During the month of Ramzan, jihad portals experience an uptick in traffic. Individuals mix Ramzan greetings with political diatribe. Interestingly enough, I am not seeing the usual appeal for funds. Perhaps these communities are now awash with the loot of war. However, a few days ago a major jihad portal released the English version of a message from a man who I track for both ideology and linguistic patterns. With only mild curiosity — because I suffer fatigue within the IB (intellectual battlespace) — I stashed the latest into a folder, and also sent it along to a few interested folks who happily Tweeted it to their own Twittledee and Twittledum.
For the record, ‘A message to the mujahideen and the Muslim ummah in the month of Ramzan’ is all about euphoria. A sense of intense self-confidence and exuberance is a hallmark of the writer. The aforementioned press release is written by Abu Bakr al Husayni al Qurashi al Baghdadi. The titular lineage alone is rich with sentiment and finds its place in hadith: “Know your genealogies, and you will bind together your bonds of kinship.” The man has also given himself positional authority as Amirul-Mu’minin. As always, beware the man who places the laurel upon his own head. These are the acts of Caesars, men who made their way to the top of the heap to later find themselves assassinated, poisoned and dispatched by their closest companions. Augustus, of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, managed to rule for over four decades but there were others, such as Pertinax, who ruled for only three months. This is a slightly better record than that held by Aemilian — he was assassinated by his own troops after two months. They figured Valerian could do a better job.
Moving into the world of video postings, I note the same euphoria over the announcement of a saddleback Caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq. Watching about 10 minutes of the parading of the troops with long lines of tanks, missiles (where did they get them?), armoured personnel carriers and sirens and horns blaring made me want to serve up the popcorn. Speaking of popcorn, the chatter is that this great new venture includes creating human popcorn. When the ideological oil is heated up enough to give the deranged the courage to ‘pop’ they will take their surgically implanted bombs to the street. Pop! A few poor ladies examining the cucumbers in the market will also explode. Throw in the kiddies too. Naturally, dirty deeds require proper wording to speed the brainwashing along. These newly anointed pieces of popcorn have had ‘honour surgeries’. You cannot make this stuff up — I wish it were just science fiction. The aforementioned video was posted on the first day of July and three days later had close to 50,000 views. I can only hope that 99 percent of the views were people like me, and not 15-year-old boys glued to their computers who are pining away for the Caliphate.
There is the usual jab at the Jews in the latest euphoric videos. Sure. I understand. Really, I do. The rusty keys to the homes of the Palestinians kicked off their land still jingle in the pockets of their grandchildren. This grudge match is forever. But it is also history, just like the partition of India and the creation of two horns known as East and West Pakistan. That was quite a bloodbath too. History. Just like the later dust-up that created Bangladesh and a forgotten class of prisoners of war (POWs) on both sides. They still bear the brunt of their military service. History. But the catcalling for a Muslim military of 50 million souls to pounce on Israel is (I hope) the stuff of fantasy. The region can ill afford to be engulfed in World War M but I fear it is coming. At times we do not recognise a threat when it is incremental in nature. We only really notice it when Mosul falls and the people flee.
Subtle signs of the euphoria are washing across borders and into Turkey. I just sent an image to a friend of PM Erdogan. I fired off a bit of a warning shot. T-shirts proclaiming the Caliphate are being sold in a store in a working class neighbourhood. It is a small thing but a spark can start a fire. Turkey needs to safeguard her stability and the safety of her citizens from the aspirations of men such as al Baghdadi.
There is a video series about the coming Caliphate and the rise of the mujahideen. Eschatological considerations seek to heighten passions. The great gathering of an international Muslim army is discussed with al Ghouta, Syria pinpointed as the location for an end-of-days battle. This gathering place will be an earthen casket for many souls. The videographer seems to relish that thought. Excitation at the prospect of slaughter? He needs his head examined.
My mind is taken back to childhood and an initial reading of the Book of Revelation. I was perhaps eight years of age. The imagery was vivid. The horror unfolded, boggled my mind and I worried about accepting the “mark of the beast” and going to hell. Being an adult now, I have greater concerns like keeping a job, paying the bills and making sure that my aging parents are not neglected. The rider on a pale horse is a distant memory. For this day and all future days my greatest hope is to live in peace.
Abu Bakr al Baghdadi? We do not yet know how he will continue to carve out his place in modern history. He has my attention, no doubt about it. However, my heart lies elsewhere. It finds rest in a pasture and a special place called the US. My soul is safe here. A lamb cannot live with a lion. Many are the lambs that have already been taken in the name of a dream, a longing for that return to the past, to a distant place called Caliphate.