Friday, July 20, 2007

Carlos the Jackal

The mere mention of the name should send shivers throughout the western world. Their secret service agents hunting for this elusive criminal mastermind, who has caused much havoc in the world. And until recently I thought he was just a fictional character.

The original Jackal was introduced to the world by Frederick Forsythe in his masterpiece “The Day of the Jackal”, published in 1971. In it “The Jackal” is a master assassin whose identity is a mystery, and he is hired by some terrorists to assassinate the then president of France, Charles de Gaulle. While he makes the assassination plans, the secret service agents are trying to stop him from carrying them out. In the end his plan doesn’t exactly go his way and the Jackal dies. That should have been the end of it, but fortunately or unfortunately the Jackal was reborn into reality and became immortalized.

During the seventies there was guy named Vladimir Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, who was starting out in the terrorism business. Born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1942, his father was a devout Marxists, hence the names Vladimir Ilich. During the course of his life he became involved with guerilla warfare which led to the life of terrorism. To make things short, he did the usual terrorists stuff, and made the good guys angry. So the good guys made it their number one priority to catch him. Somewhere along this cat and mouse game, they reportedly found a copy of “The Day of the Jackal” among some of his belongings. That small insignificant find helped to make Ramirez Sanchez the most well know baddie at the time, thanks to the friendly media. They got hold of this information and made him into the larger than life person that he has become.

So now the spy novelists and movie makers have a new bad guy to toy around with. Many novels and movies featured him (or the character) as a lead player in the plot. Two of these (which I have read) is Tom Clancy’s “Rainbow Six” and Robert Ludlum’s “Bourne Ultimatum” the final book of the Bourne Trilogy. (Supposedly Carlos is featured in the first two books as well, but still have to get my hands on them :)...). In both of these books, his real name Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, is used.

Read more about the real life of a terrorist

I seriously didn’t know that this guy was real, and thought all these authors were resurrecting the character created by Frederick Forsythe. For one thing I guess he is old news. He was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1997 and he is still there in a prison somewhere in France. Furthermore these days there are much worst terrorist and nutcases around to keep the news media happy. Same also goes for the authors and film makers. As the times change, new bad guys will take the center stage and the old ones are given the boot. Out with Carlos and the Soviet communist cronies and in with Osama, Saddam and the Jihad Gang. After that? Who knows what new maniac the future will give us. Until that time comes, the “War on terror” should keep the storylines moving forward for a long time.


Lady divine said...

you seem to be the kind who reads a lot.. and that's good to know..:-)

You've enlightened me a lot.. now all i need is the material and time..:-)

Azrael said...

Yep... Reading is me #1 hobby.

Time is a problem for all of us...but I try to get in at least a few pages before hitting the sack :D