A big thank you to everyone who helped tweet my first blog post around, and a special shout out to Sage Sweetwater for her editing contributions to my manuscript!
Let’s start getting even more involved. Send me comments! I will reply! We’ll laugh. We’ll cry. We’ll emoji…
Do you love The Onion? I do. And I was thrilled to see this article the other day. The concept of al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri delivering a TEDtalk is hilarious.
If you like that kind of humor, you’ll love my upcoming book, Victor in the Rubble. Let’s face it: terrorists can be funny. A terrorist in an IKEA store shopping for FJELLESE and VARMLUFT furniture is funny (that’s in my book!). Also funny (and also in my book) is the concept of a terrorist group acting like a corporation.
So in the same vein as the above article from The Onion, here is a sneak peak at a snippet from my book. Just as a lead-in: Omar is a terrorist from the West African country of Pigallo. He is attending a terrorist convention in Las Vegas…
This morning’s lecture was of particular interest to Omar and he opened his notebook and readied his pen as the speaker approached the stage and flashed up the first slide in his presentation, titled: “Leading Generation Y: Making mission count with the Me Generation.”
“Welcome, everyone,” said the presenter. He took a sip of his latte. “I’m here to talk to you about the next generation of terrorists. The Me Generation of terrorists. The first thing you need to know about our future terrorist leaders is: They need constant praise and feedback.” He switched to the next slide, which showed the words “PRAISE” and “FEEDBACK” next to large dots, and which had a picture of a very cute puppy up in the corner. “Tell them how they are doing and how they can improve. Here are a few examples of how we can turn a critique into positive feedback that will really resonate with today’s youth.” He jumped to the next slide and read aloud the phrases that were boldly printed on the screen.
“Leaving all your keys in the lock of the car trunk was not the best move, considering the car did not blow up and the police were able to use the keys to find your apartment. But on the bright side, Times Square remains a valid target.” He looked briefly at the audience, who nodded and jotted down notes, then read the next one. “I’m sorry it made you feel sad when I didn’t pick you for the Germany plot. However, your help getting tea for the planning team was a very positive contribution.” He switched to the next slide and read, “No, that vest does not make you look fat.” The slide clicked again.
“While the loss of your right hand could have been avoided had you been a little more cautious, you did an excellent job with the circuitry on this bomb.” The presenter turned to the audience. “This one actually brings us to another point. This is a real example, based on a situation I was in with a young terrorist. He had been texting, and therefore not paying full attention to what he was doing. Indeed, this young generation is incredibly wired. And I don’t mean wired the way you think I mean it. I’m not talking about bombs here. I mean wired, as in, constantly plugged in to the Internet, social networking, that kind of thing.” He went to the next slide. “This is my Facebook page.”
Omar had heard about this phenomenon, but he had never seen it. He looked up at the screen with wide eyes. The presenter had 486 friends. Omar looked at the list and the accompanying photos. Fatima wore a full veil, only her lovely eyes showing. Yasmine’s profile photo looked exactly the same. So did Raya’s, Rana’s and Jada’s. Several of the presenter’s friends were named Mohamed. They had no profile picture at all.
“Today’s young terrorists aren’t content receiving orders by mule,” the presenter went on. “They want, they expect, communications to come to them anytime, anywhere, through text, through Facebook, through instant messages, through Wii and Playstation.”
Omar looked more carefully at the Facebook page. It was amazing, he thought. They could communicate everything right there, from their mobile phones if they wanted. He read several of the status updates. Fatima was “shopping for lingerie.” Yasmine was “separating my husband’s liquids into dozens of 3oz. bottles for his trip tomorrow.” Hamid said, “Just got body scanned. Is it bad if I like it when they touch my junk?” Ahmed had written, “Riding the metro, marking the exact time.” Abed had “just signed up for the 3 River nuclear plant tour. Woohoo!” Asim was “trying to finish my student visa application. What’s another way of saying Explosive Personality?” Yusef had “just reported something suspicious to a Wal-Mart employee.” Terrence was “connecting wires. Does the blue go to the red or gree….” His status update ended there.