Comedy as counterterrorism

Is it OK to laugh at suicide bombers? A tricky question. Part of me realises it is pretty inappropriate to make light of such a serious subject, and for those who have been on the receiving end of such a thing, it’s far from a laughing matter. On the other hand, there are moments of admittedly black humour which arise. For example, the incident in 2008 when an Afghan suicide attacker left to go on his mission and fell down the stairs, detonating himself. Or the other Afghan attacker who was said to have been found by police pushing his VBIED towards a target because he had run out of fuel.

Chris Morris, the caustic and occasionally highly alarming British comedy writer and producer (the man who brought us works of genius like ‘The Day Today’ and ‘Brass Eye’, clearly has no qualms about ridiculing jihadists. His latest film, Four Lions (reviewed here), which follows a group of hapless British jihadis as they move towards a suicide mission was premiered recently at Sundance. This morning I came across this clip from the film.

Well it made me laugh. It reminded me a bit of the case of the optimistically named ‘Blackburn Resistance’, two brothers from Northern England who were recently convicted on terrorism charges in the UK.  The comedy value in this case arose from the ‘propaganda video’ they had made, which consisted of them crawling through the undergrowth of a public park in broad daylight and firing a starter pistol in their backyard.

I understand that these individuals needed to be looked at by the police but I can’t help feeling a large dose of public ridicule would be more effective in shattering their jihadist walter mitty delusions than a criminal prosecution, which they will probably see as their admission ticket to the club.

Maybe Chris Morris could sign them up for a sequel.


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