Walker's Road To Jihad Via McWorld

Christopher Tripoli
May 8, 2002

Nobody really knows what drove the young John Walker Lindh to actually fight for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan but I believe that it was the doings of McWorld. I believe that McWorld not only drove him to Jihad but actually guided him there. I also contend that once John was with Jihad he was lead to fight by McWorld. He went on a journey hoping to find religious freedom and ended up as the American Taliban, branded a traitor and a killer. I do not think he is to blame here but was merely misled.

Let's start by finding his roots and where his journey began. When John was ten years old his family moved from the Washington D.C. area to Marin County just north of San Francisco in California. There he attended a school that was for students who are independently directed. His father described his studies there as "very musical, very adept at languages and very studious." When he was sixteen years old he started to become very interested in spiritual issues and converted to Islam. He joined the local mosque and started to use Islamic names. He moved his interest for Islam to the Internet when he started to join chat rooms praising his Muslim behavior. He was young, independent, and enthusiastic about learning the Koran and all of the teachings of Islam.

Walker decided to continue his quest for knowledge in 1998 when he traveled to Yemen and later Pakistan where he enlisted in an Islamic fundamentalist school, which is known as a madrasah. He was devoting himself to Islam and it was good for his life, all he was doing was being a good Muslim. He was a student, studying Islam, until he came into contact with people connected to the Taliban in the Northwest Frontier Province. There he became very fond of the Taliban's way life and wanted to help them in any way he could. He was sent to fight with the Pakistani Military against the Indians. Walker then went to Afghanistan and made his way to the Taliban recruiting center, but because he only spoke Arabic and not the local dialects he was assigned to fight with Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda group. He was offered many options but decided to stay and fight on the front lines against the Northern Alliance. It was here where he was captured by the United States military and his journey ended. I want to explore why and what lead him to a life of this kind.

Having these facts at hand I can now understand the road that John took on his way to becoming the American Taliban. He grew up in an upper middle class society where McWorld flourishes. Being the independent free thinker that he was he was able to decide for himself what was right and wrong in his own mind. McWorld's values of money worship and greed made him repulsed by American society and forced him to find other options that would further his mind and spirit. There is nothing that stimulates your mind that comes from McWorld. I do not think that he was pleased with what was going on around him and was ready for a major change in his life. John began to look around for an alternative life that could be more rewarding for him and one which would rid his life of the corruption and overall misery that McWorld gave him. That major change came in the form of Islam and for John it was a great distraction from the blur that is McWorld. He was able to distance himself from the uniform of McWorld and be the intellectually minded person that his new life called for. He eventually abandoned the United States and left McWorld behind, or so he thought. You cannot leave out Jihad when speaking of McWorld and vice versa, his journey towards Jihad was all part of McWorld.

How in fact did he find Jihad? One of McWorld's greatest tools, the Internet, helped him find his way. McWorld's concepts of globalization brought these two worlds so tightly together that the overlapped. Through the Internet John was able to find this alternative life that he so greatly needed. Without the use of computers and the Internet how would he have accessed the chat rooms where he later found the schools that could help him better understand Islam. McWorld is like the needle to the world, stitching and weaving every corner of the globe to an overwhelming closely nit society where there are no loopholes that you can get lost in. What I am trying to say is that Maybe John did not know exactly where he needed to go to achieve spiritual purity but McWorld knew exactly where to send him on his quest.

The reason that John had so easily found his home with Jihad was because of the "narrow casting" of products that McWorld distributes. The sites that John visited to find his way were aimed directly at him. One of McWorld's goals is to find a profitable market for every possible audience and to make it readily available. You can see that this was not at all difficult to be lead down the wrong path because you might not know where that particular path will take you. Maybe you cannot really fault McWorld, all that they were doing is offering shopping alternatives for their globalized markets. John was just simply a part of that market and did not know that he was contributing to the very thing that he was looking to escape. John was trying to find his sense of nationalism that McWorld could not provide him with. How would John ever have found his Jihad if McWorld would did not stretch the international borders so that the United States and Afghanistan were practically touching? The systems of communication that he used are the perfect ingredients for profit in the world that he left behind. Taking an even closer look into his way to Jihad, how did he literally get there? He got a flight and took it to his destination. The travel agency that he took was also part of McWorld. It seems to me that the whole time he was trying to get out of McWorld he kept dragging it along with him wherever he went. He was writing to his parent's asking them for money that was sent directly to him via McWorld. These co-existing forces were aiding each other and fighting each other at the same time, becoming closer and closer every minute. This makes no sense to me what are the reasons for this battle because it never gets anywhere except where it started. It is like Jihad and McWorld are patting each other on the back and at the same time punching each other in the face. I guess you could say that McWorld was aiding and abiding the very dangerous jihadi fighter John Walker Lindh.

Once John arrived in Jihad he had started his quest for knowledge and looked to others for advice. Muslims are influenced by the people around them and whoever they lean on to answer their Islamic questions. I do not know who led him to Afghanistan but it does not matter because I don't buy the fact that he got around the conventional way or that he was in contact with these people by walking around the Middle East. Just the plain fact that he traveled thousands of miles to arrive at Jihad give me indication that Jihad is also very closely tied together for the purpose of Holy Jihad. All of these actions taken by John and company are very connected with McWorld.

So I find myself asking the question who is to blame for putting this misguided young man in the position he is now? Is it McWorld for instigating this war by inflicting misery and suffering on Afghanistan seeking political interests? Or is it Jihad for continuing to fight this pointless war that they cannot even justify as a holy war? All I can come up with here is that they both are to blame because they are practically the same exact entity. Always seeking each other out only to help each other in their pursuits. They become eternal enemies and feed each other's growth every day.