Al-Qaeda is coming – again. Having been thwarted in their attempt to blow up a planeload of printers – bringing western stationary to its knees – it seems they have decided to have another crack at the Germans. Or, in the words of Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, “There is information from our foreign partners that planned attacks are allegedly to be carried out at the end of November.” No German stapler will sleep soundly till then.
Of course, I’ll be scoffing on the other side of my scar-tissue if the U8 gets blown up this morning, perhaps just as this is being put online. That’d be ironic. But then again, these threats have become an autumn routine. The last time (September 2009), German Islamists even put out a video. You’ll remember they chose a confused teenager as their spokesman, placing the poor chap in front of a red velvet curtain in a wedding suit. He resembled a nervous magician mustering his nerve to perform a sleight of hand for a girl he really fancied.
But while the video is a slightly embarrassing watch, the opening sequence deserves a mention – particularly the giant ‘A’ looming menacingly out of the bottom of the screen. I wish I had been at the creative meeting where this was settled on. Even though the filmmakers are ostensibly aspiring to be mass-murderers, one can’t help but admire such a keen attempt to use PowerPoint graphics to suggest imminent death.
This was just before the last general election, and the then interior minister, Wolfgang ‘squinty troll’ Schäuble, recycled the same press statement as de Maizière, banging on about not being scared, just “vigilant.” Perhaps these “intelligence reports” are real, but the government also wheels them out whenever the state they want us in – a limbo of anxiety just short of scared-shitlessness – looks like wearing off.
Crying wolf doesn’t stop you being chased through the woods and eaten though.