A worrying footnote to the recent terrorist attacks, and the actions of the Australian police in rounding up a gang of Somali jihadists, is a study by American author Sadanand Dhume that international luxury hotels are now the target of choice.
Dhume is author of My Friend the Fanatic, a book about the extremes of Islam in Indonesia. He explains the terrorists’ predilection for five-star mayhem:
Compared to fortified and heavily guarded embassies, hotels, welcoming to strangers by design, make relatively soft targets.
[They also represent], in microcosm, the antithesis of the world that radical Islamists, both violent and nonviolent, seek to create.
In a modern hotel, for example, men and women are treated equally. More effort is expended on segregating smokers from nonsmokers than on segregating the sexes.
The bar, the gym and the swimming pool are gender-neutral spaces. Nobody seeks to enforce special dress codes on women.
A five-star hotel represents an oasis island of order and prosperity in a sea of squalor. It hints at the prosperity promised by free markets and a culture of individual liberty.
Maybe we’ll see the international media – great users of five-star establishments for all the above reasons – realise the story is right under their noses rather than shaking down those who are staking their lives fighting against the jihadists.
This really made me think about where the real story is in a lot of countries not just the obvious ones.