i just finished reading inge viett’s autobiographie nie war ich furchtloser. inge viett was a longtime member of bewegung 2.juni, which was the berlin based urban guerilla sometimes also refered to as the anarchistic counterpart to the RAF during the german armed struggle in the 70’s and 80’s. the book is a great document, not great literature, but often hilarious, sometimes very personal, somehow deeply moving.
some more information about bewegung 2. juni was called for. and i found a book as a free pdf download. interviews with fritz teufel – what a name for a terrorist! – among others.
[as an aside: these days i am reading up on the german terrorists of the 70’s and 80’s. there’s some pretty good german books out there…
my interest got rekindled because i noticed how in my mind i seem to make a disctinction between “good” terrorists and “bad” terrorist. this distinction surprised me. why would i make it?
we seem to be collectively shivering from the threats of islamic fundamentalist terror. meanwhile i still feel some fascination for the terroristgroups like the RAF, the bewegung 2. juni, the brigate rosse. their acts of violence were just as inexcusable, of course, but i somehow feel quite sympathetic towards their motives.
so what’s the difference between these two forms of terror? clearly they both use(d) violence in unjustifiable ways. the difference, i think, lays in the level of analysis behind the two approaches. the terrorism that grew out of the student protests during the 60’s tried to analyse western society and attempted to single out the people in power. these guys were in some way responsible for a lot of the injustices and therefore they became targets. clearly they were still symbols, it was still one-dimensional, caught in the blame-game, but at least from a leftist revolutionary viewpoint they were understandable targets.
islamic fundamentalist terror has adopted a very different tactic: they go for soft targets. their terrorist attacks kill seemingly without specific aim, finding triumph in numbers. people sitting in trains. people going to work in a new york tower. the tower of course is a very clear and specific symbol, but by choosing to attack at 9.30 in the morning anybody could be a target. the aim of this tactic seems more to be about intimidation, about building up a threat. in that it seems to have an almost desperate quality. the fundamentalist view cuts out all distinctions. you are either a muslim or an enemy.
i, like many people, was on the wtc as a tourist once. what if the attack happend then? so i get to shiver. i am a possible target now. just like schleyer was, and aldo moro. but what about intentions and choices. a spokesperson for a bank, a man with a nazi past, has made lots of choices that lead him to his current position. while a father taking his son into town on a train did not choose to be born white, spanish, western. at least not conciously.
no smart conclusions yet, but its very interesting stuff…]