IS: The Counter-Narrative
The so-called Islamic State is more than a band of rebels or a terror network. Their campaign of terror in conquered villages and cities, their terrorist attacks in Europe, and their written and visual propaganda looks and sounds like a coherent horror story of "the enemy" as well as a recruitment campaign for potential international jihadists. IS publish a glossy magazine and put masses of energy into the recruitment of sympathizers among youth who are seeking identity and meaning in the virtual world. And they don't limit themselves to Muslim youth. In short, IS understands the power of the word and greatly emphasizes the imagination.
In IS: The Counter-Narrative, Hassnae Bouazza directs the conversation about how to counteract the horror campaign and propaganda machine. Dutch-Kurdish Beri Shalmashi offers up a video essay about similar groupings, visual representation and propaganda. Frank Westerman takes us into the past and shows how we in the Netherlands have reacted to extremist acts, and how we could now choose the right words and actions to win the battle of ideas. Arnon Grunberg gets under the skin of jihadists from the West, and wonders whether their existential motivation diverges fundamentally from that of an average Western military on a mission. Rodaan Al Galidi shows us the bigger picture of the relationship between Europe and the Middle East and presents his vision of how to understand IS as a symbol of today's transnational world. He also provides the night's finale in the form of a performed poem; the musical epilogue is by Jeanine Valeriano and her Spoken Beat Night.