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The Power of Nightmares

The Power of Nightmares

The BBC film series explores the origins in the 1940s and 50s of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East, and Neoconservatism in America, parallels between these movements, and their effect on the world today. A fascinating and even handed look at the rise of neo-conservatism and Islamic fundamentalism.

Published on Friday, 14 January, 2005, 12:07 GMT by BBC

The Power of Nightmares: Baby It’s Cold Outside

Should we be worried about the threat from organised terrorism or is it simply a phantom menace being used to stop society from falling apart?

In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares.

The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams were not true, neither are these nightmares.

In a new series, the Power of Nightmares explores how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion.

It is a myth that has spread unquestioned through politics, the security services and the international media.

At the heart of the story are two groups: the American neo-conservatives and the radical Islamists.

Both were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world.

These two groups have changed the world but not in the way either intended.

Together they created today’s nightmare vision of an organised terror network.

A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. Those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.

The rise of the politics of fear begins in 1949 with two men whose radical ideas would inspire the attack of 9/11 and influence the neo-conservative movement that dominates Washington.

Both these men believed that modern liberal freedoms were eroding the bonds that held society together.

The two movements they inspired set out, in their different ways, to rescue their societies from this decay. But in an age of growing disillusion with politics, the neo-conservatives turned to fear in order to pursue their vision.

They would create a hidden network of evil run by the Soviet Union that only they could see.

The Islamists were faced by the refusal of the masses to follow their dream and began to turn to terror to force the people to “see the truth”‘.

The Power of Nightmares

About karololesiak

Karol Olesiak is a poet, writer, and activist. He is a graduate of Eugene Lang Liberal Arts College at The New School and an MFA student at The University of San Francisco. As a Navy sailor, he commissioned the USS Ronald Reagan, navigated the straits of Magellan, and served in the Persian Gulf. In 2011 Karol headlined The Bowery Poetry Club in New York. That same year he became a staunch supporter of The Occupy Wall Street Movement and became entrenched in the Occupy network of affinity groups. Karol was one of the founders of www.soldiersforthecause.org. He became an antiwar activist in 2010 and has written many political essays. He has been translated into Spanish. Karol's poetry has been incorporated into cinematography and sound art.

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