Holy lands and Jerusalems have multiplied over millennia and the urge to go out conquer and subject them has not diminished.
This is the ‘appartement de repli’ (safe house) of a group of terrorists linked to the Paris attacks besieged on November the 18th by a police force of over one hundred.
A large scale picture, taken at night, of a corner house of Rue du Corbillon and Rue de la République in Saint-Denis, Paris metropolitan area, published in the Washington Post (printed edition and on their web-site).
Because alleged terrorists who might relate to the horrendous attacks in Paris on friday the 13th of November had hidden themselves in this building so a spokesman for the French justice system told the press after a siege of over one hour, starting at four o’clock in the morning.
Would a picture of such a downtrodden sad housing facade ever have reached the front pages of the world press if it was not for this spectacular incident? It would not.
We see four floors of the facade of the dilapidated house with flood lights directed at it. Some windows have lights on, others are dark. on the third visible floor the the last window at the right is dark and the window panes are gone, the next one has some lights on showing us a ravage with what seems to be of a smashed ceiling. The outer walls around these two windows are pocked by the impact of bullets or other projectiles.
What happened inside? What we are told is – as mostly in such cases – partial and contradictory (there was mentioning in an official statement of a woman with a bomb-belt that had exploded herself, which was later retracted by the same source). (1)
We know, even can hear and see it on amateur videos posted on Youtube, that not less than 5000 rounds of shots were fired. How many by the assailed persons in the building and how many by the police, we do not know. The traces left on the wall show more than just bullets from a pistol.
How come that these terrorists sought refuge in such a non-strategic bastion, as this corner house? Four satellite dishes can be counted in the picture, maybe more that fell down during the exchange of fire explosives. Which satellite they were pointed at, to which stations they tuned? Are houses with such a disk inhabited by people who have direct linkages to regions of the world that can not be accessed by regular cable radio & television systems? Living ‘here’ physically and living ‘there’ electronically at the same time.
Are we not all doing that in our saturated electronic environment by means of the internet? One does perceive sometimes city areas where such satellite dishes have grown into a forest of information reflectors, also indicating a neighbourhood with many recent migrants. Is that due to the lack of normal public access to television stations from home countries of big part of the (former migrant) population? We may need to reconsider the content management of our public television networks, to give more space to those with a migrant background, instead of raging about “needed integration.” That would be a deep structural change needed in our society, to make these satellite-dish forests redundant. When we non-migrant integrate more that would send a positive message.
We see several windows open, some show parts of a staircase. Is it to air the corridors from battle gasses pumped in?
Imagine the fear of the neighbours, who most probably had no knowledge of one of the apartments used as a safe-house for terrorists. On what information did the police act? Consider the bad chance of a mistake made in intelligence gathering.
Now what kind of terrorists are this who in their flight end up in such an apartment block? Is that proof of a high-level international network? It seems all very clumsy to me. Is this clumsiness, this lack of professional conspiracy to commit violence part of a larger strategy? (2)
I mean that someone clever has come to the insight that building a whole network – even by using a system of dispersed secret cells who do not know about each other – is an outdated concept. It is sufficient to pass on a general call to commit violent acts on non precise targets at no precise moments in time. Basing this method on the fact that it is not to difficult to get access to weapons and explosives, that some explosives can even be produced in a home laboratory or acquired indirectly through contacts within the building or mining industry (dynamite or similar type of explosives).
It may well be the case and that explains the great fear that did strike the conglomerate of state security systems. This combination of destructive acts based on a willingness for self-destruction do not fit the routines, strategies and tactics of state security organisations, of regular police control and all that comes with it.
A Washington Post article of November the 21. quotes an anti-terrorism specialist who sees it different:
“For such an attack, involving so many people, it must have been decided near the highest level,” said Claude Moniquet, a former French intelligence official who heads the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center. The Islamic State’s military operation, whose senior leaders include numerous former military officials from Iraq, “would never let someone below them direct a strategic operation.”
