Flimsy make believe concern no more, s’il vous plait

I quickly and instinctively drew this flag in response to the 13 November 2015 Paris incidents, with the following note:

Regardless the culprit(s) and his or their affiliation(s).

I reacted in much the same way as an immediate response to last summer’s Nice incident – and then some.

But you know, we can’t go on like that every time a police officer is killed in every country we know of, much as we sympathise, seeing as how police killings very much belong to the order of the day – and for a number of reasons.

Confident that police officers gave their lives elsewhere, too, yesterday, I regret that they did, but we need to let go of this faux and effortless concern, unless we feel obliged to award the perps the attention they seek, and continue to fuel the conflict, of course.

Trump travel ban: French far-right leader Le Pen applauds – CNN.com

(CNN) — The leader of France’s far-right Front National party, Marine Le Pen, has applauded US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban and said a backlash to the measure was in “bad faith.”

Trump signed an executive order Friday barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspending the admission of all refugees for 120 days. The order also indefinitely suspends the Syrian refugee program.

The leader of France’s far-right Front National party, Marine Le Pen, has applauded US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban and said a backlash to the measure was in “bad faith.”

Source: Trump travel ban: French far-right leader Le Pen applauds – CNN.com

Clearly we live in a day and age in which granting far-right extremists access to a global audience is considered a given.

An end to the burkini hullabaloo?

Observant readers may have noticed last Wednesday’s outrage over recent developments in the once liberal and extremely secular France we all came to love. A liberal country, a society devoid of a civil dress code, leaving its citizens free to think, say or wear what suits them, which during the past week apparently turned into the complete opposite.

As we all learnt in the onset of the weekend now nearing its end, France’s top administrative court on Friday suspended the burkini ban – on civil liberties grounds.

All is, I suppose, well, that ends well.

Please understand, though, that my sentiment is nothing to do with the burkinis, or hijabs, niqabs and burqas, for that matter, but the values with which we pride ourselves, clearly in peril, due to our fear of terrorists wearing everything but burkinis.

Granted burkinis don’t belong to our culture, but I’ll let you in on a well-kept secret: Neither do cowboy hats. Truth is I find niqabs and burqas every bit as scary as the next guy, but for the love of God (regardless of what we call Him or Her), let the freedom to think, say and wear what we want, remain among the hallmarks of our democracies.

There are far better ways to counter terrorism (which is, after all, what this is all about), in itself completely unrelated to the afore-mentioned attires.

So thank you, France, for allowing us, once again, to shout a resounding

Vive la France!

Let’s just hope this nonsense has come to an end, despite continued social media commotion (coz let’s face it: it isn’t the clothing they’re after – not really).

Illustration: Islam critic and muslim. Blogger’s archived drawing (too lazy to draw a burkini-related one).

Please, France, no!

We’ve all felt a strong sense of solidarity with the French in the aftermath of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, Paris and Nice, coupled with a growing rage against the so-called Islamic state, ISIL.

The attacks on the birth place of liberty, equality and brotherhood, the model of modern Western civilisation, felt like an attack on us all, an attack, perhaps, on those very ideas, threatening to take it all away, rendering us anything but free, equal and fraternal.

Could they be about to succeed? Today’s news may serve as an indication:

Forcing us to wonder wherein the difference lies, between French police officers and Jew-harassing SA troops of the Third Reich. Granted the above depicted gendarmes simply carry out orders, as opposed to Hitler’s zealous stormtroopers. The outcome, however, remains the same: ethnic and religious harassment, for which the French, as much as the Germans (and the rest of us), should of course be ashamed.

Nazi stormtroopers in front of a Jewish shop.

I have, up until recently, been ambivalent to the proposed burkini ban, but that was until today’s Niçoise news reached us all.

The very thought of scenes such as the one just seen in Nice had me convinced that the ban is everything but libre, égal or fraternel, but the complete opposite.

Thank you, France, but no thanks.

This blog post’s top illustration, originally used in the wake of the Bataclan massacre, takes on a whole new meaning.

Je suis désolé, albeit for an entirely different reason altogether.

When in Prague 2

Når man ferierer, er det fra alt som ellers måtte oppta en, verdens viderverdigheter innbefattet, men med desto større anledning til å prøvesmake tsjekkisk øl, selv om man rimeligvis ikke stopper der. Som dagens, inntatt ved Vltavas bredd, like ved Karlsbroen; Černá Hora, som smakte utmerket i solsteken, i og for seg, om navnet voldte aldri så små fnis, der man satt hinsides øyen Kampa, som fikk en til å undres om tsjekkerne har en greie for a-endelser. Det skulle jo ha tatt seg ut om haugen mellom Tøyen og Jordal benevntes Kampa, som i «kampa, kåra og krava». Til det slo en at «Černá Horen» neppe hadde klinget stort bedre.

Ferie, altså, fra verdens generelle elendighet, skjønt man ingenlunde går klar, som utenfor franskmennnenes ambassade til Praha, i kjølvannet av forrige ukes grusomheter i Nice:

«You may», som de sier, «run, but you cannot hide».

Det er en liten verden, og ingen skal fortenke en i trangen til å drukne sorgene i Černá Hora, og andre tsjekkiske spesialiteter.

