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(en) wsm.ie: Dundalk Stabbings Not Terrorism Despite Right-Wing Fear-Mongering
Fri, 12 Jan 2018 09:41:34 +0200
The murder of one and stabbings of two other people in Dundalk recently was a horrible
incident which was terrifying for those caught up in it and has left one family grieving
for a loved one. Carried out by someone who was clearly disturbed - why or what caused
that remains to be seen. ---- Some have reacted by letting anger or fear take over and
jumping to unproven conclusions about Islamist terrorism, even after the gardaí have
announced that they have investigated that possibility and found no link whatsoever.
Fascist and far-right elements are drooling at the opportunity to smear all refugees, all
Muslims, all people from the Middle East, and to a large extent all migrants. Social
media, and Twitter in particular, has been buzzing with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim
hysteria for the past 24 hours. ---- It is not surprising but it really is terrible that
so many people with a right-wing agenda have jumped on this and attempted to use a very
human tragedy to stir up hatred and differences.
Here is an example of this poison, as poured underneath a Solidarity Times article on the
‘Look at Paris ,or any major German city, that's where we're headed here, you are asleep,
I am sure you're a humanitarian but you're brainwashed and fast asleep to the coming
horror, inform yourself as to the reality of what's happening across Europe, but be aware,
you won't find anything on mainstream media, which I expect is your source of your liberal
We have to squash those attempts and build a society that respects and celebrates
difference and looks to build solidarity across all races, peoples and religions if we are
to create a world where terrorism does not exist.
This Article is a False Flag Operation
Meanwhile, others have stated that this is a 'false flag operation' which will be used to
justify PESCO, the EU military agreement which was recently passed to much justified
popular opprobrium. This is a different narrative to the right-wing xenophobic one which
says that the foreign hordes are rattling at the gates of Western civilisation.
A ‘false flag' is an elaborate hoax executed by the powerful in order to induce panic and
anger in the service of some hidden agenda. False flag operations have, in fact, occurred
throughout history. Operation Northwood - the U.S. plan to justify war with Cuba - and the
Gleiwitz Incident - the fake Nazi justification for invading Poland - are real and
The WSM doesn't harbour any illusions that our rulers, state or corporate, have our best
interests in mind, and we are well aware of their atrocities and chicanery throughout
history. Usually that harm is caused by the banal going through the motions of
institutions whose incentives are misaligned with human needs. However, those who are
absorbed in the political frame of conspiracy theories are apt to call just about any
event a ‘false flag', even though they are actually rare events, particularly if it
controverts their understanding of the world. The most potent example is right-wing
conspiracy charlatan Alex Jones.
Few are conscious charlatans like Jones, a multi-millionaire who will routinely declare
uncomfortable facts to be ‘false flags', for instance mass shootings which discredit his
proclamations about guns. But regardless, the mindset is infectious. Ironically, it panics
people in another direction, loosening our grip on reality, warning of shadowy malevolent
forces manipulating our reality behind the veil, something we are expected to accept based
on faith rather than fact, helped down the gullet with a spoonful of sensationalism.
It is a very apocalyptic and religious mindset, indeed the description above is could well
be a Christian depiction of how Satan distorts our world. Unsurprisingly, some sections of
the conspiracy theorist internet literally speak of Satanists plotting against us and
infiltrating the corridors of power. But we know well by now how religion can be used to
control people, or how we can end up diverted into passivity. Certainly the far-right, who
also tend to speak in the language of conspiracy theories, more easily gain people's
One way or the other, the onus is on the person claiming that the Dundalk stabbings, or
anything else, is a false flag operation to provide evidence. More bluntly, the person
asserting that surreptitious state functionaries and other powerful forces, presumably
Europe-wide, have worked in concert to plant an 18-year-old and attack three passersby
with a knife, somehow to build an atmosphere to pass PESCO, must actually prove that
somehow. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
As one reader commented under a Solidarity Times article:
‘Take just this point: imagine tomorrow, you and your multi-billionaire buddies want to
"destroy the West". With all that money in your hands will you seriously just send a
crazy[sic]dude with a knife or some home-made bomb? Don't you think there would be an
utterly well-trained army, spy agencies and weapons firepower?'
The people who think in this 'conspiracy theory' style are not stupid - indeed this author
would have to be stupid, having formerly been very invested in that viewpoint. It is a
seemingly plausible way of understanding the world, and on occasion it works. But it is
best not to jump to conclusions, even if they seem to scream out to us that they confirm
Shared Humanity or Descent into Barbarism?
It would be good to remember where this kind of blanket hatred towards 'outsiders' can get us.
In 2016 the WSM reported on a racist attack where 3 Muslims youths in Rathfarnham, Dublin,
including a 13-year-old, were attacked with metal bars and sent to hospital while the
assailants shouted 'fucking Muslims ... go back to your own country!'. A solidarity
demonstration was quickly organised and local residents as well as other concerned people
made it clear that the cowards didn't represent the majority view.
'There's no ambiguity about the racism of the attack (cf. Irish Times: 'apparent racist
attack' and ''racist' attack') and it was of the utmost severity. Among other things, the
attackers barked 'Why are you here? Go back to your country'. They told their victims they
knew where they lived: 'I know you live in[estate]. You all live in[estate]'. And they
made a direct threat on their lives: 'We'll see you again. Go back to your own country.
This is a warning, next time we'll kill you.[Fucking Muslims]'.
