Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Belgium and Terrorism

Once again, the simple minded offer simple solutions to a problem in these United States that does not even exist. Politicians, haters, and well-intentioned people, ignorant of history, focus on the horrible murders in Belgium without any analysis of how Belgium arrived at such a point.

Geography plays a big role in any European terrorism. European nations are so small and so close to each other that travel between these countries provides terrorists with the ability to nation hop at will. The following European countries are smaller than Texas. 

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Andorra, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Switzerland, Vatican City, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Romania are all smaller than Texas.

Radical Muslims and those sympathetic to Radical Muslims did not just arrive in Belgium last year. For decades, going back to the 1980’s, Belgium has seen people in these groups constantly grow. By some estimates, there is so much empathy for radical Islam in Belgium that, Belgium has supplied the highest per capita number of fighters to Syria of any European nation –between 350 and 550, out of a total population of 11 million that includes fewer than half a million Muslims.

Belgium suffered waves of terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s linked to unrest in the Middle East. “There is a very long history of the connection between Belgium and France in the realm of terrorism,” said Rik Coolsaet, an expert on terrorism at the University of Ghent[1].
In the first half of the last decade, men from Belgium made their way to Iraq. So too did Muriel Degauque, a convert from Charleroi, who died in 2005 while bombing a US convoy in Iraq, becoming the first European woman to launch a suicide attack.

Others travelled to Afghanistan. In 2008, a network sending young Belgian Muslims to al-Qaida training camps was broken up. Several returned with the intention of committing attacks at home, prosecutors claimed.
Live Brussels explosions: multiple casualties after airport and metro attacks – live
The violent aftermath of the Arab spring provided a new motivation and new opportunities for extremists all over Europe, and militancy in Belgium itself was already broadening and deepening. One well-known, ostensibly non-violent, group of activists – Sharia4Belgium – that was responsible for a stream of aggressive hate-speech and alleged recruitment was eventually broken up.

Molenbeek, an area of 90,000 in the capital where some neighborhoods are up to 80% Muslim, is seen by many as a particular problem. “In parts of Brussels, there are areas on which the police have little grip, very segregated areas that don’t feel they’re a part of the Belgian state,” said Edwin Bakker, a Dutch analyst.

Note that all of these situations existed long before the EU refugee crisis.

Politicians and demagogues in these United States will not speak with a voice of reason. Instead, they will play on our fears and talk about sealing our border with Mexico, without every explaining what ‘sealing the border’ even means. They will talk about the ability of terrorists entering the United States by coming across the Mexican border, without explaining why terrorists could not enter the United States from Canada. True concern for protecting us from terrorism would include all borders. 

True concern about terrorism would address the millions of containers that pass through our ports every day and that if even one of those containers contains a nuclear or chemical bomb, we are at extreme risk.

If the issue is not about terror, what is it about? Fascists use whatever means necessary to convince us to blame dark skinned people, people of different faiths, people of a different culture for everything that is wrong in our lives. 

The rich and powerful support this nonsense so that they can continue to take as much money away from the workers. The rich and powerful support this nonsense so that their banks and Wall Street brokers can continue to gamble with our money with the certain knowledge that if they bet and win – they keep the profits and if they bet and lose, tax dollars will cover their losses. Blaming those that are different is almost the biggest fraud they commit. 

The biggest fraud is the belief that we choose our leaders in America. Really? Are you happy with the ‘choices’ that the rich and powerful give to us in the upcoming election? How many times have you wished for a good and honest candidate? No, the rich and powerful determine who we can elect.

In magic, this is called a forced card. You convince people that they are choosing a card, but you stack the deck in a way that they can only choose what you want them to choose.

[1] The Guardian, November 16, 2015