Broken Economies and Boko Haram

| 10/1/2012 9:37:21 AM

Latte by fir0002;

Kalle LasnKalle Lasn is the co-founder of the Adbusters Media Foundation, editor-in-chief of Adbusters magazine, and author of the books Culture Jam and Design Anarchy. Lasn was recognized as an Utne Reader visionary in 2001 for his efforts to reclaim Western culture from the influence of corporations, consumption, and advertising.

This article originally appeared in

So you’re sitting in the coffee shop sipping your latte and staring at your iPad and you think you know what’s going on eh?

You flip through some images and read the latest news about some disgruntled guys in some far away place who are wearing face coverings and brandishing AK-47s and RPGs. They are the enemies, the story says. Luckily you’re reading some “liberal” journalism so you’re getting some good in-depth analysis and not just a knee-jerk disregard of whatever these people stand for. They’ve got a few legitimate grievances you find, but mostly they’re fanatics.

So now you’re informed about some of those pockets of ultra-Islamist barbarism springing up in parts of the world. You think you might have even connected some of the dots on your own about why this phenomenon is happening. Then you scroll down some more and it gets all fucked up again.

You check out those crazy people in Nigeria who call themselves Boko Haram. They want a complete overthrow of Western cultural and economic values (Boko Haram literally means “Western education is sinful”) and they are so fanatical about their cause that they vow to kill anybody who criticizes them.

How is this possible? Even your liberal arts degree knows you can’t excuse this type of cultural relativism. Our governments, our NGOs, our peacekeepers, our business leaders are enlightened, right, building schools for these peoples girls and handing out candy and toothbrushes to their shoeless kids? You tap your finger on the screen which starts a video where one of these Boko Haram guys says “democracy is not a decree of God” and “I rejoice in the killing the way I rejoice in cutting chicken.”

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