I don't like being pushed into posting the tricolour to express my feeling about the murders in Paris. I didn't say 'Je Suis Charlie' I dislike the ideas of Charlie Hebdo and I dislike very much French republicanism. Instead I posted on Facebook as my cover picture this picture I took recently of a to me charming derelict building in Beirut.
The bomb in Beirut was a great shock to me as 3 weeks ago I spent 48 hours in Beirut The bomb in Paris is a very much greater shock, an act of war aimed at Europe and will be probably be followed by further similar things for years to come. The Yazidi mass grave is a very terrible thing.
Someone I don't know said this on Facebook. i thought it was blackly funny but it was not intended to be. How scared people are of being unfair.
Ok. So I think I need a break from Facebook for a while. I am fed up with links and shares from people who clearly feel they have the moral upper hand. Paris was shocking. No argument and I wasn't more shocked by that than Syria or anywhere else and I don't care more about the French than the Syrians. I don't care more because the people who died in France are more likely to be white. Don't make that assumption about me. I guess we are so shocked because Paris is so close geographically. But also because we simply care that people (whatever their background) have been mindlessly murdered by a bunch of cowardly, selfish fuckwits whose backgrounds have no doubt made them vulnerable to manipulation. Perhaps also we feel more powerful to stop things in our own countries than in others so we shout louder. Who knows?Simple religion is not at the heart of this. Wars of religion have been fought for centuries and I would personally say true Christians/Muslims/Jews/Hindus and anyone else, if they examined their religion would not have a bar of it. Not that I really know as I have never read a full religious text. But it is what I like to think.
Ok. So I changed my picture to include the French flag. I want to show my support. It still doesn't mean I care less about Syria or people from whatever religion or anywhere else. I wouldn't have thought about it unless Facebook offered it. Facebook 's no doubt bias I am sure (?) But had I been offered the option with the Kenya shooting or other senseless atrocities I would probably have done the same. But I wasn't so I didn't think about it. Who cared about the Russian probable bomb? Probably more murders. They are white but no surge on facebook. Maybe Russians are less important? Why is that do you think? Why do I feel the need to justify myself?
A man with a Muslim name posted a long status from which this is an excerpt.
Someone else on a political journalist's on Facebook wall had another solution to European-Arab enmity.
It's like a bad Monty Python sketch:
"We did this because our holy texts exhort us to to do it."
"No you didn't."
"Wait, what? Yes we did..."
"No, this has nothing to do with religion. You guys are just using religion as a front for social and geopolitical reasons."
"WHAT!? Did you even read our official statement? We give explicit Quranic justification. This is jihad, a holy crusade against pagans, blasphemers, and disbelievers."
"No, this is definitely not a Muslim thing. You guys are not true Muslims, and you defame a great religion by saying so."
"Huh!? Who are you to tell us we're not true Muslims!? Islam is literally at the core of everything we do, and we have implemented the truest most literal and honest interpretation of its founding texts. It is our very reason for being."
"Nope. We created you. We installed a social and economic system that alienates and disenfranchises you, and that's why you did this. We're sorry."
Long term, the only effective weapon is to reduce the perception of ourselves as an enemy. In the long term, learning Arabic is a powerful solution to disrupting the sense of blanket identity that is conferred upon the West. I am working on a programme that enables learning a complex new language through a network of techniques and a new framework that will enable those who can make time to learn good Arabic in 1-2 months. If you'd like to guarantee to be part of the solution, an improved social fabric, understanding of the Middle-East that will inform improved foreign policy, and a Europe that is too communicative and cohesive to be viewed as or to act as an 'enemy', this is something you can do as an individual.