A spectacular press release:
The group of al-Qaeda in North Africa and the Maghreb has threatened to carry out a bombing at a football game in the upcoming World Cup taking place in South Africa. The press release published on the Jihadi website “Mushtaqun” states the following: “How amazing could the match United States vs. Britain be when broadcasted live on air at a stadium packed with spectators when the sound of an explosion rumbles through the stands, the whole stadium is turned upside down and the number of dead bodies are in their dozens and hundreds, Allah willing”.
Besides the U.S. and the U.K., the teams of France, Germany and Italy are also targeted. “All those countries are part of the Zionist-Crusader campaign against Islam”, adds the statement of the terrorist group. Al-Qaeda had previously posed similar threats to the Euro 2008 and the Beijing Olympics.
By issuing these deadly statements, this terrorist organization is simply instrumentalizing the spectacular nature of the World Cup. As a matter of fact, our modern society is primarily a society of shows; sports shows in particular. The latter have become a major staging of contemporary civilization within which different sectors coexist. Therefore, sport shows are subjected to excessive marketing with its processes of publicity, consumption and show business.
Cathodic terror and guaranteed audience rating:
The threats against the World Cup represent a specific diversion, a diversion of screens. These threats guarantee a huge audience rating.
This horrible scenario is evidence of the existing synergy between al-Qaeda, globalization, satellite television and the Internet. The scenario is using a globally broadcast event for advertising purposes; it’s manipulating cameras, and deploying international teams of activists. Similarly to the dominant logic in our societies, the purpose of the alleged attack and its symbolic performance is exposure!
The purpose of this action is to be under the spotlight, and to capture the imagination of people in a long-awaited event: the football World Cup!
It also aims to generate fear that’s more than proportional compared to the actual risk, exacerbate fear by the sight of real or imagined horror, and make the reception of its message stronger than its political representativeness.
In his book “War and Peace”, Raymond Aron highlights this amplification by saying that “a violent action is called terrorism when its psychological effects are out of proportion compared to its purely physical outcomes.”
Despite this dreadful symbolic effectiveness, amplified by the show mechanisms, the terrorism of al-Qaeda still doesn’t make any sense. This violence promotes action more than dialogue, and practice more than theory. It targets emotions and promptness at the expense of rationalism and mediation.
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