There seem to be people out there in progressive pundit-land who believe that we either have to show solidarity with all countries who suffer through terror or none at all. Apparently, the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time is a skill that far left liberals believe is beyond our abilities.
Fortunately, this blog does not believe that. Of course we show solidarity with the French; they have been a stalwart ally since the early days of this nation. And deciding to comfort them at a time when they need it most does not mean that we don’t feel for the others who have been victimized by terrorists over the years. On the contrary; in my post from Saturday asking people to resist Islamophobia, I acknowledged the bombing in Beirut just hours before what happened in Paris. I even noted that it was once known as the “Paris of the Middle East.”
Like I said, blaming “Muslims” for terrorism begs the question, why is it that Muslims are most commonly the victims? More importantly, someone needs to explain why extremists who call themselves Muslim and attack innocent people are automatically called “terrorists,” while those who open fire during midnight movies are simply referred to as “mentally disturbed?
But there are articles all over the ‘Net right now taking people to task because they have chosen to demonstrate solidarity with the French by temporarily transposing their flag’s colors over our Facebook profiles and in other ways. They then note what we have all known all along; that terrorism is far more widespread than what we notice happening in Europe.
I have to admit, I don’t get that. It is possible to mourn everyone who is a victim of a terrorist attack without showing “solidarity” with every country affected. That’s the reason why most everyone except the far right wing are welcoming Syrian refugees with open arms and will continue to do so, albeit with a little more comprehensive screening.
As these articles suggest, I do mourn all of those killed and injured in the illegal war in Iraq and in the completely screwed up war in Afghanistan, and even those killed in the recent bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital and everyone involved in all of those should be investigated and prosecuted, including Bush and Cheney. And yes, I mourn for all those killed anywhere in the world by senseless violence and wish all violence would end. Like every beauty pageant contestant ever, I wish everyone in the world could live in peace and harmony.
However, I am also a realist.
Human beings have always been warlike and territorial and there have always been those who will breach the peace as part of a quest for power, and it’s been less than a century since the last world leaders tried to “take over the world.” The concept of a peaceful, democratic country is still relatively new, and it’s not always as successful as we like to pretend it to be. We are getting better, as a world, but we have a long way to go. The “War on Terror” is not a new thing; there have always been disparate groups who think the best way to gain power is through intimidation and oppression, and it takes time for good people to rise up and stop them, and it also usually requires assistance from outsiders, like us and the people of Europe.
All good people need to rise up and stop the bad people. You are not a pacifist just because you oppose everything you have decided constitutes “war.” To be a pacifist, you have to oppose everything and everyone who opposes peace and tries to kill or maim the innocents among us.
Along those lines, I want to comment on this statement from one of the articles, which can be found here:
Yes, I mourn for Paris. But I do so while weeping in shame at the deplorable supercilious judgment ensconced in Western reaction to it; for countless pitiable xenophobes and their endless vapid justifications; for arrogant commentary from politicians and their media mouthpieces with their embarrassing post-tragedy clamoring to exploit ignorant heartstrings for the appropriate victims; for the endless War of Terror — and the service members who somehow haven’t yet deduced that this would ALL END if they simply refused to fucking fight.
I agree with part of that, to be sure. There ARE deplorable people in the world who are all of those things and more, but the average person who colors their Facebook profile photo blue, white and red is not one of them. The American people and the people of Europe view the French as brethren, and there is nothing wrong with that, in any context.
Of course, what would one expect from someone who reads that last part and believes it makes sense in any way. Really? All wars would end if soldiers simply refused to fight? How naïve is that? If the “service person” is in a war zone, it’s because people are trying to kill them, or someone else. No, we should not have invaded Iraq at all, but once there, what does someone who would write such a thing think will happen if they simply lay down their arms and refuse to fight? My son would be dead, as would the sons and daughters of hundreds of thousands of other parents, and the spouses and parents of many others. Soldiers don’t just fight for their country; they fight for everyone else in service, as well. Falling down and refusing to fight is not an option.
Should we do better at choosing leaders who won’t just throw our loved ones into a war without a really good reason? Of course we should. In fact, that’s really easy to do. Start by not electing Republicans to anything and then we can go from there.
So, yeah; it is perfectly okay to show solidarity with the people of Paris, and anyone who complains about it and says you have to mourn every other victim of violence in the world is just too simple-minded to take seriously.