Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Terrorism Category
From Christchurch to the White House

From Christchurch to the White House

  • March 15, 2019
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The disgusting murders of 49 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch  are further evidence of a growing threat of far-right extremism that has rarely received the same level of media and political attention as its jihadist counterpart.

It’s become a cliché in far-right and conservative circles to claim that ‘Islam is not a race’, that Islamophobia is a ‘fiction’, and that hostility towards Muslims may even have some kind  of spurious legitimacy.   At best these arguments are a product of confusion and ignorance, and at worst a deliberate obfuscation intended to avoid accusations of racism and provide...

Shamima Begum and the Quality of Mercy

Shamima Begum and the Quality of Mercy

  • February 17, 2019
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What is mercy?   The Oxford Dictionary defines it as ‘ compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.’  This definition highlights the essential component of mercy, which is forbearance and leniency from a position of power and authority.

This concept is well-established in various religious traditions.  The Quran declares:...

Peter Kosminsky’s Islamic State

  • August 22, 2017
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The violence that we call terrorism has always been surrounded by a curious paradox. On the one hand virtually every terrorist emergency in history has declared terrorism to be a unique threat to society,  yet the societies under threat are generally not encouraged and are even actively discouraged from thinking about what terrorism is,...

History, Peace, and Beauty: On Barcelona’s Ramblas

  • August 18, 2017
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Of all the massacres perpetrated in Europe in the name of Islamic State, yesterday”s slaughter in the Ramblas has a particular personal resonance for me. I spent nine years in Barcelona, living near the Ramblas for part of that time. Even when I moved further away from downtown Barcelona, hardly a week went by in...

The Terror Election

  • June 04, 2017
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From a strategic point of view terrorism has a dismal predictability.  Whatever its context or motivation its central objectives are usually the same: a) to provoke a militarily more powerful opponent into an overreaction that will strain its opponent’s resources and draw it into a debilitating confrontation from which the terrorist hopes to gain...

Murder in Westminster

  • March 23, 2017
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So far nothing is known about the murderer who thought it would be a good idea to mow down a group of pedestrians and cyclists on Westminster Bridge and assault parliament with a kitchen knife yesterday.   The murderer is dead, having completed his homicidal spree with an act of suicide-by-cop that was presumably...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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