While serious events took place yesterday, calling for in-depth news coverage, the incidents themselves were nothing out of the ordinary. On the contrary I think we will find that episodes such as the Berlin Christmas market attack and the Ankara assassination, as well as the Zurich shooting, are everyday occurrences.
Europeans may have been disturbed by the proximity to Christmas and indeed to ourselves. Apart from that, however, these things happen on a daily basis throughout the world.
In my neck of the wood the Berlin calamities most definitely drew most of the attention, undoubtedly due to the number of Norwegians visiting this – or any – time of year (our self-absorption knows no limit), but I think it’s safe to say that among the three, the Ankara assassination (yes, I deliberately use a designation similar to the 1914 Sarajevo assassination) offers potentially more widespread consequences, giving more cause for concern than the other two, although it didn’t even take place in Europe. Not least because it involved a prominent member of Ankara’s Corps Diplomatique, and a Russian one to boot.
The seemingly staged, almost cinematic appearance of the incident must have left not only this blogger wondering if it indeed was carefully prepared, in what most observers must consider the hub of current conflicts, involving the Syrian war’s two leading parties (sorry, America, but you’re not even close), headed by oppressors prone to conspiratorial thinking, constantly chasing excuses to initiate drastic responses to actions quite possibly initiated by themselves (for instance last summer’s attempted coup in Turkey immediately springs to mind). To such a degree that we’re all forced to think along the lines of plots that may not even exist.
What ever the case we should acknowledge that we indeed live in violent times, with an extremely volatile situation on our hands, and I hate to sound the alarm, even if I fear there’s every reason to.
With Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin, both highly despotic, emerging as close allies, and soon-to-be President Trump at the American helm, as well as an increasingly powerful China lurking in the outskirts, the stage is set for an unprecedented and highly inflammable situation.
Certain powers’ expressed aim to destabilise the west is of course a factor to be reckoned with, too, but let’s leave it at that for now.
Suffice it to say 2017 is going to be a very interesting year.
Since posting this I was made aware of this Foreign Policy article, published last night, touching on some of the same issues – and then some:
Illustration: The Ankara gunman. Blogger’s “watercolour painting”, made with Waterlogue app.