‘Nail Bomber Manhunt’ Summary & Analysis: RIGHT-WING TERRORISM


The documentary Nail Bomber Manhunt takes us through the 1999 London bombings. Minority communities were the target of the bombings mainly. It shook the foundation of a democratic nation, and people couldn’t fathom how such a thing could happen in a civilized country. Neither the government nor the authorities had any clue about who was behind these dastardly acts. Daniel Vernon has directed the documentary and tried to take a deeper look at what goes inside the brain of a right-wing extremist. 

Understanding Dave Copeland

A guy named Dave Copeland was accused of causing the bombings. The officials start to question him and find him highly repugnant and, at times, erratic. Dave loathes specific fragments of the society, and he is very clear and unabashed about it. When asked if he hates the LGBTQ community, he says “yes,” like a deadpan. He says it in such a casual manner that it is the most righteous and morally correct thing to do. When asked why he hates them so much, he says, “I am homophobic. I just them.” The sentence defines pretty much what Dave stands for. He was a youngster in his early 20s, and still, he had an unwavering mindset filled with hate. Generally, people like these are a classic example of brainwashing, and in this case, too, something similar had happened. 

The British National Party 

The BNP knew precisely where it had to tap for winning the elections. They were very clear about their agenda. They wanted to play the politics of hate. That’s how you divide people. That’s how you win the allegiance of a community. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that their ideologies did align with the concept of Nazism. The BNP brainwashed the youth and made them believe that white people were superior to every other race. Their policy was to send the immigrants back to their native country, and if that is not possible, then terminate them. Hate speeches were made in the hope that somebody would get moved by it and take an extreme route. Dave Copeland molded their hate into a physical form and became the Nail Bomber, who laid havoc on the streets of London. 

An Un-caped Crusader

Searchlight was a private intelligence operation that monitored the fascist groups. After the first bomb went off on 17th April 1999 in Brixton, an unnamed man called Searchlight volunteered to help. He was told to join the far right to get an idea of what the BNP was going to do next. And that’s what he did. He sacrificed his whole life to prevent the country from the wrath of racist groups. He knew that the cost of doing it would be impossible. He knew that he would never be able to tell his real identity to society. He knew that it was a covert operation, and the world will consider him to be a Nazi. He went ahead with his decision and saved the world, leading towards an inevitable genocide. He still lives in the shadows and is afraid of revealing his real identity. And as they say, some heroes don’t wear capes. 

Nail Bomber Manhunt is an intriguing documentary as it not only states facts but takes us deeper into the mindsets of two contradictory personalities. It reiterates a fundamental fact, i.e., we do not have the luxury to be apolitical in this age and era. If the reins of a nation are not kept in the hands of sane people, then history wouldn’t take much time to repeat itself. And that is something we want the least. Streaming on Netflix, do give it a watch.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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