In Memoriam

Once again, as so often in the bloody history of the human race, the innocent are paying the price of prejudice with their lives.

French FlagIt has been said, in words more expertly crafted than mine, that what makes us civilised is our ability to mourn the loss of a stranger. It’s natural to mourn the loss of those we love, especially to a violent, pointless, ceaseless battle of overpowering ideology against casual, indifferent tolerance. What comes harder is to mourn those we do not know, to feel their loss as a diminution of mankind.

We are told again and again that the moral compass the terrorists use is a religion of peace. The slaughter of 120+ innocents is not an act of peace. Do we believe the words or the actions? If they do not truly represent the principles of their moral code, should they not be loudly denounced, ostracised, discredited and cast off by those who share that code? But the voices are silent…

I repudiate an ideology which seeks to destroy or repress on the basis of difference, which thinks that I should die because I do not and will not think as its proponents do. And I mourn the slaughter of ‘friends I had not yet met’.

I’m not advocating reciprocal violence. I’m not condemning nations, religions or individuals, except those who incite or commit murder. I do want someone to explain what the Paris bombers hoped to achieve, preferably without ranting, preaching or name-calling. But as that is unlikely to happen, I must remain forever stunned by the sheer pointlessness of the act. Does anyone reasonable think more favourably of the terrorist cause as a result of it?

I leave you with the best words I know on the subject.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Vive La France.


20 thoughts on “In Memoriam

  1. Magpie Sue says:

    No, no one reasonable thinks more favorably of “the cause” behind these mindless acts of violence and murder. The problem is that the perpetrators of these tragedies are acting without the benefit of rational thought.

  2. katechiconi says:

    The scale of the rage and hatred behind these acts is unthinkable. I have trouble believing that there could ever be an end to it because discussion, compromise and tolerance are unknown to them. Nothing short of total capitulation will satisfy them. How can we achieve peace against that?

  3. tialys says:

    I can’t think of anything to add to your thoughts.
    My neighbour has relatives in Paris and drove off early yesterday morning so I hope that doesn’t mean bad news for him personally.
    How can you reason with the unreasonable?

    • katechiconi says:

      That’s what makes me despair. For them there are only two options: we submit, or we die.
      I would like them to take their opinions somewhere else. Preferably the coldest regions of hell.

  4. Lorij says:

    Kate, I agree. Totally senseless slaughter. I am astounded that these persons can be so cold and cruel. I think the coldest region of and place is too Good for them. They need to have what they have done done to them!!!!!!

  5. Lorij says:

    Should say, of any place

  6. Grannymar says:

    I could not put my swirling thoughts to print until today, I worried they would not settle as I wanted to do and I didn’t want to be a fool rushing in before the details were known.

    As my friend Padmini said: “There is violence in thought, word and deed. Look at the huge success of violence in books, in media, in movies, in merchandising, toys, racing cars, sports….all aimed at macho youth and regressive behaviour….how can we build a peaceful society?”

    • katechiconi says:

      For me, it’s less about the violence, which as you say, is endemic, and more about what it’s intended to achieve and represent. I cannot see a good end to this, and it makes me tremble for the future. I am glad I have no children to leave this mess to…

      • Grannymar says:

        I tremble too, but try not let it drag me back to the dark hole that I struggled for years to drag myself out of by my fingernails, when Jack died. Mind you I hide it well with a smile on my face

      • katechiconi says:

        You have done well, then. I cannot stay hopeless long with the beauty of the world around me to console me…

  7. […] Kate Chiconi for Mackay, North Queensland sent to me a lovely rainbow taken over her home. […]

  8. dayphoto says:

    You are my post today. Well said. The world is shattered at this horrible deed.

    ┊  ★

  9. Lorij says:

    Or world is in a sad state of affairs. Seems that only just a few love their fellow man. Maybe if we are examples of kindness to others it will catch on and spread. I’m saddened for all those who lost family members to this awful senselessness.

  10. EllaDee says:

    Not only am I saddened by the loss of lives of our fellow strangers in Paris and Beirut most recently as well as via other acts of violence and wars, I lament the wound to all our hearts & spirits which absorb the losses and process the grief of man’s inhumanity to man.

    • katechiconi says:

      We keep hoping against all the evidence that mankind is rational, when in fact we are largely driven by emotion: fear, xenophobia, greed, hatred, desire for power… It is easy to drive a mob with emotion, but so much harder to rein it back with rationality, especially when the first impulse in reacting to terror is to fight back, to defend, which, while it is perfectly understandable, can only escalate the horror. I grieve, not just for France and her children, but for all of us, that we have come to such a dreadful crossroads.

  11. We are one being. The bell tolls for us all. Thanks for this.

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