It is a known fact that officials tend to see all that what is a threat to the reigning system as a mirror image of the system they are part of, the system they believe in. Hence this ‘top down vision’ of Claude Moniquet. He sees a vertical line of command directly from ISIS in Syria. This analysis also supports the ‘revenge aerial bombardments’ that are presented to us as ‘legal self-defence’ targets (in spite of the fact that according to international law and the ‘charter’ (chapter 7) of the United Nations these bombings are not-legal).
I do not claim that my view of the danger of the unpredictability of ‘grass root terrorism’ is correct in this particular case, but the opposite can not be proven either. The amateur and clumsiness aspect can be supported by the cases of the shooting on French army personal and Jewish civilians in Toulouse and Montauban in 2012 (by Mohammed Merah) and the attacks on the Jewish Historical Museum in Brussels in 2014 (by Mehdi Nemmouche), remain open to multiple interpretations and ambiguity, ranging from ‘jihadism’ and ‘anti-semitism’ to ‘tribalism’ and ‘insanity’.
Consider also an article in Le Monde about the same siege in Saint Denis of November 18., concluding:
“…rudimentary logistics with neither a safe-house nor a support provider: one seems here to be far away from classical urban warfare.” (2)
The walls of this apartment building must have heard enough during the few days or hours when this group of terrorists stayed there. (We may say that they were not longer ‘alleged terrorists’, as they did fire back to the police, there was an explosion, though we can not know for sure (yet) what they had done before or were really planning to do). A justice spokesman has told the press an act on Charles de Gaulle Airport was on their agenda.
What else could these walls tell? What about the regular lives of all those living around there? What about the person who let these terrorist group in, what did he/she know? This last thing we might get to know soon. It always takes several days more than the ‘latest news’ to be sufficiently informed on such matters.
There is a pattern in the social strata of this new generation of terrorists. This means that there is also a pattern in the habitat where these people – who so easily sacrifice the lives of others and their own – live. When I have understood it well the places where they were born, lived and died are identical in social status. (3) In the case of the ‘safe-house’ of Saint Denis that house failed its function utterly.
What sadness to consider while at the same time being abhorred by the savage nature of the terrorist attacks related to this group.
I focus now on this black hole where was once a window, in the bullet puckered and cracked wall. Imagine the last thoughts of those been killed in this battle. Was there anything left of ‘the cause’ for which they had chosen to fight? Or had their choice to put their own life at risk, taken over as ‘a cause’ in itself? These questions remain open.
There is failure in understanding these wasted lives. It all ends in the black hole of what once was a window on the world from a house, in a street, in the Parisian suburb Saint Denis, however inglorious this direct view, there was a wide world of other opportunities beyond, which have now all vanished in this black hole.
(1) Trois terroristes sont morts dans l’assaut. Un homme (initialement présenté comme une femme), retranché dans l’appartement, qui a activé son gilet explosif, et un autre, touché par des projectiles et des grenades, dont les analyses ont ensuite conclu qu’il s’agissait d’Abdelhamid Abaaoud, instigateur présumé des attaques du 13 novembre. Après deux morts annoncées, les fragments d’un troisième corps, celui d’une femme, a été découvert dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi. (three terrorists died in the assault. One man (initially presented as a woman), that hat withdrawn into the apartment, had triggered his bomb-vest, and another hit by projectiles and grenades, of whom analysis have concluded to be Abdelhamid Abaaoud, presumed instigator of the attacks of November the 13th. After these two deaths had been announced a third corpse, that of a woman, has been found in the night of thursday to friday.)
