Two people take 14 lives in California.
Fourteen beautiful people: A woman from Iran, another woman whose family fled Vietnam, a Mexican man. They slaughter the diversity that makes America great. These victims did community service and cared for others.
And what happens? The murderers almost become the victims in the narrative.
No one protests against the extremism and hatred the perpetrators had for others. No one is particularly angry at them. People are outraged at gun laws.
Newspapers run editorials about guns.
A newspaper bashes politicians for offering prayers. US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes an outrageously discriminatory remark about Muslim immigrants, and suddenly he is accused of being the reason that “jihadists demonize the US.” There is more anger about climate change and the rise of Marine Le Pen’s right-wing Front Nationale in France than there is hatred for the perpetrators and ideology behind the Paris attacks.
This is ‘terrorist privilege’. It is related to the concept of white privilege, the idea that by being born white in the West one has an automatic privilege over minorities. But terrorist privilege is the ultimate privilege. It is the privilege to slaughter people of all faiths all over the world and get away with it. It is the privilege of being allowed to choose who lives and who dies. It is the privilege of never being hated and forced to take responsibility, but rather be provided with a laundry list of excuses for one’s actions.
Terrorism is excused as being caused by people being “alienated,” as numerous French commentators claimed after the Paris massacre. Michael Walzer claimed that even daring to fight Islamic State (ISIS or IS) would “produce more ISIS fighters.”
The first privilege of a terrorist is to be labeled a “militant.” After 9/11 numerous media outlets decided that the word “terrorist” was racist and biased and changed the description of those perpetrating mass murder based on Islamist religious hatred as “militants.” If you murder someone and shout “God is great” as you do it, you get to be a “militant,” your action transformed from murder to legitimate military act in the blink of an eye.
Next, the terrorist murderer receives the privilege of excuses. Unlike all other forms of hate crime, an army of excuses exists for Islamist hate crimes.
Following the San Bernardino shooting, the immediate reaction was to advocate harsher gun laws. From The New York Times
to The New Yorker
and New York Daily News
, guns were the real problem.
When KKK terrorists lynched people, on the other hand, their ideology of hate was the problem, not the availability of rope.
In France, following the Paris atrocity the major issue was that the “Paris attacks will help the radical Right.” The real problem with the murder of 130 people is that it might “fuel” the Right? Speaking of fuel, we also have to hear how Islamist terrorist privilege is “fueled” by Western policies. Notice how IS is never “fueled” by the policies of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, or Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki, but always by “the West.” C.J. Werleman, an Australian author, asks, “You can’t see how 10,000+ US bombs might radicalize Muslims?” How did US bombs “radicalize” converts like Jihadi John, who traveled to Iraq to murder and rape in 2014? How did they force IS to massacre Shi’ites and Yezidis, who had also lived in Iraq under the US bombs? The US didn’t even bomb Syria, Assad did – why isn’t Assad blamed for “radicalizing” IS? Terrorist privilege.
Then there are the claims that alienation “fuels” extremism. Poverty fuels radicalization, goes the narrative.
Terrorist murderers are never responsible for their actions, they are always portrayed as being “forced” to kill people.
Matt Carr at the Stop the War Coalition even claimed that the “jihadist movement that ultimately spawned [IS] is far closer to the spirit of internationalism and solidarity that drove the International Brigades...international jihad takes the form of solidarity with oppressed Muslims.”
So the KKK was a kind of socialist organization because it acted out of “solidarity with oppressed whites”? Germany’s Nazis also claimed “solidarity” with Nazi minorities in Czechoslovakia. Which oppressed Muslims? Islamic State is the one oppressing Muslims, slaughtering minorities and selling people into slavery.
It isn’t part of some international “workers rights” lobby – but terrorist privilege lets it pretend it is.
The privilege of murdering people based on “alienation” or “poverty” is reserved only for Islamist terrorists. The Yezidis being slaughtered by a bunch of Europeans who went to Syria and Iraq to kill people are alienated and oppressed.
They’re not perpetrating massacres in Paris. Whereas people who could afford a decent apartment and a car traveled to places like Somalia specifically to murder poor people.
This kind of “jihad” is primarily an aspect of wealth and privilege. These terrorist volunteers travel from their home country to Bosnia to Libya to Nigeria to Somalia to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and back again. The 148 people massacred at Garissa University in Kenya or by Boko Haram were poor, and murdered by the middle class and wealthy. Terrorist privilege is primarily an adventure of blood lust.
All we get is “nuance” and excuses.
“It is obvious that not all Muslims who have gone to fight in Iraq, Syria, Chechnya and other places have gone to these countries to obtain sexual slaves and throw homosexuals off balconies,” writes Carr. But why this unquestioned privilege to travel around the world to fight? Do any other people get to go to Africa, kill people and come back? Others who do this would be called war criminals and mercenaries, but for some reason if an Islamist terrorist does it, it’s OK.
As if these privileges were not enough, there is the privilege of having the media bash the victims as if they had it coming.
Linda Stasi at The Daily News wrote that “one of the victims” of the murderers in San Bernardino “was just as bigoted” as those who killed him. Stasi went so far as to write that “13 innocent people were killed” (emphasis added) in California; she had decided the 14th victim was not innocent.
