Jomana Abedi, sister of Manchester attacker, Salman Abedi — whose improvised, shrapnel-laden bomb detonated after a concert, killing himself and 22 people, and injuring dozens more — has now disclosed the irrefutable, trenchant reason for the deadly attack, in her brother’s own words.
“I think he saw children — Muslim children — dying everywhere, and wanted revenge. He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge,” she told the Wall Street Journal. “Whether he got that is between him and God.”
However telling, the United States engaging in perpetual warfare throughout the Middle East comprises just one straw on the back of a camel overburdened with possible motivations that Salman Abedi sought annihilation as an act of revenge.
Born in Manchester on New Year’s Eve 1994, the WSJ reports, Abedi had a fairly ordinary childhood — though neighbors found the family to be insular.
Ramadan Abedi, Salman’s father, regularly attended a nearby mosque, and occasionally performed the call to prayer. Older brother, Ismail, also was a regular attendee, but neighbors suggested Salman only joined them sporadically.
In 2011, Abedi traveled to see his father in Libya — both parents hail from the conflict-ravaged North African nation — where they fought in a militia with designs on ousting Muammar Gaddafi, as the revolutionary ripple known as the Arab Spring gripped much of the region.
Called the Tripoli Brigade, the rebel militia fought in western Libya and were key in the eventual taking of the Libyan capital, a victory aligning with the United States’ plot to depose Gaddafi — an utter disaster in the making, as far as mutterings of blowback, and a change in regime ultimately damning the now-decimated nation to interminable conflict.
Abedi and his mother returned to Manchester in 2014, an unnamed person claiming to be a friend of the family told the Wall Street Journal, where, the following year, he began studying business administration at the University of Salford.
He lasted just one year before all-but dropping out.
Then, reports the WSJ,
“In May 2016, an 18-year-old friend of Salman Abedi’s, Abdul Wahab Hafidah, a Briton of Libyan descent, died after being run down by a car and then stabbed in Manchester. Six men and a 15-year-old boy are on trial in a Manchester court this month charged with murder in connection with the killing, which prosecutors have argued was gang-related. The defendants deny wrongdoing.”
Already having grown embittered against mistreatment of Muslims in Britain, Abedi deemed the killing a hate crime, and — whether or not he knew at the time — one of the weightier straws on the allegorical camel’s back. To wit,
“I remember Salman at his funeral vowing revenge,” the Abedi family friend said.
However, hours before he was detained by Libyan authorities, Bloomberg interviewed Ramadan Abedi, who could not imagine his son responsible for the heinous act against innocents.
“I was really shocked when I saw the news, I still don’t believe it,” the patriarch explained from Tripoli.
Ramadan Abedi, according to Bloomberg, first came to Manchester during the 1990s, and left for Libya in 2008 — three years before father and son would fight side-by-side in the rebellion against Gaddafi.
“My son was as religious as any child who opens his eyes in a religious family,” he insisted, suggesting Abedi more devoted than his Manchester neighbors witnessed.
“As we were discussing news of similar attacks earlier, he was always against those attacks, saying there’s no religious justification for them,” Ramadan continued, this time, vaguely echoing his daughter’s description of the young man as ‘kind’ and ‘loving.’
“I don’t understand how he’d have become involved in an attack that led to the killing of children.”
Emphatically, he added, “We condemn these terrorist acts on civilians, innocent people.”
Whatever Salman Abedi’s demented rationale for slaughtering victims as young as eight, a cursory examination of his experiences as a Muslim — split between a life in the West, pockmarked by crimes committed against adherents of his faith, and one in his parents’ homeland, a nation shredded by Western so-called foreign policy — evince raw despair at the unlikelihood violence will ever cease.
Abedi, in short, is blowback — transmogrified into rageful human form.
He, the Manchester disaster, is U.S. hegemonic imperialism — pompous in its pillaging and merciless in wanton killing — collateral murder of innocents, moot.
Signing the permission slip to wage war against a tactic has instead brought innovation in the perfection of terrorism — wrought by individuals like Abedi, manipulative quasi-nation-states of militants, and military superpowers, alike.
Fighting this ludicrous war on terror succeeds phenomenally in two areas — providing fertile ground for further terroristic acts, the seeds of which are fertilized with corporate media’s particular brand of fear, as well as fomenting anti-Western sentiment into atrocity, and fueling the military industrial complex.
In an unfortunately ironic footnote, it was Muammar Gaddafi, himself, who extended an olive branch of sorts, to former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair — who offered only a deaf ear.
Lamenting that his forces could not withstand the onslaught from al-Qaeda fighters, the Libyan leader pleaded with Blair not to ignore Western interventionism would result in attacks — in Europe.
“They [jihadists] want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe,” Gaddafi admonished in 2011, shortly before the West succeeded in deposing and killing the leader, whose plans for a gold-based currency conflicted with the worldwide U.S. petrodollar-dominated marketplace.
No one in a position to do so heeded that prognostication.
Explaining the potency of blowback has earned sharp rebuke from the still-mourning citizens of Manchester as somehow condoning the attack — but slipping the mourning veil over truth cannot shroud the ugliness of innocents in coffins.
But terror and its war don’t claim only the innocence of their victims — witnesses to carnage on the scale of war cannot unsee the callousness of collateral death. Innocence lost to indiscriminate casualty never returns.
Until the United States-led West reins in its monstrously flawed foreign operations — or, at least, attempts coordination there, with longstanding foes — there will be more Abedis.
In fact, basic principles of blowback guarantee it will be so.