Sunday, May 02, 2004

Mayday in Saudi Arabia

As I've long thought was bound to happen, low-production value terrorism by GenX Saudi men is starting to merge with the mainstream, Western anti-globalisation movement. In saying this, I emphasise starting to - the broader anti-globalisation movement (whose general aims I support wholeheartedly, BTW) has never embraced (not advocated, AFAIK) murder as a political means to an end.

The main parallels I see between the Yanbu Mayday attack and a typical item of direct action by anti-globo's are its (i) autochthony (= not being lead by boomers, with their own agendas*) and (ii) its street theatricality (dragging a dead body behind the getaway car is less a D-grade copy of what was happening in Fallujah two weeks ago, and more a conscious - and acutely secular - stylisation of the moment, albeit in a form that could be seen as as tantamount to suicide, a usual corollary of high-production value terrorism).

Certainly, the grievances of your typical, tertiary educated GenX Saudi man are not a long way removed from my own. Unemployment tops the list, followed by a more generalised number of malaises, but all ultimately flowing from a fuckwitted, boomer-centric government and its religious hangers-on.

Similarity in point: Crown Prince Abdullah, speaking after the Yanbu attack, said on Saudi state-run television that "Zionists" are behind terrorist attacks in his country.
Good one - but not to be outdone, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer can be almost just as comical, as on this morning's "Sunday" program:

Look, we say that Australians should not visit Saudi Arabia on non-essential business. Because of the risk of terrorism. Our travel warnings are very clear.

But on the other hand, you know what Australians are like. They - as they were saying at the time of Gallipoli, well, they're not going to be pushed around by terrorists and told what to do by terrorists.

I think many of us sort of have that feeling very much in our bones. And so you know, a lot of Australians still work there, despite the travel warnings.

Not that Foreign Minister Downer has any of that forged-at-Gallipoli mettle actually in himself, mind. When it comes to what the Australian government is going to do, if anything, about the war-crimes committed in Iraq by US army-reservists and UK soldiers, he ducks and parries as follows:

LAURIE OAKES: Have you done anything about it, or has the Prime Minister got on the phone to George Bush and Tony Blair, as he does over other issues?

ALEXANDER DOWNER: Well, I don't think there's any need for us to do anything about it. I certainly reflected on that, but there's no need for us to do anything about it. The British and the American ...


ALEXANDER DOWNER: ... leadership are - well, they're sufficiently appalled, and they obviously would be fully aware of the views not only of Australia but of the rest of the world. I've seen and heard what both the British and American governments have said, and they've rightly condemned this disgraceful behaviour.

I don't think there's anything much more we can do.

Yes, you read it correctly: that the US and UK leaderships are "sufficiently appalled" by the torture is enough - no one actually in a position of chain-of-command responsibility (= baby boomer) needs to be caught up in any of it.

* I'm assuming that boomers (= the al Qaida top brass) were not behind this one.

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