TCS Daily


'Those Who Cure You Will Kill You'

By Val MacQueen - July 9, 2007 12:00 AM

Last week, Britain was on highest terror alert - Severe - after a Mercedes packed with gasoline and thousands of nails was found parked outside London's large Tiger Tiger nightclub late on a crowded Friday night. A suspicious person alerted the police and the car, which had apparently been set to explode at a signal of a mobile phone, was disabled and towed away.

Two or three days later, in another part of Britain, two terrorists driving a Cherokee Jeep packed with cans of gasoline set it alight and tried to crash through the entrance to Scotland's busy Glasgow Airport. They were foiled by the terrorist-proof barriers, and the blazing Jeep got stuck halfway through the entrance.

Having just dropped off his passengers outside the main entrance, quick-thinking taxi driver James Smeaton, an ex-military man, jumped from his cab and ran into the terminal hall to shepherd the crowd away from the burning vehicle before it exploded. Seconds later, two blazing terrorists struggled out of the jeep, both alight from their hair to their feet. Quick-thinking Glasgwegian James Smeaton ran over and punched one of the terrorists in the face and shoved him hard before going back to crowd control. Both failed terrorists are under arrest, the one in intensive care is unlikely to survive and Mr Smeaton is a national hero.

Those responsible for both bombs were not the expected overly-religious, resentful, ill-educated young men of Pakistani origin, but a group of middle class Muslims apparently loosely connected by family ties, from the Middle East, including Iraq, and Bangalore India. They were all medical practitioners. Some were doctors and others skilled medical workers and all eight of them worked for the British nationalized health care system.

According to London's The Times, Canon Andrew White, a British cleric working in Baghdad, claimed an alleged al-Qaeda leader had given him a chilling warning of the attacks. "Those who cure you will kill you", and certainly it did come as a double-whammied shock to the British. First, they hadn't realised so many Muslim doctors were employed by the National Health service, especially when young graduate British doctors are beating the bushes for jobs. And second, no one expects people in the healing profession to be killers, although doctor-murderers are certainly not unknown to history.

London's Heathrow Airport was immediately closed down, causing disruption and loss of money to the airlines and the tens of thousands of people booked to start their annual vacations that weekend. One or two other, smaller airports were briefly closed, then re-opened.

So. Two failed terrorist plots within a week. A packed nightclub on a Friday night and a busy airport full of holiday-makers. Not very pointed as a political statement, and both failed to hurt anyone but the terrorists.

The question that provides the puzzle is, why? They didn't attack the Houses of Parliament or a major political institution or any national political figures. They intended to kill thousands of people in a nightclub and an airport, and it is beginning to look increasingly as though Islamic terrorism in Britain seems now to be provoked by disapproval of the Western lifestyle. Earlier, equally inept, Keystone Terrorists, who were apprehended even before they had managed to assemble their bombs, had been secretly recorded as wishing to bomb a nightclub to punish "the slags" (sluts) dancing and drinking the night away in stiletto heels and mini-dresses.

Disapproval of the freedom of the West, in which they had so eagerly sought jobs, seems to be the motivator. Punish the slags. Punish families for going away to foreign shores, intending to loll on sunny beaches in little bikinis sipping rum punches.

Journalist Brendan O'Neill writes in Spiked, "The attempted car bombs show clearly that such terrorism is not a product of political engagement with an issue, but rather of its opposite: a profound disengagement from society and a loathing for those who inhabit it." Far from being motivated by religious disapproval of Britain's adventures in the Middle East that has always been the high-minded excuse in the past, O'Neill says, "in truth their actions look like brutal expressions of a nihilistic outlook rather than [any] political conviction."

That's all we need. Nietzsche in a flaming Cherokee Jeep.

Val MacQueen is a TCS contributing writer. She lives in the UK.
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