There is nothing anyone can do to prevent suicide bombers hitting civilian populations. The slaughter of Christians in Peshawar this weekend showed that wherever crowds gather they are vulnerable to any group with a brainwashed youth and a bomb. It might be sensible to discourage like-minded crowds from gathering in one place, be they co-religionists or party faithful or merely the wealthy.
The modern urban obsession with celebrity buildings and high-profile events offers too many publicity-rich targets. A World Trade Centre, a Mumbai hotel, a Boston marathon, a Nairobi shopping mall are all enticing to extremists. Defending them is near impossible. Better at least not to create them. A shopping mall not only wipes out shopping streets, it makes a perfect terrorist fortress, near impossible to assault…
By deploying violence against a succession of Muslim states, the world’s leading powers have made their business its business and invited retaliation. They have not crushed al-Qaida any more than they have suppressed extreme Islamism. They have refreshed rather than diminished that extremism, and made the world less safe as a result.
Where do they get these people? Well, in Jenkins’ case (that’s Sir Simon to you; Jenkins received a knighthood for his journalistic savvy in 2004): Oxford, The Economist, The Times, the Evening Standard, and the National Trust.
Impeccable credentials. Flaming idiot.
Something tells me that Sir Simon’s real objection to malls might be an esthetic one; only philistines go to malls, don’t you know? Although what the man’s got against the Boston Marathon I can’t quite imagine.
And churches? Sir Simon wrote a book entitled England’s Thousand Best Churches. It’s possible that he thinks churches should merely be toured and studied as architectural wonders (that seems to be the focus of his book) rather than actually, you know, worshiped in.
Because those Christians who were killed in Peshawar recently—the incident Jenkins specifically mentions—who had the gall to be “gathering in one place,” as he puts it, were actually assembled in a church with their “co-religionists.” Perhaps Jenkins is implying that churches in England are acceptable, but in Pakistan people should know better than to present an environment so target-rich in Christian blood.
[NOTE: By the way, although it's quite irrelevant to this post, Jenkins was married to actress Gayle Hunnicutt (previous husband David Hemmings) for thirty years. They divorced in 2008.]
[NOTE II: Something about Jenkins had a familiar ring, and I began to wonder whether I'd written about him before. And sure enough, I have, here. Turns out this sort of swill is his meat and potatoes.
And please read this piece on the Peshawar bombing, which has somehow been overshadowed in the news by the Nairobi mall attack, but which has taken an even greater toll of human life.]