Written on the 16th of November, this is the December 2015 piece for Chicago’s ‘Irish American News.’
It is, of course, too soon to attempt any kind of serious, objective article on the Paris outrage; but on the 16th of November, as I write this, I’m already over the deadline.
I’m also, like most thinking people, still both stunned at the ferocity of the attacks and hampered by the sheer angry helplessness that I feel in the wake of them. And much of that anger is directed at our Western leaders who for years now – and in particular since the rise of Islamic State from local power to global threat over a mere 18-month period – have shown themselves to be unwilling to address in a realistic manner what has been unleashed upon us.
I’m not going to get into the argument that keeps being thrown at me, which says that I don’t get so upset over the loss of lives in Syria. I’ve talked about that elsewhere.
I’m not some paragon of virtue. I don’t have an endless well of compassion to draw on as regards every single injustice in this world. And no one has; not even those who seem to have taken on the role of professional bleeding hearts for every single cause. You know — the ones who bedeck themselves in some inane symbol to be worn on the lapel and God help you if you choose the freedom to NOT wear one.
So it’s only human of me to feel more empathy towards those in the streets of Paris than those in Iraq. Our enemies have hit at us through our love of life’s simple pleasures, the Paris attacks make that obvious: they don’t want us to enjoy music or sports or a chat in a café. It’s no accident that venues catering for these things were the places hit. And since music or movies or a meal out are the things that I care for myself, then yes — I’m going to feel more for poor innocent folk who die because of their simple enjoyments.
I was reminded recently that the very first article – well over a decade ago – that I did for the ‘Irish American News’ warned of the dangers of how soft we were in our response to the growing threat from militant Islam. I went to look for it recently only to discover that it was on floppy disc and I couldn’t retrieve it. ‘Floppy disc’: it seemed like some weird and ancient archaeological artifact that I had come upon. How the world has changed since then and seldom for the better. And we have continued to be relatively complacent as long as what happened didn’t happen on our doorsteps.
Just prior to Paris last week I listened in bafflement to arguments saying that if we only made the effort to understand these people who hate us that it would be better: if we could make sure that all have jobs or live in nice surroundings then maybe they would stop being quite so darned beastly to us. It was like listening to a ’60s nostalgia-head reminiscing about being at a peace-and-love Mamas and the Papas concert.
Are we STILL not getting it? Peace and harmony and that enjoyment of innocent pleasures are the LAST thing our enemies want. And why in Hell’s name are we still talking about our attackers as if every one of them is some poor impoverished victim? Look at how many of these fanatics have come from extremely wealthy families.
We could hand them everything on a nice big silver platter and they would still hate us. Accept that.
And as if that were bad enough, President Obama tells us the day BEFORE the Paris murders: “What is true is that from the start our goal has been to contain and we have contained them.”
That anyone at all could come out with such simplistic and naive nonsense is worrying; that the President of the United States can do so is terrifying.
Let’s have a look at some things that John R. Bradley (author of After the Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts) had to say this week. After pointing out that the area they control is about twice the size of Ireland and with a population of six million, he wrote:
“Governed by Sharia law based on a literal interpretation of the Koran, it is defended by a fanatical army that may be 200,000 strong. They are fired up by a fantasy of returning the world to how they imagine it was during the lifetime of their Prophet, more than 1,400 years ago.
“Their motivation for unbridled violence is as simple as it is portentous: to eradicate, or enslave, all of the world’s population that does not subscribe to their extremist interpretation of Islam.
“And that includes Muslims of other sects, who until now have borne the brunt of their notoriously savage acts of slaughter – recorded and broadcast for the entire world to witness.” By attacking westerners on a Tunisian beach and in Paris, these Islamic State assassins have launched the opening salvo in a new and terrifying kind of war that is aimed at everything we value.
“Most chillingly, it will likely last for years, if not decades.”
And if you feel like opening an ‘honest and transparent debate’ with that lot then you’re a more optimistic person than I am.
I was one of those who opposed our involvement in Iraq and remain convinced that it was an insane response to an insane situation. In a twist of that old World War I comment, we sent in lions led by donkeys who knew there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction. The sight of the now perma-tanned, mass murderering outright liar Tony Blair still freely roaming the globe, amassing more and more wealth, makes me nauseous. Yet I wonder would our current mess all have developed thus eventually in any case?
And in unison with something I wrote elsewhere only a couple of months ago, Bradley again this week:
“And then consider the breathtaking hypocrisy of our continued support for that atrocious human rights abuser Saudi Arabia, which continues to funnel money and arms to preposterously called ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria in the name of bringing about democracy.”
But let’s not leave the last words to the murdering terrorist pigs in our midst. Let’s hear from Katie Healy, who was at the concert in the Bataclan Theatre and whose boyfriend David Nolan was the only Irish man to be shot, though thankfully only wounded:
“People we stood with and danced with died; and we watched them die as we just lay there and played dead. We’re beyond lucky.”
Katie described how David threw himself over her as they twice went to the floor.
How nice – in this warped world where fools bandy about the word ‘hero’ and go into raptures because some reality TV star has changed his sex – to for once be able to use the word HERO in its proper context.