Saturday 18 September 2010

Careers advice for would-be terrorists

Terrorism is such hard work. It takes all your money and time and limits the opportunities for a social life whilst simultaneously demanding that you maintain a semblance of normality. Effectively, you have to subsidize the terrorism by holding down a day job. Unlike being a British sports person - Olympic pole-vaulter by day, pole dancer by night - you don't even stand a chance of being invited to open a supermarket and be paid in tinned goods.

It's not much of a career structure, especially in the suicide divisions. In general, the pay sucks. If you look over the century very few have come out of it well. Mandela had to wait 25 years in sub-standard accommodation and gamble on living long enough to collect his retirement bungalow. So what if you end up squatting on a golden commode or having council estates in Peckham named after you? On a personal level, it's not much of a swap for the finite years of youth. Naomi Campbell is swooning over Nelson? Yeah, right. Maybe sixty years ago.

That's if you make it at all. Due to the lack of formal professional qualifications in terrorism and the absence of career structure and contracts, the life of a terrorist could be summed up as "You take a risk for highly uncertain outcomes and nobody ever guarantees to pay you". It is like rock'n'roll in that respect; the big payouts go to a handful of successful performers and the rest of the industry is awash with wannabes who are either culled by time or whose talents are appropriated to shore up the careers of the major artists.

Unlike rock'n'roll, there isn't a constant popular demand for new bogeymen; we manage with half a dozen established brands. This has cleverly been franchised by Al Qaida, whose lead singer hasn't been seen in the flesh recently. Like Elvis, he may be enjoying a posthumous recording career.

In the case of the IRA there have been a couple of winners but for most members the best they can hope for is a decent funeral cortege. The West Ham supporters do as much for each other. Go to Hornchurch crematorium any day of the week and you'll find they are there in dark coats and threateningly neat haircuts, companionably shouldering the coffins of terrace brothers whom they may or may not have known, taking little more than a sausage roll for their trouble if they are invited to the do afterwards. The advantage of spending that time at West Ham being that occasionally Hammers will win, you don't have to keep your hobby a secret (much) and there is no penalty for leaving the club. You don't have to spend the rest of your life looking nervously over your shoulder.

That is a disbenefit which is rarely mentioned when joining up with a terrorist organization. What happens if you want to leave? Dunno - most people don't live long enough for it to become an issue.

Another thing they won't mention is the disciplinary procedure. The modern terrorist organization almost certainly has investigatory panels although they are lighter on the written records than a conventional employer and may have unorthodox fact-finding techniques. Their disciplinary penalties don't use fines, because you haven't got any money, and they don't use loss of pension rights because...see 'leaving the organization' above. All that remains is getting medieval on your ass. Nothing is known of the appeals procedure. Do let me know if you hear of one other than "roll screaming and begging on the floor".

Turning to the skills of the modern terrorist, they expect rather more than they used to. Speaking several languages on top of a science degree is the norm. When they say science they mean real ones: physics, maybe chemistry, computing, very applied maths or at a pinch, biology, is what they have in mind. If you have those qualifications, why would you want to put them at the disposal of somebody who has not the slightest intention of reimbursing your expenses?

If you haven't got those qualifications - let's be realistic, British state education has reduced the chances anyone doing those subjects, which is why universities are closing their physics and chemistry faculties - then make your mind up to the fact that you are going to be the one hoofing round the hairdressing supplies warehouses and the garden centres with the dodgy shopping list, and you'll be paying for it. When you get back to the cell, it's your turn to make the tea - again. You'll wait for a period approaching infinity before the theoretical physicists do it. All that waffle about brothers and equality always collapses in the face of housekeeping duties. And why don't they clean up after themselves? It is always the same old excuse "We aren't planning on being around for long".

So let's just summarize the job so far
1) Dirty
2) Dangerous
3) You get treated like the contents of the hoover bag because you are the junior
4) You don't get paid
5) You have to do all the cleaning up.

Plus, if your aim is terrorism against the West then remember the wisdom of Sun Tzu:
6) When your enemy is destroying itself, get out of the way.

