The Spirit of Terrorism: AND Requiem for the Twin Towers by Jean Baudrillard
Baudrillard here argues that until September 11 we had had no symbolic event on a world scale that marked a setback for globalization itself. With the terrorist attacks, we are confronted, says Baudrillard, with the "pure event which concentrates in itself all the events which have never taken place." And we had all dreamt of this event, he says, because it was impossible not to dream of the destruction of American monopolistic power. Continuing an analysis developed over many years, Baudrillard sees the power of the terrorists as lying in the symbolism of this slaughter. It is not merely the reality of death, but a sacrificial death which challenges the whole system. Where the past revolutionary sought to conduct a struggle of real forces in the context of ideology and politics, the new terrorist mounts a powerful symbolic challenge which, when combined with high-tech resources, constitutes an unprecedented assault on an over-sophisticated, vulnerable West.