Firstly, I’d like to get the whole Paris thing out of the way. What happened over the weekend of 14-15/11/2015 was an abomination. Nothing more. The people who were directly involved and those animals who convinced them to blow themselves up or shoot innocent civilians need executing… No more, no less. The 130 or so victims and their friends and family have my condolences, without reservation, not that it means much in the grand scheme of things. The dead will still be dead and the living will still be scared.
If you’re holding an event, or a silence, or if you’ve changed your Facebook picture to feature the Tricolore then it’s brilliant, especially if it makes you feel better about the situation or yourself… It’s great… You should totally do it – You probably shouldn’t do it if you’ve felt in any way pressured to do it, or you’re only doing it if everyone else is doing it and you’re worried about what people will think of you (See wearing a poppy). But hey, that’s just my opinion and what do I know when it comes down to it? I’m just a fat, bald bloke who goes on about his unimportant thoughts.
What I’ve been thinking about recently are the other terrible things that have happened recently that no-one seems to give a toss about.
You’d have had to have searched the news pretty hard to find out about the mass grave that’s just been found in Sinjar in Iraq, where the bodies of 70 or so elderly Yazidi women were found… Executed for the crime of being too old to be sold as sex-slaves by ISIS (or Daesh as people would have us call them this week – I wish these terrorist organisation would pick a name and stick with it… Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL… I can’t keep up) I’ve only seen one person who’s – very bravely in my opinion, changed their Facebook profile pic to the Iraqi flag to show solidarity with them.
As it happens, I’ve seen a couple of Lebanese flags too. What? You hadn’t heard that anything had happened in Lebanon? Now you’re wondering if you even know where Lebanon is. Well, does it help if I tell you that their capital city is Beirut? People of a certain age may well have used the phrase ‘It looked like bloody Beirut.’ to imply that a place was messy… As if a bomb had gone off possibly, at one time or another. Very popular in the 70’s were phrases like that – I’ve used it myself on occasion. Just before the weekend there was an ISIS twin bomb-attack on the Burj al-Barajneh district of downtown Beirut. Admittedly, it only killed 40-odd people, but it did injure another 240, so that got the numbers up nicely – Should really have been worthy of some column inches somewhere other than in The Guardian don’t you think?
Then there was that nastiness with the Russian plane flying out of Egypt… You’ll have seen that on the news surely? But did anyone change their Profile picture for that? Although I’ll freely admit that I probably wouldn’t recognise a Russian flag if someone wrapped me in one and put a stitch through my lip – Back in my day it was a big, red affair with the hammer and sickle on it, but I gather it has stripes and everything now, it’s very post-modern – But I’m sure I would have remembered a minute’s silence for the 224 people who were blown to pieces by ISIS there.
Why France but not Lebanon or Iraq? It probably wasn’t because they were ‘only’ Arabs or some made-up Zoroastrian type religion that they don’t cover in British RE lessons. Might it be because they were Middle-Eastern ‘Stone age’ type people who live in the dust and have livestock roaming about the place and read squiggly lines rather than good, honest western-type letters? The world’s not really going to miss people like that are they? It’d save us a fortune in aid if they all just kept blowing each other up wouldn’t it?
And the Russians? Is that just because they’re Bond Villains? They’re not men, women and children who were just flying home, moaning about having to go back to work in the office on Monday, or excitedly talking about the time that little Ludmilla trod on that sandcastle that her brother had taken an hour to make and he cried then tried to punch her.
And don’t get me started on Israel Vs Palestine – I’m really not sure whose side we’re supposed to be on at the minute – Is it the one that we sell guns to, or is it the ones who were flinging their sandals in the air and cheering on Sept 11th? – I can’t keep up with that either.
What really gets me is the reaction from all the British people who have the perfect answer to it all. Whether it be killing all the ‘Muslins’, Daubing Nazi symbols on Bangladeshi shops or bombing ISIS back to the stone age.
There’s two problems with that last one:
- They’re pretty much already in the stone age (see above)
- They look exactly like the plucky indigenous people that we’re trying to defend… You know, the people who are running away from it all, helping us out by trying not to die so that we don’t have to feel guilty about them. When questioned, they will often reply “ISIS? No, not me squire, I’m a pomegranate salesman.”
We’re 100% at war, we’re at war with an armed group who have no issue with killing innocents (because they don’t really see anyone other than themselves as innocents). But we’re not at war with a country. If we were, we could just turn Syria or Afghanistan into car-parks in short order. We have the technology. We could do it from space probably, just to be sure.
We’re not even at war with a religion. If we were, we’d be quite within our rights to have a crusade or at least a nice cuddly pogrom… We could put everyone who stops work every ten minutes and ululates towards Mecca to the sword and have done with it.
But we’re at war with an idea… A way of interpreting words in a book. Can you kill an idea with bombs? You can kill the people who have that idea with bombs certainly. But you have to find and kill every single person who has that idea. And the people who’ve ever heard the idea – In case they ever decide that it’s a good idea. Then you’d also need to kill the children of the people who’ve ever heard the idea – Because they’ll be bound to wonder why you killed their parents and they might get a bit shirty about it in the future and no-one wants that do they? Not the whole thing starting all over again.
Do they? Powerful things these ideas, aren't they?