November in gay Paris …

I had begun this post on Friday night (13th) and as I wrote, with the BBC news coming on in the background, the terrible story began to unfold.  By the time I hit the pillow at 2 am one hundred and twenty nine people had died and many dozens more were fighting for their lives,  Writing a blog post about the mundane happenings in the life of Welshwaller seemed somewhat superficial.

A few days later and the true enormity of those few hours of slaughter in the bars and restaurants of youthful Paris is in all our faces.  Thankfully someone was switched-on enough to refuse entry to the football match.  If those suicide bombers had got in amongst the crowd several hundred more would no doubt have died.  I hope those in hospital fight through, I hope those survivors who escaped or lay still while chaos and massacre rained down upon them get the pyschological help they will so desperately need.  PTSD will inevitably become familiar to many.  I just wish the media interviewers and reporters would have a little more empathy with what those survivors and witnesses have endured;  I find myself increasingly wanting to shout at them to stop asking such idiotic and thoughtless questions.  We don’t need to see and hear all that we are being shown and told, surely not.  Surely all this coverage multiplies by hundreds the PR which the perpetrators relish !?

President Hollande declared it an ‘Act of War’, well, yes, of course it was an act of war.  It’s what participants on both, or in this case ALL, sides of a conflict do to each other, they kill as many of the ‘enemy’ as they can, how they can and where they can and when they can.  We are naturally outraged, we think it very ‘not playing by the rules’ to arrive unannounced in a city and kill civilians whilst they go about their lives, innocents in a far off conflict.  ‘They’ didn’t deserve to die but who does in such conflicts ?  (Clearly the same emotions do not apply to dead Russians, blown from the sky on their way home from a sunny holiday, the media furore around that incident lasted all of 48 hours !) It would be very nice if, instead of sneaking around undercover, like fifth columnists’ (as one observer declared them) they would wear uniforms – preferably of the enemy – and march into town guns blazing and engage with the forces arranged ready to meet them.  Then the only deaths would be ‘soldiers’, those paid to lay down their lives and of course, in the self-assured belief that they do it gladly for God and country. Well, don’t they ?  And as for bombing civilians well, absolutely not within the rules.  No, it’s very unfair, ‘they’ (whomsoever ‘they’ are just now) should not come over this side of the water and attack us, they should stay where they are and just kill their own countrymen and women.  We wouldn’t do that would we !?  You won’t see ‘us’ bombing innocent people, gunning down women and children, we wouldn’t strike without warning … would we ?

We are indeed at war, with an enemy we have, as yet, no understanding of or answer to.  Imagine, if you can, how different our own problems with I.R.A. bombers would have been had they been ready to die for the cause they so loudly proclaimed.  Suicide bombers in 1970s London would have caused far more deaths and panic than car bombs planted by those keen to effect an escape.  This is a far more difficult and scary ‘war’, one in which we engage from afar, or from ‘on high’, with our stealth weapons and laser guided killers, often it seems, without even having to put pilots in danger – Lord help us if a western pilot gets downed and captured. We don’t like ‘our’ people to get killed do we ?  But if one side has bigger and better weapons than the other, for instance if one side has planes and one doesn’t, what then ?  There is no ‘deterrent’ element in this war, both sides assume they will overcome the enemy and ultimately win (WIN what is not made clear), indeed Paris and the rest of Europe is today shouting aloud that ‘we will overcome’.  So lets carry on. Lets us keep bombing them with unannounced stealth missiles and let them keep sneaking over here and shooting and bombing us with their suicide vests (at least theirs is a one-way mission).  That way the good old leaders of Western democratic civilization can keep on justifying spending 2% of GDP on ‘defence’ and the Mullahs can keep justifying sending young jihadis off to meet those promised 75 virgins.  For sure, hundreds of ‘innocents’ on both sides get to die but we all get to shout aloud that they died to uphold the beliefs of their Gods and Countries. And look at all the job creation opportunities it throws up !  1500 new ‘spooks’ to be recruited immediately (announced today), all those people who are going to be needed to keep watch on our mobile phone chatter and our internet use (oops, that’s me in trouble again !) and all those new bombs and bullets that will be needed, surely, before long we’ll need hundreds and hundreds of new soldiers …. unemployment ? What unemployment ?  The ‘poor’ ? What about the poor, we can’t afford to worry about them, we have to protect ourselves (against all those nasty and evil people we seem to be constantly angering), we can’t worry about rights and wrongs or silly things like human rights and civil liberties, oh no, we have a WAR to deal with …

Whichever side God is really on, he ain’t doing a very good job in my view.   Or is he ?  I mean, there’s clearly far too many people in the world, perhaps finally the most intelligent species on the planet has actually evolved to such an intellectual level that it can, at last, kill itself off and leave the planet to creatures that will look after it, somewhat more carefully than homo-sapiens have managed to do.  But that’s just me, I mean, who believes all this climate change stuff anyhow, so what if there’s no polar bears or tigers left, so what if we have to go bomb the whole of the Middle East (may as well do Russia while we’re at it)? We’re clearly ‘in the right’ and God wouldn’t have given us all the CO2   making industries if he didn’t want us to use them (to make weapons to eradicate all human life especially ‘them’), now would he !?

I need to stick to building walls and reporting on nature, I’m far too cynical to make comment on World affairs…. “What?  Oh, there’s another hurricane on its way, excuse me I have to go batten down the hatches …”  “What ?”  “Oh it’s a blizzard this time …”

The irony of Paris is in those who died, young people all, the very ones who could save the World.

A Prochaine. Je suis Paris

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