Monday, July 11, 2005

Questions on 7/7... stream of consciousness

  • How come the Dutch were thrown into a crisis they've never recovered from after the stabbing of one man -- whereas the Brits have bombs in their underground and 50+ dead and are carrying on pretty much as usual?
  • How is the fallout from 7/7 different to the fallout from 9/11? This should be analyzed somewhere. The first thing I can think of is that the Americans strongly translated the attacks on the Twin Towers as assaults on their way of life and values, whereas the Brits -- or a large segment of them, at least -- haven't really read that into the assaults, or at least not articulated this as loudly or clearly or with as much passion. Too many people have tried to marginalize the attackers as 'criminals' or people on the fringe who can be controlled merely by employing better intelligence. As we've previously noted, there is a resistance to the idea this has anything to do with religion or ideology. There's no real discussion going on here (as it did in Holland) about the fabric of our society. This is partially because the attacks here were not on the same magnitude as the attacks on the US. But paradoxically, I also see this as a partial result of the much larger Muslim presence in Europe than in the US. Admitting that we are in an existential war and figuring out how to defend ourselves is much more sensitive and complex when the threat exists partially within and when fragile multi-cultural relations hang in the balance. This is also an additional partial answer to why the 7/7 attacks have not really translated into identification with Israel and Israelis -- in the US Israel was suddenly, in some circles at least, more important as an ally in the fight for democracy and Western values. The events here haven't been put in those terms to the same extent.
  • How will these events affect the Jews? Theoretically there's no real Jewish connection. But if the British government tries to calm and control the Muslim population by appeasing them, as seems likely, the British Jews -- who have no political power -- and Israel, cannot possibly gain. On the other hand, any conflict between the government and the Muslim community will lead to a rise in ethnic tensions and unhappiness in the Muslim community and this cannot possibly benefit the Jews either.

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