sticky—and related —problems of evilrnand the disappointments and seeminglyrnrandom tragedies of human existence.rnTheir problem is not with “religion”;rntheir problem is with God.rn–Wayne AllensworthrnSINCE SEPTEMBER 11, I have spentrna great deal of time in interviews with allrnsorts of media people, who range fromrnthe well informed to the abysmally ignorant.rnOne question that occurs withrndeadly predictability concerns the mindsetrnof the terrorists: Just what kind ofrnwarped alien creature could possiblyrncrash a plane into the World Trade Center?rnAnd, more broadly, what on earth dornthey hope to achieve by this? Don’t theyrnknow they can never defeat the UnitedrnStates? As I go through the same explanationsrnhme and again, I often wish thatrnthere were a handy Guide to Terrorism tornwhich I could refer them —a comprehensivernCliffs Notes. And then it occursrnto me that such a thing does exist. Ratherrnthan a thousand television chat programsrnon terrorism, in which experts like myselfrnfloat their half-baked nostrums, it wouldrnbe much more useful for American televisionrnnetworks to show just one film—rnideally every night for a month or so, untilrnthe whole nation can lip-synch thernlines. It really is that crucial: Whenrnsomeone has seen and understood thern1966 film The Battle of Algiers, they havernacquired an expertise in matters of terrorismrnand counterterrorism far superior tornthat of virtually all media pundits.rnThe Battle of Algiers is set in 1957,rnamidst the anticolonial struggle waged byrnthe Algerian people against their Frenchrnmasters from 1954 to 1962. Though thernwar began as a rural struggle by the NationalrnLiberation Front (the FLN), inrn1957 the revolutionaries moved their warrninto the great capital city. There, theyrnwaged a terrifyingly innovative kind of urbanrnguerrilla warfare, characterized byrnbrutal bomb and machine-gun attacksrnagainst soldiers, police, and Emopeanrncivilians. This was unashamedly a racernwar. In response, the French sent in theirrnfinest troops, the Paratroopers, whornfought the prototype of modem dirty warsrnusing torture, assassination, provocation,rnand infiltration to destroy the FLN’s hithertorndevastatingly effective network of insulatedrncells. By the end of 1957, thernParas had won a decisive victory, and allrnFLN cells in the city were either destioyedrnor so thoroughly penetrated thatrnthey were under French control. Algiersrnseemed secure. Nevertheless, in 1960,rnthe revolt broke out again, and Algerianrnresistance combined with the Frenchrnfailure of political will to permit the creationrnof a new, independent Arab nation.rnTo repeat what is normally a publicist’srncliche. The Battle of Algiers is literallyrnlike no other film ever made. It tellsrnthe story from the point of view of the terrorists,rnsome of whom are achially playedrnby the real-life senior leaders from thern1957 battle, men and women with muchrncivilian blood on their hands. The filmrnmakes no pretense of the militants’ innocencernand offers no argument that innocentrnpeople were only killed in tiagic accidents.rnAt the same time, the film makesrnno attempt to demonize the French —rneven the Paras. The Para leader. ColonelrnMathieu, is portrayed as an attractive figure,rna sensitive and cultiired man, whornrealizes that he must fulfill his historicrnrole as the defender of capitalism inrnterminal crisis. Most astonishingly, thisrnpro-terrorist film celebrates a battle inrnwhich—at least to non-ideologues—thernterrorists seem to lose decisively. Thernfilm provides a detailed manual for howrnto defeat a terrorist movement, whichrnsupplies the precise model and precursorrnfor the Islamist cells currently operatingrnin New Jersey and New York and—whornknows —maybe in every state of thernunion. Every federal and city agencyrnshould own a copy of the film.rnOnce you have seen The Battle of Algiers,rnyou have learned a great manyrnthings, which is why the film has, for 30rnyears, been used as a training text for bothrnurban guerrillas and countersubversivernforces. For our present pvnposes, it isrnmost informative in what it tells us aboutrnconcepts of defeat and victory. The FLNrnguerrillas in the film know that they arerngoing to die and that their cause will failrnin the short term—indeed, the film beginsrnand ends by showing a decisivernFrench victory, as the Paras root out thernlast effective cells in the Algiers Casbah.rnYet the guerrillas have faith in the futurern—not in a Muslim paradise (thesernterrorists are secidar socialist nationalists)rnbut in the idealized vision of a general risingrnof a radicalized people, inspired byrnthe heroism of their revolutionary suicide.rnTlie guerrillas know implicitly thatrndeath leads to victory, a lesson internalizedrnby all subsequent generations of Europeanrnand Middle Eastern terroristsrnwho cut their teeth on this film. If yournwant to understand the “terrorist mindset,”rnwatch this film, which might be onernof the most influential works of cinemarnever made.rn—Philip JenkinsrnO B I T E R DICTA: NOW is the time tornupdate your passport and make plans tornjoin Chronicles editors Thomas Fleming,rnScott P. Richert, and Andrei Navrozov,rnas well as The Rockford Instihite’s executivernvice president, Christopher Check,rnin Toscana, Italia, for Tlie Rockford Institute’srnnext international Conviviinn,rn”Tuscany: The Cultural Free Market,”rnMarch 11-20, 2002. Witness firsthandrnthe remnants of the great incarnationalrncultures of Pisa, Siena, Florence, andrnLucca. See the back cover for details.rnIn Clyde Wilson’s review “ConfederaternRainbow” (October), Bill Cates’ overzealousrnword processor tried to rewriternhistory, changing the tifle of Nancy LusignanrnSchultz’s nook, which should havernread Fire and Roses: The Burning of thernCharlestown Convent, J 834. The editorsrnregret the error.rnLawrence Dugan, a librarian who livesrnin Philadelphia, has contributed two poemsrnthis month. Mr. Dugan’s poetry hasrnappeared in niunerous national and internationalrnpublications, including the NewrnRepublic, Southern Review, the Spectator,rnEncounter, Commonweal, Tar River Poetry,rnIrish Edition, Poetry Australia, P’irstrnThings, and the 20th anniversary issue ofrnPoetry East.rnOur inside illusfrations this month arernprovided by our art director, H. WardrnSterett of Roscoe, Illinois. Mr. Sterett receivedrnhis B.F.A. from the University ofrnColorado and his M.F.A. from NorthernrnIllinois University and attended the L’AbrirnFellowship, where he shidied the effect ofrnChristianity on art. He currently works asrna sculptor, painter, and printmaker inrnRoscoe. Our cover, an exquisite examplernof incarnational art, is a reproduction ofrnthe Virgin and Child with Angels byrnSienese artist Sano di Pietro (1406-1481).rnThe original, crafted in tempera and goldrnon wood, is part of the James ParmclccrnCollection at the Cleveland Museum ofrnArt, which graciously allowed us to use it.rnChronicles is back on the newsstandrnand, in the great state of Arkansas, can bernfoimd at the Books-A-Million stores inrnCovington, 401 North U.S. Highwayrn190, and Columbia, 4840 Forrest Drive;rnand at the Bookland stores in Columbusrnat the Leigh Mall, and Corinth, 802 CassrnStieet.rn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn