by Martin Odoni

FOREWORD: The following is an opening excerpt from an article I have written for The Prole Star.

Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist from Saudi Arabia who, in recent years has been resident in the United States of America, has been missing since the 2nd of October. Khashoggi was visiting the Saudi Consulate in Turkey to obtain some personal documents. CCTV images very clearly show him entering the Consulate, but there are no images of him leaving afterwards.

Khashoggi enters the Saudi Consulate, Istanbul c/o AFP PHOTO / DHA

CCTV image of Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi Consulate, Istanbul, on 2nd October 2018. There is no apparent footage of him ever leaving it subsequently. Photo c/o AFP PHOTO / DHA

Khashoggi is almost certainly dead, and if he is, it is certain that the Saudis murdered him. Were he alive and held at the Consulate, it would have been very easy for the Saudis to have paraded him on television at any stage, and so cool the growing controversy. Moreover, Khashoggi has been highly critical of the House of al-Saud over the last few years, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman clearly sees him as a ‘traitor’. According to some reports, Khashoggi had publicly claimed in August that the Saudi regime wanted him dead.

This chapter demonstrates that anyone who thinks the positive-but-shallow gesture of allowing women to drive marks the end of Saudi Arabia’s gruesome history of repression is naive in the extreme.

TO CONTINUE READING, PLEASE SEE THE FULL ARTICLE ON THE PROLE STAR.

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by Martin Odoni

Gaza Great Return March

The Israeli Government insists that thousands and thousands of terrorists are storming the Gaza boundary fence. They do remarkably little damage for being so numerous, don’t they?

The latest massacre on the Gaza boundary on Monday was the largest of the year, taking the death-toll among Palestinians during the Great Return March past one hundred. Among the predictable, nauseating attempts to blame the victims, or Hamas, for the atrocity, a lot of equally-predictable pick-up-and-play ‘experts’ on  the Israel/Palestine conflict are coming out of the woodwork in the West. These would-be experts appear only dimly aware of the conflict most of the time, but hear about it in the news frequently enough to think they have a fairly strong grasp of what is what. Most of these people are Zionist/Israel-sympathiser in their leanings.

Part-time Zionists do not have a complete monopoly on inaccuracies in the argument over which side is the aggressor, of course – I have no doubt some of my own knowledge is incorrect. But they definitely have the lion’s share, and when it comes to really glaring mistakes, they are pretty much in a realm of their own. It can be quite breathtaking how they get, not just the finer details, but even the most fundamental facts, completely wrong.

In six days of reading lame, anti-Arab, pro-Israel apologia on social media, I have seen claims that Palestine is a separate country from Israel, that the Palestinians are being shot at because they have ‘invaded’ Israel, that Hamas are behind the protests and are trying to make them turn violent, that the destitution in Gaza is the handiwork of Hamas, and that the Palestinians who have died are being punished for ‘trespassing’.

These are all predictable jumps-to-conclusion that often happen in the aftermath of atrocities abroad committed by people on ‘our’ side. The British media always like to portray Israel as ‘our’ side, and therefore habitually offer vague descriptions of the real history of this conflict, while playing down the violence of Israeli actions. The above myths however are easily debunked even before a detailed examination of the events is carried out; –

Palestine is not a separate ‘country’ from Israel. Palestine is Israel. The land that became Israel in 1948 had, for the previous thirty-one years, been a large part of the British Mandate for Palestine. Before that, it had for centuries been part of the Ottoman Empire. What the land is called is not as important to the Palestinians as simply the reality that the land was theirs and was taken from them without asking and without recompense. The Gaza Strip and several parts of the West Bank are officially governed by devolved Palestinian administrations, but even so, they are not countries in their own right, they are semi-autonomous territories that have been occupied alternately by Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

The Palestinians have not ‘invaded’ Israel, certainly not during the current Great Return March. Nor have they been ‘trespassing’. They have simply gathered near the boundary between Gaza and Israel-proper, and protested, at times slightly violently, at being effectively imprisoned in an enclave. The Israeli Defence Force have responded by stationing snipers on the boundary and having them gun down protesters. Despite claims, with no supporting evidence, that the protesters who were shot were attempting to break through the boundary fence and to attack innocents, the truth is that the vast majority of those to die were hundreds of yards from it. Any claims to the contrary are defeated by the fact that snipers were guarding the fence at all. Why use sniper rifles to defend against opponents at close range? Why not use rubber bullets on targets at close range? Why use technology designed expressly for targeting at a distance? I do not doubt that some protesters did go straight up to the fence, and probably tried to break through it, but “the punishment doth greatly exceed the crime”.

