If you have watched an armed-forces recruitment video, you would perhaps agree that the visuals, that promise excitement far beyond what is possible with a conventional civilian job, lend quite the lure to a job that could also potentially end in a violent death. Cue in words such as “honour”, “glory” and “duty”, and there’s a pitch hard to resist. While no one would fault the forces’ videos, worryingly, the al-Qaeda—more specifically, its Somali wing, al-Shabaab—has not only caught on to this, it has stepped the game up a notch. The Indian Express reports that Shabaab’s latest propaganda video pitches to potential recruits a perverse African safari “for free”, with footage of its militants walking across the lush savannah in Kenya—where they are holed up after being driven out of Somalia by the African Union forces—hunting big game. To a misguided, probably jobless youth, it would seem like camping and hunting at will, while fulfilling some vaguely-articulated higher calling.
It is worrying how terrorist organisations like the Qaeda and the ISIS are efficiently using video to beef up numbers. ISIS particularly has been highly successful, with droves of “volunteers”—those who have not been approached by indoctrinators/recruiters—relying solely on the lure of gore. Gruesome videos of beheading/burning of hostages—laced with the usual rhetoric on Islamic supremacy, “West-led atrocities” on Muslims, jihad, etc—have worked. Much in the manner Hollywood of gorefests. There are even rap songs extolling ISIS and a supposedly ‘holy war’, and many are listening keenly in, say, the US, or the UK, or India—and then lining up in West Asia to become jihadis.