Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Thoughts go out to Brussels & Everywhere Innocents are Being Killed.

A sad day, today. The attacks in Brussels, that is. But I personally worry more about what will follow. So my next posts will contend with all these matters. Of course, I'm not  surprised as to what has happened in Brussels; for this is only another link in the chain of violence being carried out all over the world [1]. In the end, only the innocent will suffer while those who are the cause of the violence will remain largely untouched [2].

It is from the reactions online, the comments and the articles, that I can only conclude that many people and our so-called leaders (of political and pundit ilk) are not only childish in the face of such events, but simply incapable of coherent thought, to say nothing of their apparent need to eliminate all historical context (and the less said about that infantile word "evil" the better). With such friends who needs enemies?

But that is what worries me. Again without any ability to see the bigger picture, again with all the platitudes being thrown about, I only sense that the little rational thought that has entered the public sphere will only evaporate within seconds. Leaders we have none. Visionaries even fewer.[3]

What it comes down to is a blame game which only excites people already amped up on fear and further allows them to write blank checks on their own freedoms and money. Less seen is a full picture on how to get rid of the underlying problem. Hence the childishness.

I keep using the word childishness despite my own wont to try to keep the conversation civil. And yet I have no choice. You see yesterday, at my favorite cafe, I was interrupted in my work when some random stranger opened up a discussion with the barista. It was a beautiful show of unthinking, but at some point the offender said that were he alive, the sainted Reagan would rid us of ISIS; that what we had to do was bomb them all. 

Right. This is the sort of thinking that goes on in most comments sections, but it's interesting to hear it first hand. [4]

I had to interject, and I did. I pointed out that wanting to eliminate a section of the world was Nazism at best. She claimed no, only ISIS targets. If only it were that easy. Is this how people really see the world? Am I missing something? I talked about solving underlying grievances and using those around ISIS to help bring them down. But this was a face to face discussion and I don't think I changed her mind; while I'm sure that today's acts only served to reinforce her views on the world.

And my view? Not to take talks of revenge seriously. Well, not in terms of intellectualism, though certainly in terms of consequences. And to take such talk even less seriously when those in our halls of power say the same, for they don't care about justice and the slaughter of innocents. Until we get some level of international view on revisiting injustices, we will keep being tribal, internationally speaking, and we will at best have the skewed security council that will only keep the great powers off each other's throats [5]. 

Meanwhile, I hope the platitudes I'm hearing won't cause Europe to take its eye of its real problems and focus on this minor one of terrorism. Definitely not by committing more terrorism, even if it is state-sanctioned. Once again, the refugee crisis has only shown Europe to be a place with many problems. It is no bastion of liberalism. But it has strands of that liberalism in her population, and the hope is that those brave souls will prevail. Given the state of their economies and how that strengthens the right and the fear amongst them, I won't hold my breath. 

Once again, I fear for the innocent, because the platitudes have begun in full, and it appears that the people are looking for just that.

Update: Some more points here: That Islam is currently the group carrying out the most "terrorism" is a question I hear a lot. Mainly from those without a frontal lobe. A more interesting question is not to accept the framework of state vs non-state violence and then do the calculation. Trust me, Islam is no where near the front and would probably be considered an amateur.

Furthermore, there still is an element of tribalism or in/out-group-ism playing a role on all sides; let not one side act too sanctimonious: for us, we view "terrorist" attacks on the other as less tragic as when it happens to people near us, culturally speaking. Again, for cities we've visited, and those that have much in common with us, this is to be expected. But what's not to be expected and cannot be condoned is expecting saintly actions from those we bomb while expecting no restraint from those around us. Also sickening is the media's coverage of one over the other. No, the extra amount of time spent on Paris (as opposed to Nairobi) is to be expected, as hideous as it ultimately is, but to write about them in two different ways is not. The former has an over emphasis on empathy and individuals, the other takes a broad view of an entire situation, providing only a number for the deaths. This difference is increased when dealing with the deaths carried out by our allies (oh yes, by those "innocent" Europeans as well).

Finally, terrorism is only a tactic. We use it (state-sponsored), they use it. We are much better and have much to answer for. Stop being so naive to not see that. Fear of a just God is not befitting of anyone who claims to be holy.

[1] Except that now it's less about some nationalism (let's say the PLO etc) and a little more global. That injustice is now perceived as a global issue is positive, if the reaction has so far been negative. It could be the logical result of certain ideologies and it could be that the media in the internet is what allows this.

[2] Once again, it's a matter of those up top privatizing any gains from the fear they stoke while socializing any losses (in this case, the violence). This, of course, is for our side. I'm guessing collective punishment will be used against "them" as it has in the past because we're also looking at the powerless striking out against the powerful. Interestingly enough, no one here seems to have the brains or empathy to see the hypocrisy of wanting to act worse than ISIS does. 

[3] A few times one gets someone who can react without emotion, but talk only becomes one of military tactics and nothing more. Or perhaps something about WWII and how Dresden and Tokyo were templates to follow, etc etc. Rarely do we get a real expert to point out that this is merely a tactic for the deployment of a weapon. It's effective, but it doesn't do half the damage that one of our bombs do.

[4] I still understand that many people have this view. Trump and Cruz aren't pulling the masses, they are most likely following their lead. Most people have been thought to think that there's nothing a good bombing won't solve (you know, Dresden, Tokyo).

[5] No small feat, I'll admit.

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1 comment:

  1. Welp, don't keep us waiting, what's your crystal ball say will happen, Nostradamus?


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