Either way, the Palestinians are not ‘trespassing’, as they are not getting across the boundary. They are staying on their own side of the fence, and therefore are staying inside the zone administered by the Palestinian Authority.

Gaza buffer zone

The red-pink-coloured area is the buffer zone that Israel declared in a territory over which it has no right of control.

The Israeli Government declared a ‘buffer zone’ at the boundary that it insists Palestinians must not enter. But as the buffer zone actually begins at the fence and extends only into Gaza, while leaving Israeli-administered territory untouched, it must be illegal; Israel has no right to impose a buffer/no-go zone on territory it does not directly govern. That is very important for reasons that go far beyond the current protests as well. Gaza, with a population density of over five thousand per square kilometre, is the third most-over-populated territory currently inhabited by Man, and desperately needs to use the land in the buffer zone to make more room for its inhabitants. But it dare not attempt to build houses in the zone as long as the IDF continue taking pot-shots at any Arabs setting foot there.

While Hamas, an extremist Sunni-Wahhabist faction, probably deserves some blame for the current misery of life in Gaza, the above shows that the severe over-population (and eleven-year blockade by the Israeli security forces) plays a much bigger role. Palestinian voices have widely insisted that the protests were not Hamas’ idea at all, and have been carried out independently of the faction’s wishes, and have even extended their criticisms to Hamas themselves. It also needs to be noted that Hamas was only founded in 1987, and the general conditions in Gaza have seldom reached the heights of ‘tolerable’ at any time since the Second World War, so it seems a bit much to have Hamas carry the can alone for it all.

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Palestinians are not the brainwashed pawns that British Zionists like to paint them as.

Perhaps the most glaring myth I have seen spread is a historical one, and it left me gob-smacked when I read it. Someone, whose name I shall kindly keep confidential, claimed on social media that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians began, and led to the Palestinians losing their lands, because, and I quote; –

“Palestine attacked Israel in the Six-Day War.”

Intellectual confidence is often inversely-proportional to historical literacy, and this is one of the most startling examples I have ever seen. Let me itemise the reasons this claim is completely idiotic; –

  1. The conflict actually began in 1948-49. The United Nations drew up a plan to divide the land of the British Mandate between Arab natives and Jewish settlers roughly in proportion to their respective population sizes. The Jewish settlers were happy with the plan, the Arabs were not. Israel was officially founded in 1948, but neighbouring countries, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria, invaded and took control of the Arab zone, and used it as a platform from which to attack Israel itself. Israel successfully fought off the invading forces, and in the process seized control of over sixty per cent of the Palestinian zone that had been allocated to the Arabs. The West Bank was brought under Jordanian control, while Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip. This struggle is known as the First Arab-Israeli War, and the Palestinians did not really do any serious attacking at all, in large part because there was no immediate central authority to organise them at that point (bar the Arab Liberation Army, which in any event was more international than Palestinian, and was head-quartered in Syria). Large numbers of Palestinians were displaced from their homes during the conflict and had to flee to neighbouring territories, including Gaza. This initial dispossession is known in Palestinian infamy as the Nakba, roughly translated as the ‘Catastrophe’.
  2. The Six-Day War happened nearly two decades after Israel seized most of Palestine. The Six-Day War was a ‘re-match’ of the First Arab-Israeli War, but did not take place until 1967. Egypt and Israel had been on unhappy terms for many years over access to the Straits of Tiran, which were critical to Israeli shipping.Strait of Tiran
    When Egypt tried to close the Straits, and began a military build-up on Israel’s border in anticipation of a retaliatory attack, the Israeli Air Force launched a series of strikes on Egyptian airfields, wiping out the Egyptian Air Force in a single day, and gaining control of regional airspace. Jordan and Syria mobilised in support of Egypt, but in the days before they could intervene, the Israeli army overran both Gaza and the entire Sinai Peninsular. The Egyptian army was totally defeated, while the Israeli military turned east to defeat the Syrian and Jordanian forces in turn. The whole war lasted less than a week, and the Israeli victories saw them seize control of the West Bank from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria. And with the aforementioned seizure of  Gaza, Israel now had possession of all the land the UN had allocated to the Palestinian Arabs back in 1948. Again, the Palestinians, beyond unsuccessful defensive fighting in Gaza on the orders of the Egyptian Government, played no real role in the war at all, let alone ‘attacked’ Israel. On the contrary, Israel used the attack by Egypt as a pretext for capturing Gaza and the West Bank.
  3. Most Palestinian loss of land tends to happen outside of full-blown wartime. It has been a permanent feature of Israeli policy that any ethnically-Jewish individual on Earth who needs a home and ‘safe space’ against anti-Semitic persecution can automatically receive citizenship in Israel. But Israel was a small land at its birth, and soon ran low on space to keep taking in more refugees from around the world. Therefore, it became a routine process every few years for the Israeli Government in Jerusalem to pass a new law authorising itself to seize the land and property of entire Palestinian communities, award it to Jewish settlers, and then cart the Palestinians off into Gaza or the West Bank. This sort of practice happens semi-frequently,  no matter how the Palestinians behave. The current protest campaign by the Palestinians, the Great Return March, marks the anniversary of Land Day in March 1976, which was a previous protest that ended in bloodshed against precisely such a shameless Israeli land-grab. You see, Palestinians have not lost so much land to Israel because they are being ‘punished’ for violent behaviour (even allowing for the fact that they have often acted violently). It happens because they have land, and Israel needs land. That is it. Occasional bursts of Palestinian militancy are just used by Israel as a justification for the mistreatment, but even when such militancy does not happen, land-seizures continue to happen anyway. Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank have little alternative but to use force, as they have few legal rights, and are not allowed to vote in Israeli Elections, but only in the Palestinian Authority Elections, which are fairly useless as long as the boundaries are controlled by Jerusalem. And the Israeli Government will never change that, as the total Palestinian population in Israeli-held territory is roughly the same size as the Jewish population. It is projected to grow faster than the Jewish population too, and so, with suffrage, Arabs would soon be able to outvote Israeli-Jews. Given the original ethnocratic notion behind Zionism of a strictly Jewish nation, that is a prospect that the Israeli right wing in particular dare not contemplate. (It is also one more reason why I argue that Zionism is a failed ideology.)

