Many things can be learned from the attacks in Paris, that the so called Islamic State have the capacity to strike at the heart of Europe but also that people are capable of incredible and eye opening solidarity and kindness in light of a horrific act against humanity. However, it is my rather unpleasant task to address those who feel that a political statement needs to be made against those standing in solidarity with the victims and those left in the wake of the Paris attacks, those who use these attacks to further their incredibly bigoted, narrow and utterly devoid of reality worldview. And no, I am not talking about the degenerate scum in groups like the Front National or similar fascist groups, I do not need to address the predictable stupidity of those groups. I am talking about those apparently on the “left” (for as much as I abhor the phrase), or as Maajid Nawaz called, the “regressive left”. I feel I should address a couple of points regarding the attitudes shown by these pathetic fools. I will address the views of “selected humanity/solidarity”, that “terrorism has no religion” and the “the west is to blame for this attack”.
Firstly, on the view that those showing solidarity for Paris are actually being deliberately selective. This is utter rubbish, and flat out insulting to people whom are merely trying to show support to those who have lived through absolute hell. The justification that these shows of solidarity are “selective humanity and selective sympathy” are that “these people didn’t show solidarity for X, Y or Z atrocity committed at the same time”. Now I completely agree that the media’s reporting on tragedy is insanely unbalanced, and many horrific but very important acts often get very little, if any mention, by the mainstream media in the UK. Now this is mainly down to geographical bias, but also in the case of the Paris attack the very nature of an attack in a peaceful democracy thousands of miles from the conflict that spawned it is another aspect for increased attention. I am NOT arguing that this exempts and redeems the media from their otherwise incredibly shoddy coverage of international relations (as a student of IR, believe me it frustrates me more than most), but the emphasis here is on the MEDIA (that includes Facebook for having a very limited option regarding placing a flag on a profile picture). I have seen relentless and vile posts blaming this phenomena on regular people, with absolutely no say in matters of the media. This not only falsely tars regular people with tags like “selective humanity” or even worse, outright racism, but completely ignores the actual source of this problem. Furthermore, I would like to point out that the vast majority of these big bloggers etc who are throwing around these accusations of “selective humanity” will not addressed the mass grave of Yazidi women brutally murdered by IS recently found (more info here http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/15/iraq-yazidi-mass-grave-sinjar-kocho) or the car bomb in the capital of Somalia late last month (more info here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-34691602), or just about any other recent atrocity come to think of it. These hypocrites only speak up when others are showing solidarity, now that’s true selective humanity.
Secondly, I would like to address the myth that “terrorism has no religion”. Now it is important to stress before I start that I absolutely am NOT saying that “Islam is terrorism” or anything of the like, I’ll leave that to the imbecile reactionaries of Britain First and their disgusting ilk. What I feel is a better way of framing the issue is “terrorism CAN HAVE a religion”. Equally, it can have no religion, but the important point to stress is it possible to commit terrorism because of religious beliefs. In the case of IS, the religious influence of Salafist and Wahhabist ideologies are all too clear to see. To deny these links is to not only be intellectually dishonest but also at a higher level to risk the problem never being solved. If there is a coalition of the willing that intervenes on the ground against IS and the group is defeated, what does every suppose will happen next? Will the entire issue of terrorism in the name of Islamism (note, NOT Islam) simply disappear? No. Of course it won’t. Another group will rise to take arms under the same cause with a different flag. In order to truly create a lasting solution to the problem, we first have to actually acknowledge that a problem exists, and that the Islamist sects of Salafism and Wahhabism are radicalising people into a crusade to establish a worldwide caliphate. I stress the upmost importance of remembering that the vast majority of muslims are not Islamists, and are ordinary members of society like any of us, who just chose to go about their spiritual life in a slightly different way. However, the idea that we need to mollycoddle Muslims by failing to acknowledge that an ideology, Islamism, that shares some similarities but calls for absolute barbarism exists is not only insulting to Muslims (it denies them the agency of being able to actually choose their path for themselves, and to stand alongside everyone else in condemning these acts of barbarism, and assumes that they are so feeble that any single criticism of something only partially related to mainstream Islam will offend them), but in the long run it will only lead to more slaughter and grief.
Finally, I would like to address the notion that “the west is to blame for this attack”, “the West should have seen this coming” or even worse, “the west deserved this attack”. These are normally justified by bringing attention to western foreign policy. Now, criticism of western foreign policy is completely justified (any one who has ever spoken to me has probably been subject to one of my rants over the absolute clusterfuck that was our post invasion policy in Iraq, basically given IS the perfect conditions they needed to thrive, sorry if you’ve been subject to that rant), but the idea that failed western foreign policy in ANY WAY justifies the slaughter of innocent people is utterly disgusting. To suggest that parents will have had to wake to the news that their sons/daughter died for absolutely no reason or children who had to wake to finding out that they would never see their parents again is in any single way justified makes me absolutely sick to the stomach. No, the West was not “to blame”, should not have “seen this coming” and absolutely did not “deserve” these attacks. IS are to blame for this attack, to forget that is moronic.
To those who class themselves as being on the “left” who still squark these deplorable myths, you are not my comrades.
Also worth noting today was a communications officer from the questionable at best organisation CAGE, who said they were “too busy on Friday” and thus could not issue a condemnation of the attack. Let this serve the “regressive left” as a reminder of exactly what CAGE are, a vile and morally reprehensible Islamist organisation that political movements, no matter where on the spectrum, should be working with.
To conclude my rather long rant I would like everyone to remember however that what we have also seen is one of the greatest shows of solidarity, compassion and kindness that can be imagined. Cab drivers and ordinary Parisians stepping in to shelter those caught up in the shock and chaos, and millions of people around the world completely unrelated to the attack saying “we stand by you” is a truly eye opening thing indeed. So I say this, no matter how much IS attack, and no matter how much absolute fools try to paint the blame on the victims, the good humanity is capable of when acting collectively will always far outweigh anything else.