No one could be as eloquent as the Frenchman whose wife was one of those one hundred and thirty people whose lives were tragically cut short in Paris last weekend.
Antoine Leiris illustrated all that’s good, loving and noble in the human condition. All right minded people including me and my family want to embrace him and to share his tears and his love.
What then are we to make of the “other side”. The Jihadists who murder and maim and give their lives up in a cause which seems to have HATE as its driving force. Where we ask does all this hate come from, and what could possibly be the driving force.
It is all well and good to condemn these acts of terror and mayhem, but should we do more to understand this enemy we all universally abhor. In an earlier blog I ventured that the interference in Iraq could signal another hundred years war between “The West” and those forces of extremism in he Middle East. “God is Great” is the cry we often hear as these young jihadists give up their lives for what ever reason.
“Whatever reason?” that must be part of the solution, not agreeing with it, just understanding what it is. We all have to understand the depth of hatred that is borne towards us in the West. One way or another the West has caused or acted in a way that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Middle East region from Afghanistan to the African Continent.
From the Crusades through the Palestinian/Israeli debacle, to the espousal and then debunking of tribal leaders willy nilly. Think of Ghadaffi, Sadam Hussein, Assad and the house of Saud. All at one time or another were our allies or our friends and then when oil supplies or other strategic requirements were threatened they became our enemies.
Some existing friends and allies routinely chop off heads in public and deny absolutely the rights of at least half their people yet they remain our allies.
Is it any wonder then that we are loathed and despised for reigning absolute anarchy and terror in Iraq and Afghanistan to mention but two theatres of mayhem. There are many more, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Palestine, the list goes on and on.
So let’s get this straight, we, the West, have blood on our hands, from the crusades to the twenty first century.
Let us confess it. Let us ask for forgiveness and let us earn the moral right to change the world. We condemn Isis of course we do. But are we reaching out to those in need, those whose modern dilemma was sown in our imperial past?
One in five Muslims in Britain it is reported has sympathy for Isis, yet the nearer we get to Syria the extent for support from Muslims for Isis declines.
Why is this? Can it be that European Muslims are themselves the subject of suspicion and rejection in the UK and mainland Europe? Is it because those who live in Europe experience first hand the smugness of those who still see themselves as superior?
There is a confluence of ethical and political issues here that call for a generosity of spirit to find a way ahead. Yes we have all transgressed, we have all experienced what it is to dislike, even to despise. But institutional hatred is a rare and destructive thing, Isis seems to embody it.
The world needs to enjoin in eliminating the Isis philosophy of hate. Are bombs and war the answer? Is elimination of a group of human beings ever justified? These are questions that need to embrace, we should not be afraid to express our view. More importantly we should never stop listening to diverse points of view.