Much has been published in the last twenty four hours about ‘Jake’ from Melbourne, the teen who took off to Syria to fight with Daesh, and is alleged to have died in a suicide car bombing in Ramadi.
Jake Bilardi was originally thought to be from UK, as had been reported in UK media outlets and at one point had spoken to BBC journalist, Secuner Kermani.
How does a young man from a seemingly innocuous northern suburbs of a small city end up a suicide bomber, driving a van filled with explosives into Ramadi, Iraq?
Another odd point is that his family had found “home made explosives” after he left for the middle east. Further to this is a social media blog, (here) in which he outlines attacks on foreign embassies in Melbourne with explosives and attacks on citizens.
The school Jake attended, which itself is no stranger to unrest, (here) is unremarkable, however the resolve which Jake Bilardi followed to his end, is something which is seen in countries across the world. In fact the seven other suicide bombers who took part in co-ordinated attacks were from Uzbekistan, Russia, Syria, Egypt, Belgium, and two from Morocco.
Coupled with a loss of his mother at an early age and growing up with five other brothers, perhaps Islam was something that would give Jake a sense of belonging and understanding. It is easy to draw comparisons to times when young men would take off to fight in far off lands, but that is where the comparison ends. This process of teens and young men ‘radicalising’ a term in itself thrown around by commentators without any meaning or understanding, is deliberately offered as a diluted attempt to actually address the real issues. The deliberate targeting of vulnerable individuals through media.
Society is broken for some people. It just does n’t work. They feel lost and ostracised, in a world where people are judged by a haircut or the music they listen to. Perhaps not much different to how growing up was for most of us, but introduce the amplification of issues via the internet, add isolation and distanced family life and there is a great possibility that you will develop a young person with a self validating outlet for frustrations and hate.
Why are the young foreign fighters used for suicide car bombings? What else can they do?
The Australian DFAT had cancelled Jake’s passport in 2014 removing any ability for him to return to Australia, something I would understand his companions would be resistant to allow.
Daesh remote controlled cars next?
UPDATED 16th March 2015
Jake Bilardi was ‘weak’ and ‘sold his soul cheaply’, says Islamic State online propaganda (here)
UPDATE – November 2017
Mirsad Kandic – the foreign fighter recruiter – extradited from Bosnia and charged.