More sensational press agencies and news channels did make up their fantasy of a young ‘kamikaze woman’ like in the Daily Mirror with this long summing up header:
EXCLUSIVE: Extraordinary selfie of terror mastermind’s cousin shows girl blown up in Saint-Denis siege who never read the Koran, liked to drink and smoke and had a reputation for having lots of boyfriends
- Hasna Ait Boulahcen, 26, was killed by a suicide bomber during siege
- Screamed ‘Help me!’ before blast in which her head flew through window
- She was described by friends as an ‘extrovert’, and booze-loving party girl
- Neighbour said she smoked and ‘went around with lots of different guys’
- Her nickname was ‘The Cowgirl’ as she liked to wear big cowboy hats
(Many newspaper are still similar fantasy stories without correcting their the mistake )
(2) Le Monde had an article on this aspect of the Saint Denis siege ending with this conclusion:
Une logistique rudimentaire, sans appartement de repli, ni équipes en support : on paraît loin d’une guérilla urbaine classique.(rudimentary logistics with neither a safe-house nor a support provider: one seems here to be far away from classical urban warfare).
(3) See my images & notes on other similar examples:
ARMAND: “…spaced out als ik”
uit een liedje “Ben ik te min…” ooit gelanceerd door Philips/Fontana records in Eindhoven (die zijn pleidooi voor softdrugs niet waardeerde)
Zijn final high en mijn eerbetoon voor een dwarszinger (mijn softdrugs liggen meer in het bereik van franse kaas en japanse sake, maar ieder het zijne, zolang er maar niet onder mijn raam op een hashterras gehinnikt wordt door de stoonde italianen; ik vind dat hash stinkt, een ander weer kan niet tegen de geur van een uitgelopen frans kaasje).
Dan nog even een check van mijn bronnen… de strofe die ik hier aanhaal komt van een Youtube filmpje met een re-take in 2005 van zijn eerst hit uit 1967 :ben ik te min…”, waarbij dit deel van de oorspronkelijke tekst gewijzigd is, in plaats van
“Je bent nu net zo idealistisch als ik maar, hoe wil je het in godsnaam anders gaan doen?”
“Je bent net zo spaced out als ik en hoe wil je dat in godsnaam anders dan?”
‘spaced out’ is een weinig vaststaand begrip:
– “dazed or stupefied by or as if by a narcotic substance : high” of
– “of very strange character : weird”
The Urban Dictionary has this odd statement:
– “1) Absentmindedness in the form of a personality trait.
Note 1: People who are spaced out are usually considered to be stupid by their peers, although often these people are actually very smart.
– Note 2: Incorrect usage of this term has been applied to people on drugs. There are terms for that, so do not to confuse them with “spaced out.”
Cambridge dictonaries on-line:
– “Someone who is spaced out is not completely conscious of what is happening, often because of taking drugs or needing to sleep”
Dus we wen niet echt wat Armand bezielde in 2005, wel dat hij na zijn eerste hit bij Fontana/Philips van label veranderde om te kunnen zingen wat hij wilde en uiteindelijk zijn eigen platen ging produceren….
Hij begon als en bleef een protestzanger, heel zijn leven.. begin dit jaar nog trok hij naar het bezette Maagdenhuis, laat ik dit fraaie statement citeren van een VPRO uitzending/web pagina uit juni dit jaar:
“Het werd godverdomme weer eens tijd, zeg”, zegt hij. “Sinds de bezetting van ’69 hebben we genoegen genomen met repressieve tolerantie. Het is een vruchtbare strategie gebleken van de bestuurders: net doen of je meebeweegt, maar stukje bij beetje de kraan steeds verder dicht draaien. Het heeft ons gemaakt tot wat we nu zijn: een stelletje bange zeikerds. Juist daarom was het zo fantastisch om te zien dat de studenten eindelijk durfden. En toch zag je ook dat ze hartstikke bang waren. Ze durfden niet eens te roken binnen. Tegen mij zeiden ze het ook: je moet buiten blowen. Ik heb gezegd: no blow, no show.”
2015: Anders dan in 1967 wordt hij niet meer door Philips gelanceerd, maar door zichzelf in een final ‘space-out’.
Wie zijn jongste foto’s van zijn te vroege oude dag bekijkt ontkomt niet aan het zilvergrijs laten uitgroeien vanaf zijn kruin van de henna waarmee hij decennia lang zijn lange haren verfde… deze groeiende vergrijzing was als een voorbereiding op een ander bestaan, in ‘outer space’.
Nederland vocht al eens een oorlog tegen moslim-opstandelingen in den Oost…. tijdens de bloedige Atjeh-oorlogen op het einde van de 19e tot aan het begin van de 20e eeuw. Echter, bij De Volkskrant ontbreekt – zoals zo vaak – ieder historisch besef en zij legt haar lezers middels een enkel druk op een web-site knopje de vraag voor of Nederland ditmaal ook weer opstandige moslims dient te bombarderen.
Enkel al het stellen van de vraag binnen een dagenlange buiten-proportionele overreactie van de media op de – overigens gruwelijke – moordaanslag in Parijs. Ik noem het reduceren tot een simpele Ja/Nee vraag over het al dan gewenst zijn van een een oorlogshandeling buiten enig mandaat van de Verenigde Naties, niets meer en minder dan OORLOGSHETZERIJ.
Was Van Heutsz ooit niet onze ‘nationale held’? Hoe lang duurde het totdat Provo symbolisch een stukje van zijn monument in Amsterdam Zuid opblies?
Hoe lang duurde het dat op de Oosterbegraafplaats in Amsterdam de praaltombe van Van Heutsz die direct bij de uitgang van de Aula aldaar geplaatst was, verwijderd werd? Langzamerhand werden wij ons bewust van ons kwalijk koloniaal verleden.
En nu opnieuw in gevechtstuniek, niet met snelvuurgeweren en kanonnen maar dan hoog boven bewoonde gebieden, niet meer met de laarzen in het veld, gebieden die zo tot slachtveld gemaakt worden met bommen en raketten uit vliegtuigen? Wie worden er geraakt? Wat wordt er kapot gemaakt in Syrië? Sinds wanneer los je een groot en complex langlopend conflict op met luchtbombardementen?
Heeft zich iemand bij die krant zich rekenschap gegeven van hoe kwalijk deze mini-enquete is?
Moesten ooit niet die woeste en bloedzuchtige Atjehers een kopje kleiner gemaakt worden. Viel die koloniale oorlog niet onder de leuze “Daar werd iets groots verricht”?
Gaan wij dat nu weer in het ietsje minder Verre oosten, in het Midden Oosten herhalen?
Als antwoord hier een bericht dat gisteren op Twitter circuleerde van een inwoner van wat nu het belangrijkste bombardementsdoelwit is.
This is just one of many possible examples about non-intended victims of “just warfare dated November the 6th 2015:”
“Air strikes by Russian warplanes on the Syrian city of Raqqa, which is controlled by the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria militant group, killed 42 people earlier this week, including 27 civilians, monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.”
“A moment of silence for Paris attack victims echoes around the world”
Header of Mashable.com did get 667 shares on Facebook…. today
NOT EVEN SECONDS OF SILENCE OVER RAQQA.
“A moment of silence for Paris attack victims echoes around the world”
Header of Mashable.com 667 shares on Facebook…. today
we should be inquisitive always about aerial bombardments, there is hardly such thing as a pin pointed correct targeting without any collateral damage or victims… for a collateral victim of a so called ‘justified’ aerial attack it does not make any difference if the bomb was launched by the Assad troops, one of the opposing fractions, ISIS, the French. the Brit of the USA air force. The battlefield almost never is a separate spatial entity… it is part of human habitat. And… even when an ISIS stronghold has been hit, what about people around it, maybe family, kids, elderly… and in the end, when one is serious about a humanitarian stance, even the lives of ISIS soldiers do count…
This is just one of many possible examples about non-intended victims of “just warfare dated November the 6th 2015:”
Air strikes by Russian warplanes on the Syrian city of Raqqa, which is controlled by the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria militant group, killed 42 people earlier this week, including 27 civilians, monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.
Or just get aware of the consequences of aerial bombardment by reading one of the many campaigns by the United Nations against the use of high explosives in or near populated areas:
Explosive weapons in populated areas A total of 41,847 people were reported killed or injured by explosive weapons during 2014 When explosive weapons were used in populated areas 92% of the casualties were civilians From Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya to Palestine, Syria to Ukraine and elsewhere, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is a major cause of civilian deaths, injuries and displacement.
ALJAZEERA of 17/11/2015 had this comment on the aerial bombing of Raqqa, showing how problematic aerial bombing always is. Locals need to fear all those who claim to be fighting there for the ‘right cause’:
‘Raqqa is devastated’ The Syrian activist in Raqqa said that in the past few days Russian air strikes had caused the most destruction. “Last week Russian air strikes destroyed one of the main bridges in the city in addition to the national hospital. Most hospitals in the city have been destroyed in Raqqa,” he said. “Russian air strikes have resulted in so much destruction. If these countries want to bomb the heartland of ISIL, they could have, but they still have not targeted the group’s most important bases. “This is what we do not understand. The targets bombed by French warplanes were mostly abandoned by ISIL fighters. French jets pound ISIL targets in Raqqa “The US, Russia and France are all bombing Syria. How many more countries want to bomb us? “Raqqa is devastated. Raqqa has endured the unbearable and we live in fear under ISIL’s dictatorship. “A lot of people fled the the city. In fact, most refugees heading to Europe are from Raqqa. That is how desperate they are to leave here. People are fed up here and just want to live normal lives. “Our lives are all under a threat. ISIL controls every aspect of our lives and we are not allowed to expose the truth.” Separately, the anti-ISIL group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered said on Sunday that overnight air strikes hit a stadium, a museum, several clinics, a hospital and a governmental building. The group told Al Jazeera that no civilians were hurt or injured in any of the latest French air strikes. “Of course we do not like to see people afraid of air strikes and explosions, but we support any actions that will take ISIL out of Raqqa,” the group said on its Twitter account. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said activists reported hearing explosions in Raqqa resulting from air strikes. The activists’ network said no civilian death toll has been recorded due to the strikes.
EIFFEL-TOWER & TRI-COLORE CAN BE NO SYMBOLS OF PEACE
I see popping up on Facebook and other social media this emotionalisation and sentimentalisation of a gruesome act, with a symbolism (the Eiffel-tower made the centre of the ‘peace symbol’) that prooves that those who make such a – well intended – gesture, understand neither the actual nor the historical meaning of the symbols they use.
The Eiffeltower was made as a commemoration of the ‘Centenaire of the French Revolution’ combined with a World Fair in Paris. It stood for the colonial and imperial France of that time with it’s scramble for colonies in Asia and Africa. It is anything but a symbol of peace.
Using this symbol seems also to deny the reality that the French governments (both Sarkozy and Hollande) that engaged in recent conflicts from Libya tot Syria and in African countries that belong to it’s old colonial empire, has seen no mass peace protests in the streets from the population against them, calling for other means than just advanced weapon systems to help solving conflicts. Also it seems to me that people using this new combined symbol are not aware of the aggressive weapon export role of France, showcasing their newest products on the military intervention battlefields of Africa and the Middle East (Dassault selling a whole bunch of Rafale fighter jets to Qatar recently, or Egypt buyingFrench Mistral helicopter-deck warships).
The Eiffel-tower stands both for Paris and for France as a symbol… for France as a state, France as a world-power, not for France as a nation of peace, or France as a “peace-maker”, or the French nation as a nation of victims… also just the French tri-colore as a symbolic gesture after the murderous attack, fails as well to have a critical differentiation between citizens and “their” government.