One of the subcultures I run into occasionally are Reenactors, and or Cosplayers. People who like a particular period of time or historical event, or movie or video game or anime so much they dress up like the characters and go out to do topic appropriate activities. In the case of cosplayers, this might be a party or a ComicCon. In the case of Historical Reenactors it might be to replay the battle of Gettysburg or recreate a medieval jousting tournament. It’s all in good fun. The trouble is when someone loses touch with what’s just a bit of fun, and what’s reality. The juror on the Whitewater trial that insisted on wearing a Star Trek Uniform to court for example. To her it was the most formal thing she owned. To everyone else it was, well, a bit odd. Amusingly enough her uniform had a red shirt and to no one’s surprise she was gone before the end of the trial.
Some people carry this fixation on reenacting way too far though. David Hinkley got so obsessed with the film Taxi Driver that he tried to shoot President Reagan in the hopes of impressing Jodi Foster, who was in the film. This is where a bit of fun becomes delusional, dangerous even.
Which brings me to the most delusional reenactors of our time. the people who act in the name of Daish. I understand why it appeals to the delusional when they declared themselves a Caliphate, but really? A Caliphate? Why not an Empire, or Kingdom, or a Duchy. All of those are obsolete terms too. No the fraudsters running Daish are deliberately setting up this fantasy to lure the gullible and unstable. You see, when I see reenactors or cosplayers, everyone wants to be the Knight on horseback, or the Major leading the charge, or the central character from the film. Nobody wants to be a starving peasant, or a soldier with dysentery in the mud, or a background character that dies in the first five minutes of the film. The point of cosplay is to be, for a bit, someone big. Unfortunately this is the mindset of the people who go off to join Daish and its “Caliphate”. They imagine themselves as Aladdin off to have an adventure, to fight the bad guys, and be a hero cheered at by thousands. To be Sinbad the Hero. They don’t, I suspect, imagine themselves being handed a Kalashnikov and an explosive belt and sent off to kill people who aren’t really bad and then die in a pointless forgotten battle. I suspect in their wildest nightmares few imagines it would involve beheading people, murdering children, burning prisoners alive, torturing innocents, or raping women just because they are a different religion. And speaking of women, I really feel sorry for the women who go to Syria to join the Caliphate. I’m sure they imagined themselves as Jasmine and looked forward to living in an Arabian Nights palace. I doubt they expected to be treated as a chattel slave and handed from guy to guy like a bong at a beach party.
That’s the reality of this so called “Caliphate”. Unimaginable brutality, evil incarnate, an insult to the arab world, islam, and humanity, everything the publicity put out by Daish says it’s not. But the truth is this shell game is far more brutal, intolerant, and murderous than any previous middle eastern regime. But this is coming from the top, and I’ve written already about the motivations of those running Daish. They are not delusional, just criminal. It’s not a new Islamic State, it’s just a Ponzi Scheme.
But all of this is possible because people who are going to Syria are letting their pretend life, run away with them. They’re forgetting this is the 21st century. You know the one where almost nobody, including Iraqis, Syrians, heck Moslems the world over want to live in the squalor and misery that marked the lives of MOST people in the Middle Ages, inside the Caliphates or elsewhere. The 21st century where we like our cell phones, and interesting discussions with people who believe differently, and liv e differently. The 21st century where we want to be treated fairly and live under the rule of laws that apply to all and get paid for an honest days work. This is why everywhere Daish goes the people living there run away. Daish is most definitely not supported by the people, despite whatever lies come from their spokesmen.
The people who fall for the fantasy of the Caliphate soon find that make believe is fun for a while but in reality it’s a pretty miserable way to live. Miserable for those under its heel. Miserable for those who volunteer to fight for it. Miserable for the women who go off to be a princess. Miserable for just about everyone involved.
Except those at the top who are pocketing the spoils of everyone else’s misery.
But by then it’s too late to go home.