Alright, terrorists, you win

As an open-minded liberal I have always championed open borders, free movement for workers and the freedom to settle in the country of your personal choice, which is an attitude I intend to maintain, in spite of the terrorists’ persistent attempts at mulling it.

Only problem is, of course, that with every attack – and you have to admit that they have become pretty damned frequent – I can feel my persuasion deteriorate, to a point where I have come to fear that some of the right-wing alarmists may have a point, but remain reluctant to sink to their level.

After all, as I pointed out in the 12 June post Clash of civilisations in full bloom?, following the Orlando incident, “Muslim” terrorists and right-wing westerners have one thing in common; The shared intention to escalate the level of conflict between the Muslim world and the West, a battle I fear they are about to win.

Although I shouldn’t be, I’m deeply shocked by yesterday’s attack on Nice, but have to admit that similar attacks in Muslim countries rarely have the same impact. Not because I don’t oppose them, but because, in all honesty, they seldom come as a surprise. Which, of course, is why I take offense by those reluctant to disapprove of terrorist attacks carried out in the West, on account of the West’s failure to display the same degree of shock and disgust for similar attacks in the East or Middle East.

And so it begins, the afore-mentioned clash of civilisations, I fear, whether last night’s assailant indeed was a “Muslim” terrorist or not.

I won’t compliment the terrorists (and their far right opponents) on their accomplishment, but must, however reluctantly, admit that, with every terrorist attack carried out by “Muslims” or people claiming to represent Islam (which, more often than not, is the case), the contrasts and hostilities are deepening.

As for this blogger, let’s just say that my convictions aren’t quite what they used to be, even if it involves declaring defeat.

We would, however, be well advised not to automatically brand last night’s incident as a terrorist attack. This blog post relates to general observations based on widespread assumptions.

Frankrike trikolor
Blogger’s illustration (November 2015).

Regardless the culprit(s) and his or their affiliation(s).

Today’s terror attack yet to be seen?

We see terrorist attacks occurring more or less on a daily basis, to such a degree that this blogger honestly is about to lose track. Certainly there’s the Istanbul airport attack on … Wednesday, was it? Followed by the attack on Afghan police troops in Kabul on Thursday. Friday saw the grisly attack on foreigners in a Dhaka restaurant, while hundreds were killed in a Baghdad bombing in the early hours of yesterday.

Honestly, I had to concentrate in order to get the chronology right, but in truth I’ve really given up on keeping tabs.

The attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk international airport wasn’t even possible, judging by the boundless security measures in place, so you can’t help wondering, can you, if the French Police Nationale (formerly know as the Sûreté) – and what ever law enforcement agencies are involved – are equally prepared ahead of the upcoming Sunday’s Euro 2016 finale, to take place in Paris’s Stade de France, no more than seven months after the failed 13 November 2015 attempt, which, as we all remember, succeeded on numerous other Paris addresses on that fatal day.

Because if they are, the outcome may be just as bad.

Certainly there’s the metal detectors, the body searches and the trained eyes of countless police officers, but explosive devices come in a wide array of shapes, colours and materials, and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that potential assailants aren’t very likely to resemble the fellow I drew in the above cartoon, even if a bomb disguised as a football certainly is a thought.

There’s one more thing that we know; that the so-called Islamic State certainly hasn’t ignored the opportunity to make plans for an attack of such freakish dimensions, especially considering that its last attempt failed so disastrously (depending on point of view), at least when it comes to the Stade de France, at the time harbouring France’s president François Hollande, who, along with his co-visitors, escaped without a scratch.

We can only hope that this Sunday’s attempts fail, too, but I think it’s safe to say that they will be made. However I will say this:

Terrorism is nothing to do with the damages caused by terrorist acts, but the terror (i.e. the fear) and destabilisation they instill, as any philologist might have told you. Viewed in that perspective it would be safe to say that the terrorists have indeed achieved what they set out to do. But can they be defeated?

Absolutely, but we will be advised to remember that, so long as there are causes worth fighting for (or maybe not), they will be succeeded by others. We may like it or not, but the war on terror is everlasting.

Today’s terror attack remains to be seen, though. Perhaps today will be one of those rare, terror-free occasions? Let’s hope so.

In conclusion it boils down to whether or not we are willing to let fear prevent us from leading our lives by our own choice.

Hell no.

Please note: The above drawing portrays a terrorist impersonating a Muslim, with all the ISIL trimmings. It is my firm belief that Muslims aren’t in the habit of killing innocents, but we need to appreciate that terrorists would have us believe otherwise.

Top illustration: An ISIL terrorist in front of the Stade de France. Bloggers own drawing, superimposed on stolen photograph (the football is stolen, too, except for the burning fuse).


Late edit: Of course it had to happen. Today’s terror attack took place in the Saudi city of Medina, not long ago.


Good show, Iceland!

Who would’ve thought I’d muster even the smallest amount of enthusiasm for football, but you know how it is:

Five goals divided on 66 million Frenchmen against two goals divided on 0.3 million Icelanders makes for an Icelandic victory, doesn’t it?

Nevertheless an impressive achievement.

Deyr fé, deyja frændr.
“Deyr fé, deyja frændr” and so on. Extract from Hávamál. Blogger’s own graphics.