Referring to the victim, she claimed he “spent his free time writing frightening, NRA-loving, hate-filled screeds on Facebook....
Make no mistake, as disgusting and deservedly dead as the hate-filled fanatical Muslim killers were, [Nicholas] Thalasinos [the victim] was also a hatefilled bigot.”
Welcome to 2015 America.
Imagine someone attempting to excuse the Nazi murder of Jews by digging through the scrapbook of one of the Jewish victims and claiming “well, he hated Germans – he was just as bigoted.”
Maybe so – but he didn’t have a gas chamber and 30,000 SS volunteers.
There is a fundamental difference between spraying bullets at a crowd of people and posting something nasty on Facebook.
IT IS hard to understand a world in which the victims of terrorist murderers are barely remembered, or worse, slandered and dismissed. It’s hard to understand the upside down world in which no matter how much unmitigated evil these murderers carry out, no matter how weak, poor and innocent the victims, the killers are always “militants.” How those who tie the hands of old ladies and rape children, and slit the throats of hundreds, as Islamic State did in Iraq, are almost seen as victims, the “alienated,” when it is they who ethnically cleanse minorities, who take the lives of thousands all over the world, who slaughter Shi’ite Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims, blow up ancient temples and Sufi shrines.
We are supposed to pretend that they suffer discrimination, when theirs is the worst form of hatred and discrimination ever visited upon the world? Just weeks after the French terrorist attacks, the plans for climate change talks dubbed COP 21 inspired more than 2,000 protest events around the world. Protesters clashed with police and with passion and anger raged against government inaction on climate change. Not one event with such passion and rage was held for the victims of terrorism. Not one person clashed with police anywhere for the Yezidis.
Maybe if someone could just claim IS was behind climate change...? But no, it’s the other way around, say the apologists. Science populist Bill Nye, for example, claimed climate change causes terrorism. Speaking of Syria, he claimed youth were driven off farms by drought. “Young people have gone to the big cities looking for work. There’s not enough work for everyone, so the disaffected youths...are more easily engaged and more easily recruited by terrorist organizations.” US President Barack Obama implied the same thing, saying, “When human beings are placed under strain...then bad things happen, and if you look at world history, whenever people are desperate...that’s when ideologies arise that are dangerous.”
What excuse then would Nye and Obama offer for the 30,000 IS volunteers who came from abroad, and especially the 5,000 who came from wealthy Western countries? And if global warming placing people under strain is the cause of terrorism, why aren’t Guatemalans or people from the vanishing Pacific islands massacring people in Paris and Beirut, but rather guys from France? If global warming caused terrorism we’d expect an equal number of Ahmadi Muslims to be joining IS – except Ahmadi Muslims don’t join IS, they are just victims. Yezidis don’t go to Kenya and massacre people in malls. Don’t they come from the same climate-affected area? Imagine a US textbook claiming that “climate change” forced poor whites to join the KKK and lynch people. Only for modern Islamist terrorism are such excuses made.
Tell us more about how global warming, Donald Trump’s racism, and poverty forced Syed Farook to murder people in California. He and his wife spent $30,000 on weapons. The average Peruvian wage is $269 a month. It would have taken a Peruvian 15 years saving all his money to afford Syed’s arsenal.
So why are all the terrorists middle class people like Syed, and not poverty stricken people from South America? Of the 1.2 billion people in the world living on less than $1 a day, how many become terrorists? How many of them have the privilege of traveling to Paris or Beirut or Baghdad or Kenya or Mumbai to massacre innocent people? STOP LY ING. Terrorism is the ultimate privilege. The wealthiest 1% of the world probably gives birth to more murderous terrorists than the other 99%. We need to talk about terrorist privilege. Our media and politicians always excuse it. They don’t care about victims. They let genocidal terrorist ideology, whether it is IS or al-Qaida or Boko Haram, dominate and play the victim, while the diverse peoples of the world are murdered, and whole civilizations, like the Christians of Syria, are wiped out.
Our commentators are always more outraged by the radical Right in their own societies than by the radical rightwing terrorist menace. Geoffrey Goldberg claimed that Trump “provides Jihadists ammunition for their campaign to demonize the US.” Max Boot argued that “Trump’s hateful rhetoric plays into ISIS hands.” Asher Schechter asserts, “Le Pen’s surge in France, giving ISIS the victory it was hoping for.”
No, no, no: Islamic State came first. The KKK came before the rise of black power.
The Nazis came before Curtis LeMay and the mass bombing of Dresden.
People have all this scorn for right-wing anti-Islamic views in the West, and they are right to hate Islamophobic views.
But IS, Boko Haram, al-Shabab and all these groups are also part of the radical Right, and they are also Islamophobic – lethally so. Who mass murders Shi’ites in mosques in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait? Trump? Le Pen? No. Who persecutes Ahmadis in Pakistan? The Taliban. The Islamist extremists.
Get it straight: Islamist terrorists are the ultimate radical right-wing ideology, a combination of Nazism, fascism and the KKK. Stop giving them the endless privilege of excuses for their behavior. Confront them everywhere they are, and confront rather than coddle their ideology of hate. The victims of terrorism represent the beautiful diversity of the world; stop providing those who would exterminate it the ability to do so.
Follow the author: @Sfrantzman