Israel is not exclusively culpable in the history of this conflict. Much of the blame must go to neighbouring countries, especially Egypt, for fuelling a very paranoid emotional outlook in Israel. But it is time that the real history of modern Israel was properly understood in Britain. The Palestinians are far more sinned-against than sinning. Some atrocities they have committed against ordinary Israeli civilians during the various Intifadas have been terrible. But the Gazans are a people in a permanent condition of imprisonment and destitution, chiefly for reasons of their race. Atrocities they may be, but they are hardly unprovoked.

One more point needs to be made, and that is on the matter of what caused the renewed protest on Monday – the US President deciding to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This was an astonishingly stupid move, even by Donald Trump’s standards, and not just because it was so obvious it would provoke furious protests. It also puts a huge obstacle in the way of the potential for a ‘two-state solution’ to the conflict, which would require Jerusalem to be neutral territory. East Jerusalem was originally meant to be the Palestinian capital city. For a major foreign embassy to Israel to be located in Jerusalem actively prevents that neutrality.

Many Israelis are celebrating Trump’s decision, which says little for their intelligence. They appear to miss the fact that the move leaves only a ‘one-state solution’, which ultimately will have to include full suffrage and legal equality for all Palestinians, if the arrangement is ever to be accepted by the majority of Arabs. Therefore, the demographic issue mentioned in section 3 above will be brought into play. The future existence of a Jewish state, if we must accept the notion that one is truly necessary, is being endangered by the very people its most fanatical supporters are applauding.

Sad? Yes.

Ridiculous? Certainly.

Symptomatic of the modern world? Totally.

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by Martin Odoni

The details that have emerged about the Manchester Arena Bomber, Salman Abedi, seem to suggest that, in spite of the organisation’s self-aggrandising claims, he was probably not a member of Daesh (ISIS).

The first point that needs emphasising is that, as is so often the case with these forms of terrorism, the bomber was native to the country under attack. Indeed, Abedi was not only British, he was even native to Manchester itself, and lived just three miles from the Arena. The inevitable tidal wave of cries from the xenophobic right in the days after the attack to close the borders and throw out the refugees are therefore, once again, shown to be futile hate-speech. One of the worst examples of this I have seen is this meme on social media; –

Xenophobes taunt Manchester over the Arena Bombing

The xenophobic right think taunting a city while it is in mourning is suitable behaviour.

