What Can A Small L Inner City Liberal To Do To Win The War On Terror?


Apparently I am responsible for the Charlie Hebdo and Martin Place. I did not realize it until Andrew Bolt, Rita Panahi, and other Murdoch-acolytes explained that latte-belt liberals like me were too soft on terror. I admit, I have done nothing to fight lslamofacism/Islamism/Islamification.

It is not that I don’t care. I think religion is silly, and ISIS’ killing, I’m against that too. It’s bad manners. It is just that I’ve gone through all the strategies suggested by the Murdoch folk so far, and I’m not convinced anything will work.

I should condemn terrorism more stridently. I can do that. I could tell all my friends “terrorism is bad” and “honor killings the worst”, but that would make me dull. I do not know a single person who would disagree with those sentiments, except maybe the folks at Hizb Ut-Tahir, but they are unsurprisingly on the periphery of my social circle. If I started publicly condemning honor killings my friends would likely suspect I was doing so to cover for my own clandestine involvement in honor killings.

I could do the “write a slogan on a placard, take a picture, and post it on social media platform”. I tried this for the “bring back our girls” campaign. My followers, including Michelle Obama and Selma Hayek, and me pleaded with Boko Haram in Nigeria to release the 200 young women they had kidnapped. Sadly, Boko Haram ignored our pleas, continuing its campaign of terror and not bringing back my girls. Turns out para-militaries don’t care about western social media campaigns, probably because they don’t have public relations departments.

Australia’s Chief Technology Officer George Brandis suggests I give up freedom to save freedom. All I need to do is consent to laws compelling Internet Service Providers to store metadata for ASIO to use for (responsible) spying.

But what is meta-data? How could it have averted recent or future attacks? Stop asking questions, says George, trust the Government.

In fairness George practices what he preaches, he’s still trying to figure out the difference between an IP address and a website, but isn’t letting his ignorance stop him rolling out ASIO’s policy. The advantage of this approach is all it requires is political apathy. The downside is allowing the Government to spy on everyone might not leave much freedom to save. Unlike George, I am of little faith, and am going to need the Government to explain its policy before handing over, like, all of our privacy.

Australia’s straightest shooter Jacqui Lambie has suggested we need to lock up the traitors. These are the folks, on our streets, who express sympathy with the Islamic State. Channeling her idol, Sir Vladimir, Jacqui has no idea why these people are free to live among us. However, she suspects bleeding heart liberals are too blame.

The answer (I think) is: freedom of speech. It turns out it applies to cartoonist and youtube bloggers who think the Islamic state is just a reformist Government with a bad press strategy. I don’t want to be too harsh on Jacqui, she is still learning. Especially considering as a taxpayer I am subsidizing her Jacqui Lambie Scholarship, where she receives a $130,000 a year salary and two staff to help for six years to get her head around Government and public policy.

Thankfully not every suggestion is all about me. Rita Panahi suggests we get the moderate Muslims (whatever that means) to condemn terror. Rita Panahi says all we need is the old: the banal press release stating the obvious (ie. killing is wrong) from people who share the same religion as terrorists. This has a credible ring to it, until you visit the archive of the Islamic Council of Victoria’s website and realize they condemn terrorism on what is basically a daily basis. In different terms each time. Shockingly, it makes no difference.

The problem is, “moderate” Muslims are the kind of folks that folks like ISIS would shoot in a heartbeat for living in the west, being the wrong type of Muslim, not getting behind the caliphate, or telling them to cut the terror out. Asking them to condemn terror is like asking me, as a United States citizen, to condemn the CIA’s torture plans. I’m willing to do it, but the CIA does not take me seriously. In the CIA’s eyes, I’m a gay pinko living in some communist state called “Melbourne” who the CIA are obliged to protect from harm despite my lack of gratitude.

If I see something, say something. Look, I live in the inner city, I see a lot of stuff: small fluffy dogs dressed as gangster rappers, stencil art, and yarn bombing of epidemic proportions. But if I call the terrorist hotline and reveal this information, they’d arrest me.

So how am I meant to save western civilization? I’m armed with my pen and twitter handle. As Voltaire once said “The cordless keyboard and mobile device is mightier than explosives, firearms, and cyber-attacks”.

Andrew, Rita, I’m a soldier without orders please send through some new commands. 

Mathew Kenneally is a stand up comedian who moonlights as a lawyer. He's a regular new Matilda columnist and is the co-author with Toby Halligan of the satirical blog Diary Leaks. He is also the co-founder of the topical comedy room Political Asylum.