What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Forgetting as a political factor

I have just bumped into this video. Just watch it first, and then I will comment on it below.

So the voice over the video says "there has not been a single internationally planned terrorist attack in Germany." The video is meant to carry an otherwise important message. We are no fans of Big Brother, right? But the argument that is supposed to make the case against BB stronger, that there has not been an internationally planned terrorist attack in Germany, is ignorant to absurdity. What would the creators of the clip need to be reminded of, from the 1972 Munich Olympics to the Sauerland cell? By the way, although the definition of "an internationally planned terrorist attack in Germany" it does not fit, but the Hamburg cell's role in the 9/11 attacks perhaps also deserves attention in this context.

I recently mocked a Foreign Policy Magazine editor's claim that the U.S. might easily just tolerate Hamed Karzai's killing by the Taliban, because "the American people's memories of 9/11 are fading." Here, in the above video, forgetting does seem to manifest in a direct, empirically verifiable way. The relevance of this is of course not at all restricted to Germany. But it does bring up memories in me of the times I spent as an exchange student, when I used to go to some ('light-ish') Middle Eastern Studies classes together with French and German students, and I still remember my own intellectually paralysed position in a debate in which they seriously pointed out to me that militants do not target France and Germany, only the U.S. and Israel, and those other states the policies of which they despise.
In Europe, who would forget which country attacked one's own in the past? But wars/incidents of violence amongst the people are just not the same thing. To a degree, that is stating the obvious, of course. I cannot quite explain this difference in clear-cut terms for now, but perhaps it was worth noting.

No comments: