These are very difficult times and I really need to comment on the recent horrors in France as they relate to other things and growingly serious developments around the world. I will not respond to any comments to this post and ask you to refrain from commenting, be it to support or argue against it. I may well remove any such.
First of all my deep and sincere sympathies with everyone in France! It is amazing to see how you come together though. Stay strong and keep defending your belief in democracy and free speech.
Times are bad in so many ways. Good people who are against racism at the same time act and speak in a way that unintentionally nurtures it, believing that they need to speak a necessary truth that others in their eyes are too naive and apologetic about. It is a dangerous tunnel vision that puts us on a very dangerous path. And all sides are quoting how important it is to not remain silent against the acts of evil men… proving how messed up all this is. Most muslims living in the western world are very scared and concerned right now, for very good reasons, and have no sympathy for terrorism, and feel no sense of identification with such radicalism.
Truth is this is really not a uniquely Islamic problem but a geopolitical one, centuries old and deeply rooted in the Western world defeating the Ottoman Empire, letting Christian, communist and democratic empires and nations exploit and divide the middle east into random and useful divisions that suited these nations at the time. This exploitation has caused suffering of huge proportions that has been the perfect breeding ground for religious radicalism, in this case islam, of course, since we are speaking of the remains of the Ottoman Empire. However, the western world has for the last few centuries been a far greater threat to the people of the middle east (and a hope to others) than the other way around. As have the “muslim” themselves, again since it is not really about religion, but about geopolitics.
Most religions and isms have terrorists. However, the largest terrorist groups do not necessarily come proportionately from the biggest religions, but from the most troublesome geographic regions, sometimes extending into our countries through migration or terrorism as terrorism by nature targets the perceived enemy. Thus we also have Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Communist terrorism. Capitalist and democratic terrorism we don’t even define and one could argue that it still exists, only on a very different scale with very different means.
Nothing in these religions and isms naturally creates or prohibits terrorism. However, combined with extended suffering through conflict, poverty and social issues they all function as cultivators and excuses for the same. Yes, Islam has a problem, but the problem is complex and just as much ours as it is theirs. We have had a major part in creating it, installing “royal” houses in the Middle East that have supported our petroleum-driven society for their own gain.
Truth is we don’t need to start any wars against terrorism or the muslim threat. We have been at war for centuries, only we don’t personally see the effects of it. We just benefit from it. Terrorism brings that war to us and it is horrible and frightening. War is. However, we will never be able to get rid of terrorism or radicalism without a change towards peace in the Middle East, a change which needs to include a change also in the western world as the two are inescapably linked. Either that, or it is a full on war against the Ottomans again. Question is if we are prepared for that.
Meanwhile we need to be very, very careful that we don’t lose the very thing we believe we stand for; democracy and human rights, including the right to any religious and political belief. For all.