Like every other sane person on the planet, I am appalled at the carnage in Paris. It is almost beyond words that some human beings could be so brutal and vicious in praise of their God and religion, but it happens.
How does it happen? What is it meant to achieve?
Well, it happens when you have people who have lived brutalized lives who have little education or world knowledge, who are taught the paradigm that there is a next world, and that’s all that matters. Everyone they know and care about believes this, and because of that, they are convinced that their own lives are worthless, or next to worthless.
Why do they become terrorists and mass murderers? The same reason that teen girls become pregnant. Because it gives them some status in a world or culture that otherwise gives them none.
It is the mass delusion – created in a vacuum where there is no proper debate and discussion. It happened in Germany. It happened here. It will happen again.
We all have a tendency to believe the ideas of those closest to us – even if we have doubt. The more diversity we experience in people we know, love and trust, the more we question everybody and begin to think for ourselves.
But what were ISIS trying to achieve with all this death and destruction. I’m not going to get into that here. If you want an in-depth examination of that, check out this article which is really good on the thought processes behind ISIS.
But in general, what the terrorists want is even more violence than what they just perpetrated. Therefore, they want the repression that they hope will follow, of moderates within their own group. They want to radicalize such people, and they only way they can do that is to force their opponent into a backlash against their own people, in this case Muslims who live in Europe, particularly France.
If they can get the French government to over-react, they can then radicalize these people by saying “Look at how they repress you and persecute you.”
We had it in Ireland for many years – the pointless, destructive violence that destroyed lives and kept us in the Dark Ages. Peace comes dripping slow.
But we can’t despair. We are the hope of the billions who never get a chance to learn to read and write, much less work on a computer. We, the First World, owe it to everyone else on the planet to maintain our ideas of freedom and diversity, so that others may aspire to it, and eventually have it.
France is the country that gave the world some of these ideas – liberty, equality and freedom. They were a beacon for the American revolution and the Irish one. My hope is that they will not take let their justifiable anger lead them into a repression of French Muslims in general, or refugees, or people who happen to have brown skin.
My guess is that the French (government and military) will take its revenge somewhere. I hope not, but I can see then doing that. In Syria, perhaps. Or by killing some ISIS leader.
We have just seen the first action in a war that might run a long time. There can be no appeasement of ISIS. But let’s hope that the French take the fight to ‘terrorism’, and not whole communities of innocent human beings, be they Muslims or refugees. And Ireland, like everywhere else, should offer them every help and support we can to them to help them defeat the brutality and nihilism of ISIS.
My deepest sympathy to all my French friends and to all the bereaved and their families in Paris. We are all French now.