Taunting a city of people who are in mourning is an oddly British thing to do – just ask the people of Liverpool. But as much as this mentality is disgusting, it is also irrelevant; Abedi was not a refugee, and so turfing out refugees before Monday would have made not a jot of difference. The meme, in short, says far more about the insecurity and fear of the people who made it than it does about the terrorism situation. (It must be terrible to be a member of the Far-Right. To live a life so full of fear, and to be too weak-willed to resist that fear, must be a harrowing existence.)

The point has been made that Abedi’s family were refugees from the Libya of Muammar Ghaddafi. Yes, they were, but they were not the ones who carried out the bombing. So unless evidence is found that they helped Abedi with the attack, this is, again, irrelevant.

But back to the more immediate point, Abedi’s putative links to Daesh look doubtful. The only particular reason for assuming he had any is that he supposedly visited Syria a few weeks ago. But that is a pretty wild assumption, given there are plenty of other factions in the Syrian Civil War than Daesh.

Abedi’s family may have links to a jihadist group in Libya, called the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and it is likelier to my mind that this is the faction that radicalised him; the LIFG is believed to have members in the Whalley Range area of Manchester. The important detail in that is that the LIFG is not an ally of Daesh. LIFG instead regards itself as an affiliate of ‘al-Qaeda’. I have said more than once in the past that the idea of ‘al-Qaeda’ being a single worldwide organisation is a bit of a nonsense. But insofar as the network exists, it is in fact an enemy of Daesh; –

An internal split developed in ‘al-Qaeda’s’ operations in Iraq and Syria during the so-called Arab Spring. The ‘al-Qaeda’ faction in Syria, the al-Nusra Front, broke off from ‘al-Qaeda-In-Iraq’ because its commander, Abu Mohammed al-Jalani, wanted to have a free hand in fighting the Syrian Government. When the ‘al-Qaeda’ supreme leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, gave his blessing to the split, the head of the Iraqi faction, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was so incensed that he revoked his oath of allegiance to Zawahiri, and declared his territory to be ‘The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant’ (ISIS/ISIL) – or ‘Daesh’. Since then, the two Wahhabist armies have been permanently at loggerheads.

With this in mind, it seems unlikely that an apparent LIFG sympathiser – therefore an ‘al-Qaeda’ follower – would take orders from al-Baghdadi. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Abedi had changed sides of course, but if he really had joined Islamic State on his visit to Syria, it would be very interesting and informative to learn why he did so. Until such information comes to light, I am leaning away from the notion that Abedi was with Daesh.

There is one more aspect of the matter of Libya I want to discuss. The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, voted against military action in Libya back in 2011.

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At that same time, the current Prime Minister, Theresa May, was Home Secretary. In that capacity, she was of course working directly with MI5. MI5, at the time, was helping the Libyan jihadists in the war with Ghaddafi, and had been doing so since at least 1996. See this from Mark Curtis; –

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Given the ‘al-Qaeda’ sympathies of the LIFG, it is a pretty big policy-swing in ‘The War On Terror‘ that Britain gave them support at all. This certainly underlines precisely what Corbyn was saying in his controversial speech on Friday. But there is a darker, more personal element in this. If, as seems likeliest, Theresa May was co-operating with the LIFG in 2011, while Corbyn was working to try and keep Britain out of Libya, and if, as also seems likeliest, Abedi really was an LIFG soldier, then May becomes (loosely) implicated in Monday’s attack. She is certainly more heavily implicated in that than Corbyn supposedly is (yeah, right) in Irish Republican terror. Now whether they feel Corbyn was guilty of IRA support or not, people have to recognise that that threat is largely a thing of the past. Whereas Wahhabist militancy is very much in the here-and-now, and the Prime Minister appears to have helped it grow. In that light, the British people have a very uncomfortable question to mull over ahead of the General Election; –

Just what evidence is there that Theresa May would be a better option for keeping Britain safe and secure than Jeremy Corbyn?

So far, I have seen precisely none.

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by Martin Odoni

I lost count long ago of the number of times I had read xenophobes, racists and Islamophobes on the Internet saying, “Finally someone’s got the courage to say it!!!” These declarations have invariably been in response to someone else making a wildly-generalised, prejudiced, hate-filled and simplistic remark against other races or nationalities.

Today (well all right, yesterday by the time this is published), it was my turn to say it, and it was in response to the diametric opposite. It was one of the Labour Party leader’s most adroit speeches, and marked something of a watershed moment in British politics. Perhaps for the first time in the midst of any General Election campaign, we finally got to hear the leader of a major party put into words something that was not only demonstrably true, but took enormous courage to say. Cue Jeremy Corbyn; –

“Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed out the connections between wars that we have been involved in, or supported, or fought, in other countries and terrorism here at home.”

A lot of people, far beyond myself in expertise, have been screaming this out for years and years, and have been forever frustrated at how it never gets discussion in mainstream political debate. For instance, take Mark Curtis, author of Web Of Deceit, and an historian I believe every Twitter-user in the United Kingdom should follow fastidiously. He has worked for decades to expose to the majority the amoral reality of British foreign policy. A foreign policy that has led the country to assisting in the toppling of foreign Governments – often democratic ones – and replacing them with dictatorships and oligarchies, in countries including, but by no means limited to, Iran, Chile, Indonesia, and Cambodia. They are of course just the tip of a very large, chilling and brutally hard iceberg, an iceberg whose painfully sharp, jagged features Curtis has catalogued in a lot of detail.

More pertinent to the horrors in Manchester this week, Britain, hand-in-hand with the United States of America, has played a key and disastrous role in the rise of Militant Wahhabi terrorism. Indirectly allying with Jihadists in Afghanistan during a war with the Soviet Union through the 1980’s paved the way for the emergence of Osama bin-Laden. At other points, the rise has been accelerated by myopic policies using local militant groups to fight ‘wars-by-proxy’ – for instance in Libya in 2011 or today in Syria – and help Britain secure resources, or markets, in far-off lands by weakening their Governments. In Iraq in 2003, Britain and the USA carried out a more overt invasion in the name of ‘freedom’, under the almost-childish assumption that a nation can be bombed into democracy.

Quite simply, British foreign policy is, as it has always been, amoral. Too many Britons are unaware of the degree of this problem, partly because so many British ‘activities’ abroad are hidden from the view of the unskeptical media, partly also because, insofar as it is known by the man-in-the-street, it is too often simplified to be ‘all-about-oil’. Britain may no longer be openly Imperialist, but that is less for moral reasons and more due to practical realities; the country was too exhausted by two World Wars, and so had simply fallen too far behind the likes of the USA to be able to remain a colonial power. But the country’s policy abroad remains as exploitative and aggressive as ever it was. It creates the very enemies British politicians and media eternally demonise.

That does not justify the crimes of these enemies of course, but then explanation is not justification. Corbyn himself went to great pains to emphasise that, no matter how cynically (and predictably) other parties have tried to misportray his words. As Corbyn said,

“That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions. The blame is with the terrorists, but if we are to protect our people we must be honest about what threatens our security.”

The sad reality is that, if we want to stop the emergence of such terrorists, we have to understand the process that radicalises them in the first place, and alter it.

When Corbyn said, “The War On Terror is not working,” he was objectively telling another grossly-obvious truth. In the aftermath of the 9/11 Attacks on New York and Washington DC, hysterical paranoia gripped much of the USA, with the UK joining in with it. Tony Blair in particular was eager to endorse a wildly-exaggerated narrative about a worldwide terrorist network called ‘al-Qaeda‘, and western intervention across the Middle East began to increase. Military action in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran (aborted), and Libya were meant to make the democratic world safer from a threat that, truth be told, scarcely existed on the scale presented, while also exacerbating a widespread impression among British and American Muslims of being ‘a faith under siege’.

But far worse, these military interventions caused entire countries to break down and all semblance of cohesion and governance evaporated across vast stretches of territory in proximity to the Persian Gulf. With no central authority or security left in these territories to intervene, they became like a magnet to a range of factions with militant-extremist leanings. They had freedom and space to pool resources, recruit more and more troops to their cause, accumulate weapons, formulate strategies, and become far, far stronger than they had had any hope of being in times when the regions were firmly governed. The greatest opponents to these groups a lot of the time were each other, and there were occasional breakdowns in relations.