Witnesses shouted at the thugs to stop, and took photos of them and their car (a blue
Peugeot). After the attackers fled , witnesses came to the Ahmadzais to check if they were
OK. An ambulance was called and all 3 of them were taken to hospital. The two uncles -
having been beaten unconscious, including with iron bars - were transferred to the
There was another racist attack in June 2014 in Rathfarnham, where someone had attempted
to set on fire the house of a black migrant from Germany. The attack, understandably, made
him want to leave the country. A successful solidarity demonstration was also quickly
organised in response.
The truth is that the fascists and far-right are only a tiny minority in this country, but
their plan is to replicate themselves by making the majority as paranoid and spiteful as
they are. They often brigade internet comment sections and present themselves as the
'silent majority', but we can still nip their poison ivy in the bud.
We have a choice over what direction we go down as a society. We can give in to fear and
disgust, and our sense of being the 'in-crowd', blaming our problems on foreign looking
scapegoats and venting our frustration at them. Or we can take a deep breath, and prize
rationality and our shared humanity, resisting those who would pit us against each other,
dissolving society into a sea of vitriol where baying mobs mutilate others with words and
Everything leads somewhere. Option 1 left unchecked will likely lead to fascist rule. Part
of the reason historically is that it is deeply convenient to the mega millionaires and
billionaires who use the distraction to get on with their agenda of keeping us divided and
staying in power and in kingly luxury. Option 2 is the only basis for a free society.
Today we must ask ourselves ‘what kind of a society do I want to live in?'.
No Cause for Panic
Here are some facts to put the Dundalk stabbings into context. This is important because
there are far-right elements who want to bypass your reason and appeal only to fear,
disgust, and selfishness. They're not interested in facts, but rather ‘facts' which
support their narrative of scapegoating. This reaction can be summarised by a quote from a
fascist group in Ireland: ‘There's that name again 'Mohammad'!'
They keep hitting you with this narrative that the Muslims are coming for you, the Muslims
are coming for you, they're savages, they're going to destroy your culture and rape you
and murder you and if you don't do something now, if you don't stop the Muslims right now,
everything you know and love will be drenched in blood in the name of Islam. As Trump said
about Mexicans ‘They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.'
Unfortunately this narrative is boosted by the press, and not just the tabloid press, in
their Faustian bargain to get as many page hits and paper sales as possible. As an example
of mainstream media stirring the pot of fear, the front page headline of the Irish Times
(Jan 4th, the day after the stabbings) read 'Garda look for terror link to Dundalk
attacks'. There are two things to note there: 1) the front page treatment of the story,
and 2) even though there was no evidence of a terrorist link, they decided to run that
On the day of the stabbings, garda chief superintendent Christy Mangan stated at a press
conference ‘we haven't established a motive for the murder, or for two subsequent attacks'.
Did the Irish Times, and other major news outlets such The Journal, The Sun, and The
Independent who similarly framed the story, pick that headline because it best summarised
what we knew? Or did they pick it because it would shock people and make them want to buy
their newspaper, to gossip with other people and to become obsessed with the story? What
is the legitimate purpose of journalism, the first or the second? How about some rational
thinking and a sense of proportion?
A Bit of Perspective
Let's introduce some rational thinking and a sense of proportion. To be very clear, none
of the following is meant to trivialise the tragedy of the Dundalk attacks, not least the
murder of a young man for no reason, who, we shall note here, was also an immigrant.
Road Deaths: In 2017 there were 158 deaths on roads in the south of Ireland.
Gun Violence: Ireland's murder rate is similar to other EU countries, but almost 40% of
that is gun-violence - due to poverty and the criminalisation of drugs, and perhaps the
legacy of the armed struggle against British colonialism here.
Health Crisis: On the 3rd of January 2018 there were 677 people waiting for hospital beds.
Climate: Three people died because of Storm Ophelia.
Homelessness: Almost 9,000 people in Ireland are homeless (not to mention the ‘hidden
homeless', which is much higher)and 40-50 homeless people die each year on the streets,
with at least 4 dying in one week, and with an average lifespan of 42.
Suicide: The number of people killing themselves in Ireland has been 300-500 over the last
None of these problems are due to Muslims, Egyptians, migrants/refugees, foreigners, or
brown-skinned people. The same far-right elements actually do blame the aforementioned for
deprivation in healthcare and for homelessness. The numbers don't bear this out at all,
but rather than pointing to the greed inherent to this economic system they pick on
The point is that they would blame road deaths and the weather on Muslims and migrants if
they could get away with it. No doubt some far-right conspiracy theory has already done
this. This will all too please the rich and privileged, enjoying the fact that our
attention has been diverted from them and their role in reducing our quality of life.
In 2016, in Cavan, a man killed his wife and 4 children with a knife. The man was a white
Irish Catholic who was well-to-do so it wasn't called terrorism, not that it would have
been correct to do so. Let's keep our heads screwed on. We are all too intelligent to let
ourselves get carried away by factually inaccurate stories designed to make us panic.
A Time to Reflect
Fingal County Cllr. Keith Redmond, who is far from left-wing, quite the opposite,
‘Muslim girl I know was abused by a drunk on the Dart from Connolly to Malahide last
night. Followed her carriage to carriage. No one said or did anything which is shameful.
Men sat looking out the window. Poor reflection on us folks.'
Tragically, in a revenge attack in reaction to the Dundalk stabbings, some people attacked
4 nearby Syrian refugees, with one being hospitalised. There are real consequences to
these stories, to this fear-mongering. The choice is ours which story we will believe and
which we will spread. The WSM chooses common humanity, reason, and sticking it to those
who really call the shots.
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