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.
In light of Europe’s two recentmost St. + St. (St. Petersburg and Stockholm) terrorist attacks, you have to ask whether or not Uzbekistan – whence the two alleged perps allegedly originated – indeed is the place to be if you want to make a name for yourself as a Muslim extremist.
I think we have established that it sure as hell isn’t Raqqa.
At any rate we need to acknowledge that terrorist attacks have become a very ordinary element in urban everyday life – whereas cowards, such as myself, go hide in the countryside.
I hate to admit this, but scary and absorbing as yesterday’s London events may have been (and they were), one should perhaps own up to the fact that one finds oneself in danger, not of terrorism, but of considering acts of same a very usual order of the day, which is why I haven’t brought myself to share any thoughts on last afternoon’s Westminster incident.
Which I find perhaps even scarier than terrorism itself, much as I sympathise with the victims, those affected – and the United Kingdom herself. Not so much because of the scene, or the country in which it all took place, as the realisation that acts of war and terrorism have become very ordinary elements in modern everyday life – extremely mundane.
It may sound a little unsentimental, but therein, perhaps, lies the real threat.
I don’t know.
Illustration: Houses of parliament in Westminster palace. Blogger’s watercolour, by way of Waterlogue.
The new year started with a bang, or rather a series of shots fired in an Istanbul nightclub last night, resulting in a death toll currently amounting to 39 nightclubbers, in what appears to be a one-man show, carried out by an individual dressed up as Santa (from what I’ve been told).
Terrible as it was, I’d hesitate to call it a terrorist attack just yet, even if the Turkish regime has enemies by the numbers, including this blogger, and for very good reasons, which is not to say that I’d even dream of condoning any attack on civilian Turks, deserving of our collective loathing and rejection (the attack, that is, not civilian Turks).
Yes, we are, like Turkey’s home secretary Suleyman Soylu, quick to label the atrocities an act of terrorism, and understandably so, in a country whose government deliberately provokes actions against itself. Thing is, though, that this probably isn’t one (although I’d like to emphasise “probably”).
Attacks on Turkish civilians do not serve as blows to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s regime, but as arguments in support of the president’s continued oppression, making it just as easy to suspect the regime itself, as Kurds, ISIL or the PKK – terrible regimes have been prone to similar measures in the past.
But I won’t. What appears to be the act of a single individual may have occurred for a number of reasons, and I’m not about to speculate.
Assuming that 2017 is going to be a tumultuous year, on the other hand, is a fairly safe bet, considering the leaders at the helm in Turkey, Russia and, any minute now, America – and then some.
2016 saw a series of attacks, an attempted coup d’etat against Erdoğan, even, resulting in an even tighter grip on power (hence the Reichstag fire inuendo) – and the budding alliance between Russia and Turkey (soon to be accompanied by America?), which is a move put to use by several authoritarian and totalitarian regimes throughout times, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to connect a dot or two …
19-year-old student Gavrilo Princip firing at archduke Franz Ferdinand and his spouse, Sophie von Hohenberg, in Sarajevo, 28 June 1914.
22-year-old policeman Melvut Mert Altintas upon shooting Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov in Ankara on 19 December 2016. Blogger’s illustration, made with Waterlogue app.
But again, I’m not about to speculate, eerily resembling as the early 1900s and 2000s may be.
My sympathies go to the Turks, even though I struggle with their support of their leader, just as I will continue to question the Germans’ support of theirs, some 80 years ago. But in the spirit of mutual (?) respect:
Also, I should add that I fear the volatile situation in which the entire world currently finds itself may blow right up in our faces any minute now. I, for one, am going to keep an eye on the Russo-Turkish Middle East involvement. It’ll end in tears, you know.
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).
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.
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.
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.