The Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was the son of Libyan refugees to Britain. It has yet to be established whether he acted on his own or in concert with others, though it seems likely that, at the very least, he was part of a like-minded (if mind is quite the word for it) group of youths. He was already known to the security services. He was also a student at Salford University, which, given the high rate of employment for college graduates in Britain, suggests that hopelessness and an utter lack of prospects could not explain—as they are often claimed to in the case of suicide bombers in truly miserable parts of the world—his decision to kill as many young Mancunians as he was able.
What, then, does explain it? Perhaps in earlier times he would have found a Marxist groupuscule that would have provided him with the total explanation of all the ills of the world that troubled youth so often seek, and that also suggests to them the equally total solution to them. But the downfall of the Soviet Union destroyed completely the prestige of Marxism, however much theoretical Marxists may have denied that the Soviet Union was a genuinely Marxist state: and so, Salman Abedi sought his total explanation and solution elsewhere. The obvious place was Islam, for he was of Muslim descent and heritage and there were no other contenders for the possession of his soul, both little and grandiose. I never thought I would lament the demise of Marxism, but I have recently begun to remember it rather more fondly. By comparison with Islamism, it was intellectually compelling; Marxists could have interesting things to say, however mistaken they were, which Islamists never can and never will be able to do. At most, they are interesting to psychopathologists.
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