2 May 2011

A Decade of Terrorism Reality Check

Obama has leapt to the forefront of World Politics through the death of Osama Bin Laden.

The "decade of terrorism", with it's own media title in true hyperreal form, has successfully projected one man to a plateau of the antithesis of sainthood through digital communications.

A Brief Global Terrorism

The Americans are good at projecting a hyperreal status to current affairs, as Neil Gaiman observed in American Gods, they worship at the alter of the media.

With the exaggeration of every event that occurs, the shock to the country that an ideological group would have the temerity to attack America, land of the free, brought about a significant cultural change in America.

It is mocked in many comedies, but the one that sticks in my mind is My Name is Earl "Our "Cops" is on", where a small town fete police officers are paranoid about terrorism to the point of concern about fireworks getting in to the wrong hands.

This hysteria escalated with September 11th disaster ten years ago. It directly started two wars on flimsy evidence, generated more comedy through Team America and other parodies, but at the heart of the hype and the mocking lies the message that the Americans have projected one man to a deity status.

Through digital media, a hundred YouTube videos and press representation, one man became the aggressor, a supernatural enemy who could wreck havoc on any Western Civilisation, anywhere.

The stark reality of one man's dedication to religious fundementalism is very different. If he were the breeder of evil, then a decade on, we would not be here to discuss this. Those hyperreal terrorist attacks would have destroyed the Western World.

The reality is that Osama Bin Laden hid, using fairly obvious red-herring techniques through YouTube videos, and escaped capture for ten years. Without ever succeeding in bringing about another terrorist attack on the scale of devestation as 9/11.

Would his reach have been as wide and as sensationalist without digital media? Doubtful. Digital media has played an integral role in the projection of Bin Laden, and of fundementalism and extremism in general.

[There is an entire digression in the borderline-personality experience of digital media just waiting to happen]

Adhering to Hyperreality

Therefore, the obvious way for Obama to announce the death of Bin Laden is to neatly sew up the story of global terrorism, adhere to the myths the American public believe, and make a speech as sensationalist as the entire story.

Listening to his speech on the radio this morning, and reviewing the text, it must be noted his language in portraying Obama's own role in the decimation of fundementalism.
"...shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of Bin Laden the top priority of our war against al-Qaeda..."

The language is engendered to derrive passion from the American people, and emotively draw to a close the projection of this deity, while, I say cynically, retaining his second term as US President.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens.

In Britain we are more contrite. The people observe the death as a success, but realistically predict potential fall out and awareness of a refreshing of extremist views, in both camps.

Obama may be keen to press home the point; [I] " must also reaffirm that the United States is not - and never will be - at war with Islam.

But the issue returning to the news is likely to enflame antimuslim groups as much as muslim groups, and thee parties on Ground Zero will generate more blinkered views.

Perhaps the decade of terrorism can be resigned to history, or perhaps the dance of new hyperreal obsessions in current affairs have already commenced with involvement in Civil Wars in the Arab Spring.

The Hyperreal always makes one feel as though one is in a movie, and today, for me, I feel like I may be in the throws of Twelve Monkeys .

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