wedish artist Lars Vilks was invited to contribute a Roundabout Dog in an installation. Restoring the head of a prophet on its body, Vilks was personally informed a fatwa was instructed his way. In 2009, a group congregated together in Waterford to act out the plan. Two of its members were American women, upsetting their home country’s media that the United States had personally bred white, blond haired, terrorists.
Coleen LaRose, whose chosen nom de plume ‘Jihad Jane’ was met with fervent interest and media detail, recalls with disappointment the disorganisation she met on what she thought was her personal crusade. Turning to an Irish library, LaRose contacted the FBI to inform them of her group’s intentions. To her surprise, she was subsequently charged for her involvement. Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, Islam convert and Colorado native, also expressed a desire to act as a martyr. Their encounters, communications and passages started on online forums, yet when they met in Ireland, both women had no doubt of their commitment to act out their terrible action. It’s a fascinating look at an extraordinary event; a warning too!
Espousing the dangers of terrorism, the documentary pointedly marks the danger of the internet. Both women admit to lonely, often abusive, family lifestyles, earmarking a fascination for the sensational lifestyle life beyond a keyboard provides. In time honoured tradition, it met neither of their expectations. Paulin-Ramirez married Algerian fighter Ali Charaf Damache out of a desire to bear more children while LaRose, who knew Charaf Damache as online assemblyman ‘Black Flag’, remembers her disappointment when she came face to face with the trooper.
It’s a compelling, if imperfect, watch though the film never loses sight of the dangers that exist behind the search engines we use daily. There’s a fable at hand here.