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Somerstein, L. (2007). “I Came with a Sword on Judgment Day” A Psychoanalytic Look at Terrorist Enactments. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(5):751-761.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(5):751-761

“I Came with a Sword on Judgment Day” A Psychoanalytic Look at Terrorist Enactments

Lynn Somerstein

Kemal Daoudi is a French Algerian man who was arrested and later convicted of plotting to crash a helicopter into the American Embassy in Paris, in an attempt to copy the World Trade Center disaster. Three of his biographical essays, titled “I Came with a Sword on Judgment Day,” were published as a single article in the New York Times on September 22, 2002, by Elaine Sciolino, the source of all quotations that follow. Kemal Daoudi is an Islamist, a fundamentalist Muslim very interested in politics. He may also be a member of Al Qaeda. He wrote the essays while he was in jail, awaiting trial.

Some Thoughts about Fundamentalist Groups

Secular and religious fundamentalists share some basic presuppositions, such as a preference for rigid boundaries, a dislike of ambiguity, and clear definitions of right and wrong. In the contemporary Western world individuality is prized, but in other societies, such as fundamentalist religious groups, individuality (Stein, 2003) is discouraged and the good of the group is the standard. Long-ago events are experienced as contemporary occurrences (Volkan, 1997, p. 48).

Religious fundamentalist groups, violent or pacific, often provide concrete services where governments fail by supplying housing, food, and a free education, usually for males. They defend and provide a refuge for their adherents in a world that is often prejudiced against them.


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