It’s been a week now and there has been a lot of noise. Since the rounds were fired in the Bataclan, the screams of those innocent people have been replaced with the constant drum of empty rhetoric. From apologists, to commentators, to politicians, to preachers, to sympathisers, to bigots, to well-wishers, to aid-givers, to you. Everyone has something to say and someone to blame for what happened around the world (NOTE: not just Paris) on Friday 13th when nearly 115,000 died.
Whilst it is interesting to see the world responding to what is going on, no one is actually listening. I have been silent all week, refusing to talk about the attacks, not with the intention of ignoring it, but with the aspiration of absorbing as much information as possible. It is the tendency of many, like in an auction, to be the first to put in their bid for an opinion. Although getting there first in this case is not likely to yield any reward.
This week we have seen more bombs dropped on Syria, more attacks in Iraq and Lebanon, tighter restrictions of freedoms in France, heavier surveillance around the world and a shift of attitude towards those of the Islamic faith. 115,000 people have died and the reaction was to strike again, to continue this escapade for bloodshed, as if this is likely to put a stop to it all. It breaks my heart.
Even having this conversation with my family, I have visibly seen the fear and anger in their eyes when they say that we have to get to them before they get to us. The understanding that violence is justified if the ‘right’ people are being killed. However, where is the accountability for the thousands of lives that have been taken by Western powers during my lifetime? Where are the investigations into manipulation, extortion, lying, torture and falsification that now surround every war that we have fought in the 21st Century? The two sides of a warzone leaves nothing but devastation.
There is no reason that will ever be able to justify the deaths of the people who were sadly taken in Paris, Lebanon and Baghdad last week, whether ISIS claim the attacks or not. For me, there is absolutely no justification for killing, whether it be in retaliation or not. I don’t accept that in order to end this, we need to forcibly destroy every individual that claims to think a certain way. Ideas are more powerful than bullets, and we cannot just extinguish them.
I have turned off a lot of my feeds and I haven’t changed my profile picture. I think it is best if we take some time to understand what has happened, and really decide what it is that we want before we do anything else. Do we want to get even or do we want to be safe? These are not mutually exclusive.
Watch your governments and use reliable media. Don’t get caught up in rhetoric that uses fear as its catalyst. There will be plenty of people that will be telling you what you want to hear, but not what needs to be done.
Rebuilding the world starts with forgiveness. And forgiveness is an idea that transcends all hatred and fear.
For me, that is much more powerful than any bomb or bullet.