The propaganda power of ISIL is evident and impregnable. Everyone, probably all over the world, is afraid of ISIL. Americans are scared of Syrian refugees like they’re possible ISIL zombie sleeper cells. People are afraid with good reason – they’re scary. They behead people, they do things that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda will not. They kill in mass and commit atrocities that most cannot comprehend. Alas, they aren’t very good – not really. It’s more alarming that they’ve found such incredible success.
In a tour of ISIL videos, let’s take a look at whatever raw footage we can find. Most prominent is a video that VICE News posted a video titled, “What it’s like to fight for the Islamic State.” Despite dramatic music at first, the video is objectively amusing and somewhat silly. It’s notably starring Abu Hajar after you watch the video you’ll remember that name.
We give ISIL a lot of credit in some ways. Even addressing them by their preferred names is a sign of respect. It validates them and helps their cause. By no means am I advocating we do not take our enemy seriously, but leave that to professional warfighters. If you’re not one, you can help the nation and world re-align the way they view them. For example, in this video, Abu Hajar is berated by his colleagues. It appears Abu Hajar doesn’t know what he’s doing. As I wrote before; it’s objectively funny, and it’s OK to laugh. There’s an air of seriousness ISIL conjures in people. It needs to be cut with something.
So, some Abu Hajaar-based conversations might help get us away from the ISIL terrifying brand. Because ISIL has weaseled themselves into the hearts of Americans as a bogeyman. Inspiring fear, not understanding and analysis. Fear and propaganda messaging could turn to hysteria. Actively targeting yourself as someone openly and aggressively potentially attracting ISIL trolls isn’t the answer, either. But, we need to talk about this problem with a fresh scent. Because, right now, it reeks of death and scares everyone.
It’s important to understand that ISIL will always claim attacks that are not necessarily theirs. Also, it’s not the place of a civilian to speculate which, if any terrorist group, is responsible for the attack. Because, there’s no point and many dedicated, intelligent and passionate people are already thinking and working to protect you. What is best, is to talk and think about ISIL without hysteria and fear, because they only invoke fear. Instead, we need to have a real conversation, not only about ISIL but an analysis of what ISIL represents and what that means for the future.
Bottom line, ISIL is an army with a powerful information and psychological warfare campaign. Their greatest victory outside of the borders they inhabit is in your mind.
Featured image courtesy of www.konbini.com (Cartoonist Mike Keefe Illustrates the ISIS propaganda paradox).
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