Alfano, Mark: They shall not die in vain: how the Islamic State honours its fallen soldiers – and how Australians do the same

Mark Alfano

They shall not die in vain: how the Islamic State honours its fallen soldiers – and how Australians do the same‘, The Conversation, 20 August 2018

Perceptive piece from a philosopher; based on frequency analysis of Islamic State and Australian Defence publications mentioning dead soldiers. The analysis goes particularly to what the data says about cultural values – and about the inherent pressure towards conflict.

What these texts tell us is that ISIS and the Australian government speak of their dead in similar ways. And both use the occasion of martial grief to motivate the continuation of conflict. In so doing, they place death in the context of an ongoing narrative or trajectory that points to further violence as the only acceptable option.

There are, of course, some differences. Australian soldiers are more likely to be remembered as professional, easygoing and larrikin. IS fighters are more likely to be remembered as ascetic, deceitful and harsh (towards enemies – not in general). Their obituaries tend to refer to religious concepts such as aqidah (adherence to correct creed), manhaj (theological insight), and taqwah (pious humility) …

Worth a close read.

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