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9-11

“Terror and boredom are very old friends, as onetime residents of Russia (and other countries) will uneasily recall. The other face of the coin of Islamist terror is boredom — the nullity of the non-conversation we are having with the dependent mind. It is a mind with which we share no discourse. But if September 11 had to happen, then I am not at all sorry that it happened in my lifetime. That day and what followed from it: this is a narrative of misery and pain, and also desperate fascination. Geopolitics may not be my natural subject, but masculinity is. And have we ever seen the male idea in such outrageous garb as the robes, combat fatigues, suits and ties, jeans, tracksuits, and medics’ smocks of the Islamic radical? I was once asked: ‘Are you an Islamophobe?’ And the answer is no. What I am is an Islamismo-phobe, or better say an anti-Islamist, because a phobia is an irrational fear, and it is not irrational to fear something that says it wants to kill you. The more general enemy, of course, is extremism. What has extremism ever done for anyone? Where are its gifts to humanity? Where are its works?”

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The final paragraph of Martin Amis’s Introduction to his collection of essays and stories The Second Plane: September 11: Terror and Boredom.