“To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. …..”
I arose on Saturday morning with a heavy head. I carried out the usual lazy weekend routine of returning to sleep to the serenade of the morning radio. Rather too quickly I sat bolt upright and my hangover eroded to an inconsequence; a massacre in Paris.
A chill shot down my spine. My immediate thought was with a few of my closest friends who were visiting the city that very day. Thankfully they weren’t caught up in the melee but many other innocent humans, enjoying a Friday night, didn’t have such luck.
I lived in Paris at the age of 18 and have a wealth of fond memories and private associations. The city is elegant and Mecca for art lovers the world over. One visits Paris to fall in love – it shouldn’t be connected with barbarism.
I do my best to stay away from news because I don’t understand politics and the rest usually revolts me. When I do dip into the front pages, I keep dreading about ISIS, the extremists who conspired to kill the innocent on Friday in Paris and a further 90 in Baghdad. They have created a state of fear in Syria and are desperate for the rest of the world to cower before them.
If the monsters who showered bullets on the bodies of the young and happy are off to their supposed heaven, then count me out from entry – I would rather spend eternity with other infidels.
Religion is not the issue here; No one is in any doubt that the Ku Klux Klan are not an accurate representation of Christians the world over, so why do we pigeonhole the tiny minority of Muslims that are terrorists. Evil needs an excuse to act and this particular evil horde use, and abuse, Islam – a peaceful family orientated religion.
Ironic that the week began with Armistice Day – a commemoration of the brave but deceased – and the early death of Pat Eddery ( a retired English jockey whose only way to deal with the desperation of his life was to drink it away). These should have been themes of my blog not the death of football fans, music goers, or innocent diners enjoying Friday night with a glass of claret.
The consensus of the liberal world is that of abhorrence, revulsion, and an effort to deny the murders any form of celebrity. It has felt rather more pertinent to focus sympathetically on the bereaved families, the heroes who cradled dying strangers in their final breathes, the brave gendarmerie who fought back, and the doctors who were prepared for a few Friday drunks but received this gore.
The extremists may have rationalized their decision to attack Paris in January as a response to cartoons in Charlie Hebdo which attacked their religion.
While they could claim provocation, however unjustifiably, there is not even this fig leaf of a defence for Friday’s attack.
ISIS want to create a world which worships only in the way they want and they believe they can impose this rule by fear. Woman are classed as second class citizens and non-believers flayed. Perhaps unwittingly they attacked a city and country which is the antithesis as it lives up to its values of “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”.
Modern France is a state more inclined to paroxysms of liberalism, intellect and rebellion than terror.
Life in Paris and Europe will never be the same for city dwellers – looking over our shoulders for the fear of a mad man whilst we naively drink with our friends. the rennaisance of New York City must be the shining example for Paris in its nadir – New York has clubbed together and pulled itself from its knees and is now a beacon of progression, whose citizens have refused to become prisoners of anxiety in their own city.
Now the world mourns again and it’s nerves are frayed as we wait for the next horror.
As we do so, my thoughts are with the Parisians who, like we all did, went out after a hard week at work with the intention of meeting friends, having a drink, and enjoying the night…not dying to the brutal hands of shameful cowards.