Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
One thing that has always fascinated me, and I read something from Juan Cole that reconfirmed that. - All the German Terrorists were highly educated people. Andreas Baader was a Studienstift Deutsches Volk. Which means he was suggested by a teacher for his outstanding success at school and subsequently passed all sort of tests, before getting a stipend for University. Jan-Carl Raspe was a Sociologist, Ulrike Meinhof a well publicized writer. I think what I am saying here is, their idealism was fueled by their intellectualism: There was a sense of wanting to better the world by getting rid of its evil influences that connects these people. The outrages attempt at achieving this aim, was fueld by superiority assumptions of understaning the masses, and knowing better was good for all.

not having researched this to refresh my memories even for a minute, I just add my 0.02 cents about what I remember about this time.

I think that the so-called first generation of the RAF was not only fueled by intellectualism and idealism, but by a moral convictions of a special kind. They not only thought to have a superior feeling of understanding the masses, but also the ethical and moral standards of the general population. And that's were they were completely off and "out of whack".

They argued as if hey had superior morals and ethical reasons and were so convinced of their righteousness that they could afford to drop all common sense humanity, civil rights considerations and basic respect for the rule of law.

In their mind it became morally necessary and the right thing to do to kill some target personalities they considered representatives of the evil-doing capitalists. They were that convinced (and so intellectually arrogant) about their own, even christian-based justifications, (I think a couple came out of middle-class families with fathers being lutheran pastors) and morality that they lost completely any feeling for right and wrong. They were so hard-wired in their thinking that they "forgot" the simple thing, namely that 'they shall not kill' has a meaning -  for "ideologists of their superior kind" as well.  

Oh well, typical German sort of terrorists they were indeed.

I wished you had link to the comment by Juan Cole, but considering this thought:

... why there had been no successful large scale attack on American soil since the eleventh of September 2001, was because AQ, lacks the intellectuals and their manpower. He pointed out, that all attackers that flew the planes where University educated people.

I almost think it's not only the fact that they were simply University educated people, but some (like Atta) were convinced to act out of moral principle and ethical superiority.
If you say:
For the sake of not wanting to sound to condescending, but you need educated people, not just shepherd, to build bombs, and plan and execute an attack on that scale.

I would answer that to execute an attack on that scale, you not only need to be educated, but disciplined and hundred percent convinced that from a moral view-point you are doing the right thing. I bet you Atta was thinking he is doing a heroic, ethically good deed and is saving the world from evil. Tragically and sadly, many become active terrorists out of moral convictions.
by mimi on Fri Sep 23rd, 2005 at 02:03:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the 25-year anniversary of the 'German Autumn', there was a docu-drama of the events, and after that an even more interesting documentary. This included an interview with one of the former Second Generation terrorists, who took part in the abduction of Schleyer. S/he (I confuse which interviewed person was it...) told about how they had political debates with Schleyer during the captivity, and how silly he feels they were with hindsight, spouting dogma with full conviction towards a man who was in truth something of a progressive.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Sep 23rd, 2005 at 02:20:43 PM EST
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around 1970. Although I was in the peace movement , I felt things were getting too far with molotov cocktails, guns, explosives and hijackings. That was not my cup of tea. I gradually threw away historicism dogma, accepted economic analysis, balance of power, use of force in limited circumstances, etc.... I thought I grew up and the world became a little better. Socialism? Who cares. I cheered the fall of the Berlin wall. I applauded Ron Reagan for the end of the cold war. I thought I was on the right side of things. Humans are making steady, reasonable progress. We would not make mistakes of the past generation, I thought.

...until we had George Bush. Now I am no longer sure I (we) graduated from anything.

I will become a patissier, God willing.

by tuasfait on Sat Sep 24th, 2005 at 08:35:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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