Shopping Malls – The New Front Line

Tuesday 24th September

In school we learned about the set battles of old, huge armies facing each other, but gradually the nature of War has changed, and is constantly changing.  We had a few years of Guerilla warfare but now more and more we have War as a PR exercise, on television, on twitter, and a new phase in Terror.

Well, we call it terrorism, because we are on the side of the saints, and those who do not agree with our world view are Jihadists, fanatics and terrorists.  From another viewpoint we could be calling them freedom–fighters, but that is an argument for another day.

And after 9/11 and the hijacking of aeroplanes we now have the new front-line; Shopping Malls.  These shiny new temples to consumerism, and how apt is that.  One of the very things these fundamentalists despise about the West is now a target.  And who cannot be horrified at the sight of relaxing happy shoppers enjoying a nice day out, suddenly running terrified from the sound of gunfire.  Here in these sanitized marbled halls, this never-land of shop after shop, everything you could ever want, a world away from the dirt and disease of Syria or Somalia, these very sanctuaries of safety are now a target for the terrorists.  And only a week ago I was in Westfield at Stratford, it could so easily happen here.

And the more that these attacks are on TV, on twitter, all over the media, the more exposure these fighters gain for their cause.  The Somalians have, in their view, been invaded by foreign troops.  But it is also part of a growing war in Africa, between the Muslim North and the mostly Christian South of the continent.  Sudan, Algeria, Egypt, Uganda, Nigeria – in fact most of the countries in that central belt are in the front-line.  But this is a different War entirely; it is a battle of ideas, a never-ending struggle and nowhere is safe at all.