Art, Not Just Geopolitics, Is Key to Understanding ISIS

TIME

Battle Lines: Want to Understand the Jihadis? Read Their Poetry – The New Yorker

ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other Islamist movements produce a huge amount of verse. The vast majority of it circulates online, in a clandestine network of social-media accounts, mirror sites, and proxies… Analysts have generally ignored these texts, as if poetry were a colorful but ultimately distracting by-product of jihad. But this is a mistake. It is impossible to understand jihadism—its objectives, its appeal for new recruits, and its durability—without examining its culture. This culture finds expression in a number of forms, including anthems and documentary videos, but poetry is its heart. And, unlike the videos of beheadings and burnings, which are made primarily for foreign consumption, poetry provides a window onto the movement talking to itself. It is in verse that militants most clearly articulate the fantasy life of jihad…

Art is the truest reflection of…

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