Only martyrs know neither pity nor fear. Believe me, the day when the martyrs are victorious will be the day of universal conflagration. Jacques Lacan made this gloomy prophesy back in 1959: but doesn't it also apply to our own time? Faced with a rise in attacks around the world, can we really just blame the 'radicalization of' Islam'? What hope is there for the alienated youth, as the wars that have ravaged the Middle East spill out across the globe?
Alain Bertho is an anthropologist who teaches at the University of Paris 8. He works particularly on urban mobilisations and riots across the world. His previous books include L'Etat de guerre (La Dispute, 2003), Nous-autres, nous-memes. Ethnographie politique du present (Le Croquant, 2007) and Le Temps des emeutes (Bayard, 2009).