Strictly speaking (6) is a concern for the management rather than the new entrant, but you should take it in to account. There you are scooting about in all weathers with a notebook, having taken a cover-job as a pizza delivery rider, misdirecting pizzas back to your homies who do nothing but complain about the sausage topping, and it should become obvious to you that anybody who is willing to pay over £17 for cheese on toast which is indistinguishable from the box, when you can make three large pizzas for under six quid, is a member of a society which is going to crash soon and in a bloody mess.

Your main problem isn't bringing down the system.
Your main problem is getting out of the way before it crashes on top of you.

Ours too.


Joe Public said...

The 'promise' of 72 Virgins is a pretty good incentive for some.

Woman on a Raft said...

True, but then some people should read the small-print in the special offer. At no time does it say anything about the quality of the virgins. The buyer assumes that with it being paradise the virgins are automatically going to look like Xena the Princess Warrior and be as biddable as her horse, whereas in practice the virgins will have Xena's foul temper and look like her horse.

The bad news is it won't just feel like an eternity, it will be for all eternity.

All Seeing Eye said...

Virgins tend to be virgins for a reason, and with that in mind that underwear bomber might have been more intelligent than we assumed.

Not so sure about the promotion thing though. Seems you can be a commander in Londonderry (fringe non-taxable benefits: beret, own machinegun on expenses) and you get to become a Deputy First Minister. Nice car, office and pension.

On the other hand he does claim never to have personally killed anyone which might make him 'acceptable' to some as a politican but as a terrorist commander makes him a bit crap.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"Our's too" Lose the apostrophe.

The Clash wrote about all this thirty years ago in their IMHO best song Tommy Gun. Not much more to add, apart from how come you hardly see Paul Simonon in that video? He was the *cute* one!

Mark Wadsworth said...

And if you couldn't understand a word he was singing, lyrics here. Hit 'enter' a couple of times to circumvent the irritating pop up advertisement.

Woman on a Raft said...

Apostrophe gone. It looks better now.

Simonon went to Byam Shaw art school which is holding its centenary now and should tap him for a bob or two.

JuliaM said...

"The advantage of spending that time at West Ham being that occasionally Hammers will win..."

At about the same success rate of terrorism attempts, isn't it? ;)

Woman on a Raft said...

Go over and tell that to Iain Dale, I dare you JuliaM.

Picking up the Daily Mail, Paul Simonon's name came up again. He ran off with Joe Core's wife Serena Rees in 2006. Some say Corre blamed his late father, Malcolm McLaren, for introducing the artist to his wife, but that fails to take in to diverging attitudes between Corre and Rees and the fact the families knew each other anyway.

The Guardian has the best analysis of the family and the company, Agent Provocateur.

As of November 2009 Rees and Simonon still seemed to be an item. The blog Other Criteria covered the press launch of a book to which they attended.

Sadly for Corre, the death of his father last year seems to have re-opened a wound. McLaren left his estate to his girlfriend. Corre is said to be challenging the will on the basis that it was made at a point where McLaren lacked mental competence.

However, McLaren's girlfriend was quick to tell Corre of his father's suddenly worstening condition and they were able to say goodbye. Corre hastened to Switzerland and is on record now as saying "I was very happy to make my peace with him".

The case is set to be very interesting as the grounds for challenge look so poor. Even in death McLaren can't avoid controversy.

lilith said...

I thought Corre was challenging the will on the grounds that Daddy wrote him out. As Daddy was only worth a million and his boy is worth 40 odd, he could well string things out so Daddy's girlfriend of 12 years who looked after him whilst he lived his last, gets nothing. Which is nice.

Dave H. said...

Does the Arabic word for 'virgin' clearly indicate the gender of the person concerned? If not, it could be the basis of a really unpleasant surprise.

Even if there is no ambiguity, it also raises the tricky question of heavenly rewards for female martyrs. My best guess would be that 72 maidens would be preferable to 72 fumbling, sweaty-handed, spotty adolescents.

Woman on a Raft said...

I've been pondering this, Dave H, and I've agree that regardless of whether the terrorist is male or female, an eternity in the presenced of 72 fumbling, sweaty-handed, spotty adolescent males can reasonably be regarded as a version of hell, so I'm hoping that the terrorists will get what they deserve.

Smoking Hot said...

Terrorism in the UK is achieved by tweeting 'threats'\(Paul Chambers) and then watching the government, security circus and MSM do the rest for you.

No call for suicide terrorist tweeters l'm afraid so the virgins are out.