(1) Salah Abdeslam, captured in Brussels four months after terrorists killed 130 people in Paris.
Pizza en famille for the Belgian-born French national of Moroccan descent.
Italy-Belgium-France-Morocco: already enough national toppings for a Multicultural Mega-Feast. But instead of Buy One Get One Free from Boy On Moped with cool box for pillion, it was the Brussels robocops who rang for Salah Abdeslam, pinned him down and delivered him into custody.
Nearly as many days on the run as the number of people killed in the shooting-and-bombing in Paris on Friday the Thirteenth (November 2015).
Salah of the somewhat salacious mouth – small but full. Intelligent eyes, don’t you agree? Looking at that photo – if not issued by Europol, we’d most likely say ‘metrosexual’ and move on.
So was it sexy, trafficking a carload of suicide bombers before divesting yourself?
DNA of your sweat matching moisture in the bomber’s vest subsequently found abandoned. How did that happen? Instead of going forward with the backpack, did you back/drop out at the last minute, shrivelled and incapable, wracked by failure to fulfil your god-given destiny?
Or maybe-just-maybe you were humane enough to be horrified at the death and destruction already wrought upon others?
Secretly, you might have planned it that way all along: double agent known only to himself; loyal only to your own narcissism; keen to betray as many people as possible.
Every which way, surely some sort of Gethsemane around midnight in Paris; through the wee small hours a Jacques Brel of a night of soul-searching, while you tramped the streets of the eighteenth arrondissement, waiting for a car to pick you up at 7am in Boulevard Barbes, and on to Belgium.
And is it true you didn’t tell your friends at first, then threatened to blow up their car when they demurred at driving you to Brussels?
Three Moroccan males and three spliffs en route, allegedly; police distracted by the whiff of Mary Jane to the point they let you past the checkpoint at Cambrai only 15 infamous minutes ahead of instructions to detain you.
Back a bit, before your marijuana mates picked you up, had you considered the very place where you were waiting, had you known about the broad boulevards and Baron Haussmann’s construction of modern Paris, designing out small-mindedness, supposedly, in a series of thoroughly modern thoroughfares, would it have made any difference?
Or, reading J-K Huysmans’ Against Nature and discussing the late nineteenth century Cult of Decadence at the Brussels bar you ran with your brother the bomber – perhaps this could have prompted a different outcome.
Maybe you’d done all these things anyway, with Les Fleurs du Mal as your Bible rather than the Koran – how else to explain the drinking, smoking, flirting only a few weeks before the Paris ‘jihad’?
And that vein of self-hatred – sticks out a mile – fits in perfectly with Charles Baudelaire, Paris poet prone to pungent cynicism.
My guess….likely no one taught you to read properly, more’s the pity.
(2) The Man In White, fugitive captured on CCTV shortly before bombs exploded at Brussels airport on Tuesday 22 March.
In an upside down world police wearing balaclavas are hunting the bad guy dressed in white.
Near the check-in desk at Zaventen, Mr White’s accessories included sunhat and glasses…and the two suicide bombers only seconds away from the atrocity that made their name.
Which need not be repeated here.
In hiding from the manhunt, is the Man In White now frightened and falling apart; or perhaps precisely the opposite?
The police photo of one of his sidekicks, arrested as a terrorism suspect and deported from Turkey before going on to detonate himself in Brussels, suggests this youth had never before felt more fully himself. What else could have made for such a strangely smiley mugshot – the smugshot, if not that he’s a big kid made up about finally meriting the attentions of the police?
Were their lives really such a tissue of pettiness that savagery became their moment of truth, the moment of their becoming? And if barbarism becomes them, perhaps it’s partly us who made them – these eggshell skulls, more suggestible than the rest, their susceptibility resting nonetheless on the successive failures of our ‘socialisation’.
(3) Look Who’s Getting Away
The Brussels slaughter is held to be even more savage because those who did it had no reason to. John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States of America, echoed this reasoning when he visited Belgium and dedicated himself to eliminating their ‘nihilistic beliefs…from the face of this earth’.
Leaving aside the semantic problem of ‘nihilistic beliefs’………
Look who’s talking. Apart from putting our faith in Hope – President Obama’s persuasive but brittle performance of Hope, since the turn of the century what sort of civilisation has the West been able to offer?
Having delivered his message, the Secretary of State got into his plane and went on his way.