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