passionate advocate of a peaceful transition to a sustainable political-economy, Mark hails from a working class farming background. Today he is a Company Director and Chairman of the Low Carbon Chilterns Co-operative. Whilst at University (Engineering Masters) he was active in Conservative Student politics but has had no affiliation since. He has travelled widely on business covering the USA, Europe, Middle East and Central Asian Republics. In 2007 Mark founded Post-Carbon-Living and a year later co-founded Transition Town High Wycombe. He lives with is wife & daughter in a home they retrofitted to be carbon-neutral. Today he blogs about surviving politics on a shrinking planet and is passionate in his rejection of Nationalism.

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