Daesh, or the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Levant‘ (ISIL) as it vaingloriously likes to call itself, emerged  from precisely one of these schisms in the so-called ‘al-Qaeda network’, caused by a ‘demarcation dispute’ between Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his former henchman, Abu Mohammed al-Jalani, over expanding operations from Iraq into Syria, forming the al-Nusra Front. Al-Baghdadi wanted to retain authority over the al-Nusra Front, but al-Jalani refused. To settle the dispute, Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of ‘al-Qaeda’, ruled that al-Jalani had authority in Syria, al-Baghdadi in Iraq, and there should be no cross-over. Al-Baghdadi responded by formally retracting his oath of allegiance to Zawahiri, sent forces into Syria, and seized al-Jalani’s headquarters and over eighty per cent of the al-Nusra soldiers. With this victory, al-Baghdadi established the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS/Daesh/ISIL. By 2014, it had a very large army, and was substantially well-supplied. While this force’s reach and punch are still heavily-overstated – the facts in the cold light of day show that attacks beyond the Middle East are still few-and-far-between – they are now strong enough to present much the kind of threat that ‘al-Qaeda’ was talked up as being during Tony Blair’s time as Prime Minister.

So Corbyn is correct. If its first purpose was to make the West safer, then the UK’s (and the USA’s) War On Terror is very clearly not working. Quite the contrary, it has brought about precisely the scenario it was supposedly meant to avert, and given Militant Wahhabism the room to build up into a significant threat. The West is in more danger now than it was back in 2001, when it all began. Sixteen years is surely sufficient time to judge whether such an endeavour is successful, and the judgement when comparing outcomes to stated aims has to be negative.

This merely demonstrates the foolish side of British foreign policy. It does not even touch upon the amoral side, in particular Britain’s illicit manoeuvres in foreign lands for the purposes of lifting resources.

Anyone who tries to dismiss British foreign policy as a weak ‘excuse’ for terrorism are not only guilty of the juvenile error of confusing explanation with extenuation. They are also ignoring a welter of evidence. The London Bombers of 2005 firmly implied that they were meting out ‘punishment’ for the invasion of Iraq. On Monday, the Manchester Arena Bomber, Salman Abedi, was looking to avenge Allied airstrikes in Syria, according to his sister; one such airstrike occurred just a day before the Westminster Attack in March, and so may explain the crime of Khalid Masood.

Of all the major party leaders over the last thirty years, only Jeremy Corbyn has dared to acknowledge publicly that British foreign policy – particularly its century-plus history of interference in the ‘Holy Land’ – is probably provoking Wahhabist attacks. To say as much during a General Election campaign is doubly brave, as it redirects the root cause, and therefore perhaps some of the blame, away from ‘the other’ and back onto his own country. Many in the electorate will not like the implication, which is that some of the failings that lead to terrorism will touch upon themselves, however inadvertently. The implication also acknowledges that the problem is far more complex, and therefore more difficult to resolve, than the parental-sounding reassurances of a casual ‘We’re-the-goodies-and-they’re-the-baddies’ narrative, into which most Prime Ministers retreat.

Those of a knee-jerk-xenophobic disposition mis-proclaim that anti-foreigner messages are ‘courageous’ – loud intolerance is often mistaken for bravery – because those who spread them risk being labelled ‘racist’ by ‘shrieking liberal hysterics’. But what is the reaction of the ‘courageous’ intolerants when Corbyn counters with the suggestion that other mechanisms may be at work here? They shriek at him hysterically, accuse him of ‘crass timing’ (maybe they could explain when would be a good time to discuss the complexities of radicalisation, if not in the days after a terrorist attack?), of ‘making excuses’ for terrorists. Of course, we all knew that response to his words was coming, but that meant it required all-the-more courage to say them. The lunatic right, and even others more centrally-aligned, are resorting to precisely the same types of intimidating shout-down tactics of which the lunatic right themselves claim to be victims.

It does not take courage to resort to ‘othering’ in response to tragedy. What requires courage is acknowledging the failings of the country itself, and admitting that addressing the root causes of radicalisation is not a straightforward, black-and-white matter of beating up the baddies. A lot of people will not be happy to hear of such grey areas, and are more eager to be told, “I’ll keep you safe. I don’t need to explain why or how I can do it, just let me do it,” which is substantially the position of Theresa May and many a Prime Minister before her. But now, at last, a politician challenging to be Prime Minister – and with a better-than-expected chance of succeeding judging by recent opinion polls – has dared to draw attention to the grey.

In doing so, Corbyn has raised a question about the people of Britain themselves, a question we will soon have answered. That question is, would more people prefer being reassured by mummy that everything-will-be-all-right-just-leave-it-to-me-now-go-back-to-sleep, or would more people prefer having a mature, nuanced debate about the realities of geopolitics?

If Corbyn wins the Election in under two weeks, we can assume the answer is the latter – in which case there is hope for Britain yet.