Saturday 14 November 2015
Terrorist atrocities in Paris
Last Thursday, the Marseillaise was sung in quiet squares and towns around France. We remembered the dead who had fought for our liberty against an oppressor. Against a regime filled with hate and ambition. A regime without mercy for the weak, the ill, the people who stood in its way. Who would not hesitate to murder and burn and bomb and destroy in the name of victory. The first world war was called 'the war to end all wars' when it finally came to a close at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month but within just 21 years again the world was plunged into a bloodbath by another despotic leader with a 'world' view. A world with himself at the head. And there were so many people ready to follow him. He was loved by his people. Looking back now at video tape of Hitler, you wonder what on earth people saw in him. What made them follow him into Hell, to rip their country apart, to lose their young to the guns and their people and cities to bombs. It was a collective madness and the World had to rise up to stop him.
And again, we find ourselves facing an insidious hatred but this regime has many faces. And it does not just centre its hatred on a religious group. It hates universally. It hates everything that is not itself. And instead of using bombs, it uses people who believe in the 'cause' more than in their own self preservation. Who are led to believe that by going into public places filled with people, ordinary people living ordinary lives, but who have committed the sin of having a different belief system, that they are fulfilling their part in a 'holy' war against 'infidels'.
At the Bataclan theatre, which suffered the worst casualties, one man described what happened. The gunmen were at the back of the theatre, dressed totally in black, carrying assault rifles. They were unmasked, showing that they intended to destroy themselves before capture. They fired in systematic bursts, spraying the people in front of them. The theatre is small, holding about 1000 people. There was pandemonium as some tried to run away and many threw themselves on the floor. The gunmen then started shooting the people on the ground. The man said he hid under some bodies and then, when the gunmen stopped to reload, ran up on the stage and into a side room. They were horrified to find that there was no exit. They waited for the gunmen to reload again and ran out, over many more bodies, to the side exit. It was a bloodbath. He said, as he hid under bodies, he watched the nearest gunman. He was perhaps 17 or 18 years old. Face completely impassive.
The full report is here Paris Murder Attacks - Guardian report
I was also touched by this report Where else has ISIS been active - The simple fact is, Muslims are far more likely to die at the hands of other Muslims – or more to the point, Islamic extremists who bear no resemblance to average Muslims. They’re also more likely to be killed by Westerners, who are seeking to kill Islamic extremists. The difference is, they’re unlikely to see an outpouring of grief in Australia, or most of the rest of the world. But unlike Parisians, they already live in a state of perpetual terror. That’s why many of them have fled the Middle East for Europe. Westerners are finally being given just a small taste of the constant fear that people from other nations have endured for generations. So solidarity with, and compassion for, the French is a good thing. But solidarity and compassion for the victims of terrorism everywhere is even better, in particular those who’ve fallen victim to the terrorism sponsored in all our names.
These gunmen would call themselves followers of Allah and say that they are conducting a holy war. They are also known as extremists and militants. But the cold fact is that they have murdered thousands of people all over the world - most of them Muslims, so how does that work? France is being targeted because of its involvement in Syria. Islamic State has millions of dollars at its disposal and a fund of disaffected young men and women who are ready to die for the cause. It is virtually impossible to stop gunmen with twisted ideologies but what we can do is watch our young people - who they are associating with, are they becoming radicalised, who are they talking to on the internet? Cut off the supply of human weaponry at its base.. And we can refuse to let back in people who have been out to places known for Islamic extremism. We need to toughen up and contain every suspect - one of the gunmen was a known sympathiser. Why was he running around the streets? Did their families and friends not know what they were doing? This is a very old plant with very deep roots, said a friend of mine, it needs a new approach It is no longer the time for keeping quiet. We all need to raise arms and start digging away at the roots.