Friday, November 10, 2006

The Filth Which is al-Qaeda

Every generational enemy has its own brand of propaganda: its characteristic rhetoric, iconic images, slogans, and phrases meant to inspire awe and fear. Sometimes this propaganda itself rises to a kind of greatness and outlives the regime which inspired it. Think of Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will," or Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin." There is nothing grand, however, in the propaganda of al-Qaeda. On the contrary, it seems to reflect a particularly repulsive energy stirring at the bottom of global capitalism. It is a mixture of juvenile sarcasm and hyperbolic romance. It is a smirking kind of evil, deliberate in its universal disregard for human life, hinting at the depths of its own self-hatred, offering its own inflated martyrdom as the salve for the world's suffering masses. Take a look at today's press release from al-Qaeda in Iraq and you'll see what I mean. The way that al-Qaeda deliberately, smugly inserts itself into American political discourse is as predictable as it is repellent. What ought to be a celebration for Americans, a democratic election in which voters went to the polls to elect their chosen representatives, is twisted by al-Qaeda into signifying a victory for their own repugnant brand of evil. Their comments are intended to drive Americans apart, to thwart our collective purpose, to sow the seeds of political and social dysfunction. Knowing our weaknesses as a nation, they move to exploit them, and they do so with brazen confidence that they will succeed. Yes, tomorrow, we will see al-Qaeda's statements repeated endlessly in the conservative media and the conclusion will be as always to demonize the majority of Americans who stand firmly against the war in Iraq. But we don't have to stand for it. We don't have to listen to these agents of lies and calumny. On Tuesday Americans came together to proudly uphold our democratic traditions. That's something we should all be proud of. And al-Qaeda has nothing to do with it.

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