Victims Real and Otherwise


by John Thompson

This week saw real victims being generated in Toronto, when 10 people were killed and 15 injured by a van deliberately running down pedestrians. The easy assumption was that this was another Jihadist attack, but it looks like it was no such thing.

Jihad by vehicular homicide might have been developed for aspiring Jihadists by the late and unlamented Anwar al-Awlaki for al Qaeda and espoused by Daesh; but it is a simple technique. The problem with simple techniques is that anyone can resort to them, and from what is known of the attacker it seems fairly certain he was no Jihadist.

Ignorance does our cause no good. It is embarrassing when out in the chatrooms and on social media to find those who cannot tell - for instance - the differences between Sikhs and Muslims. Too many people assumed that the Syrian origin and appearance of the man now charged with ten counts of first degree murder meant he was Jihadist and passed on bogus reports to this effect.

As an aside, many rampage killers hope their names will become known. We should make it a practice to remember incidents like Columbine, the massacre of a youth group in Norway, and the San Bernardo rampage cited by Monday's attacker; and to deliberately forget the names of the perpetrators.

In the Toronto case, the suspect's name is an Armenian one and too many people believed that meant he was a Jihadist. Armenians are not Muslims; a major component of their identity comes from their long centuries of persecution by Muslims for retaining their Christianity. There are (or were) communities of Armenians in Syria and Lebanon as a result of the vicious Turkish genocide wrought against them in the First World War.

If one is to be a warrior for the truth, one should first know what the truth is and social media is often not the place to find it. Always take the short pause to look up the facts before reposting an internet rumour, too many of them are wholly fabricated.

False victims: It might startle people to learn that both Stalin and Hitler thought of themselves as victims and claimed as part of the justification for their worst atrocities. In his 2010 history Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin; Timothy Snyder recounted how Stalin thought Ukrainian famine victims were aggressively starving themselves in order to sully the reputation of the USSR! Hitler blamed the war he started on 'International Jewry' and insisted that they had victimized Germany.

This week, Jamie Glazov, the managing editor of Frontpage Magazine was banned from Facebook. Glazov had committed the unpardonable sin of reporting that another user on the service had threatened to physically assault him - and called Glazov a 'Kafir'. For those still unfamiliar with the term, it is an Islamic reference to non-Muslims and it is one with tones of derision and menace.

Victimhood in these crazy Postmodernist times of topsy-turvy ethics is a precious commodity, and the threat-maker evidently felt 'victimized' by being reported. One supposes that the management of Facebook, were they around in the 1930s and 40s, might have accepted Stalin's excuses for starving millions of Ukrainians to death and could have conceded that Hitler had a point for setting up Treblinka and Sobibor.

The reversed victimhood ploy succeeded, and Glazov is banned from Facebook while the man who threatened to break his jaw for being an uppity Kafir who didn't know his place, remains free to post as much as he likes.

Victimhood is also selective. Israel is accused of all manner of unwarranted attacks and unjustified abuses to the Palestinians - particularly those belonging to Hamas in the Gaza strip. The UN General Assembly has prostituted itself several times to condemn the Israelis for trying to defend themselves. However, a genuine massacre of Palestinians is currently underway in Syria where Russian and Syrian aircraft and helicopters are raining down death and destruction on Palestinian refugee communities there. This time, hospitals and schools really are being bombed to gravel and the death toll is rapidly mounting... and the UN and the BDS crowd remain strangely mute.