Sitting here in the living room shared by the dead and the dying conversation hides behind polite, ineffectual, but well intentioned nods and frowns. The news of the Paris atrocities creates a wave of both interest and disgust. Our outrage is uttered differently though. My mother repeatedly asks why? Why do men do such things to each other? Where is God or in this case Allah? While I ponder what the hell do they mean by 'us and them?' Surely there is only us?
Make no mistake Allah has nothing to do with these murders. This is no Jihad. Anyway, even if there were, no Muslim would contemplate slaughtering non-combatants. Therefore ISIS cannot be Muslim; cannot support or follow Islam. This makes we wonder what motive they have. Whatever god it is they follow is an impotent fellow unable to exact his own judgements, dependant on mortals to carry out his work. Either that or there is a distinct absence of religious intent but rather that of one set of men seeking power over another. Why? Somehow the cause and effect we so readily seek seems missing. Where are the good guys? Who are the bad guys?
It is easy to cast ISIS in the role of the latter. I think they fit the bill nicely. Let us make no bones about it they are 'the bad guys.' That being so, as they kill innocents in their inane quest to found a caliphate, is not the American, British and Russian responses equally as wrong? Are they too not killing innocents? Are they to not killing 'us?'
Like every sane person I feel huge empathy for the French. I also feel a deal of fear as Paris is not that far away. We are at war. What a mind numbing thought. But who is at war with whom? Make no mistake I am with the French on this occasion or at least with fellow human beings who just happened to be living in, or passing through Paris at the time of these vile attacks. Part of me wants ISIS smashed. It is unfortunately too easy a solution but also a fundamentally flawed one.
At the conclusion of every war man has waged with man comes a time of communication; a time when all sides have to sit down and talk. This normally occurs long after babies have burnt, the elderly have had their body parts scattered among the rubble of destroyed cities, the infirm, those with learning problems, the sick and the plain ordinary have been maimed, blinded, mutilated or murdered. We, or us, pay the price for the failure of our leaders to facilitate peaceful options.
At this moment in time not only have our French cousins, our brothers and sisters, been murdered by hooded cowards so too have our other brothers and sisters in Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq and in many other nations in the region and by governments we have elected. This does not diminish the wrong done to the French but rather focuses our minds and our hearts on all those other innocents that have been killed. Again, there is no 'us and them' only us.
It is legitimate to suggest you cannot talk with the likes of ISIS. That may be so. I have no instant answer to what seems an unsolvable riddle. I simply fail to understand why men seek to do what they believe to be Allah's work reducing the deity they purport to worship to an impotent, powerless god who is unable to mete out his own judgements.
You will always get those keen to make their personal political points. Some who will want to blame America for the worlds ills, after al they are, according to Noam Chomsky, the greatest threat to world peace. Others will blame Russia. At the end of the day point scoring in the face of such atrocities is a shameful exercise. It does nothing but present those that promote such views in self-elevated superiority. I despise them for seeking such acclaim. There are bigger fish to fry here.
We, that is 'us,' can unite; Muslim, Christian, Jew and all the rest, even an Atheist/Agnostic like me in not only condemning these faceless cowards but in seeking a solution to the problem. As far as I see it our governments only make matters worse.
Ultimately, following the logic of war using Hiroshima as a reminder, we are set for a head-on collision with a fragmented yet organised foe who can only be stopped by extreme force, a force so powerful we all will suffer the consequence. The other option is dialogue. Not the Neville Chamberlain appeasement version but true engagement. There are far more of 'us' than there are them. In fact there is only 'us.'.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.