I’ve never been to Derna in Syria. In fact I hadn’t heard of it until recently when AQ factions (We call groups espousing al-Qaeda doctrine ‘AQ’) began competing to see which could take control of the city in the name of their fantasied return to an imagined perfect Caliphate of yore.
Terrorizing the population is key to the success of AQ. Small in number, they must rely on irrational, exaggerated responses to their activities. Recent assassinations (of local officials and military personnel), and bombings (of polling places, government offices, and retail shops) have reduced moderates to silence. Only the bravest of anti-terrorists are willing to speak out against the violence that is becoming part of Derna’s quotidian life.
Yesterday’s bombing of a cosmetics store illustrates the enormous gap between AQ doctrine and the hearts of the populace. Women in makeup is nothing new to Islam and it is hard to find Koran or Hadith injunctions against cosmetics, although limitations loosely defined by ‘modesty’ do exist. Halal cosmetics is a 10-15 billion dollar industry, and growing by over 10% per year.
A more direct political effect was caused by the bombing of 5 of Derna’s voting centers. Many people were frightened enough to skip the vote for members of the Constitutional Committee.
A tiny minority, self-deluded and morally corrupt, is able to disrupt the lives of millions, especially when fear is allowed to control the behavior of the masses. There were no bombs on voting day, and all could have taken part without incident.
March 3, 2014 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact