Paris14 November 2015
Life is complicated. Living it is easy. Put one foot in front of another, breathe in, breathe out, drink, blink, eat, pee, poo, sleep, work, play, laugh, cry. And then it’s over.
There is more, of course. Aspiration. The latest smartphone, TV, games console, car, a house, family, friends, safety.
And then there’s freedom.
Those of us who have it are incredibly lucky. Yet still we moan about the overreaching of the states we live in. Surveillance everywhere, taxes for female sanitary items, too many traffic wardens…
Imagine being invaded by a foreign power, your independence taken away, large men with brutal attitudes and frightening weapons always in your face for reasons you cannot understand. Imagine your school, your playground, hospital, workplace, all rendered unusable by decades of conflict. Imagine your home bulldozed one day just because someone wants the plot of land it sits on. Imagine a peaceful day broken by a knock on the roof, followed only minutes later by the destruction of your home, your neighbourhood.
Imagine all of this for every day of your life, no hiding place, no security, no hope of ever influencing the people who so callously disregard you. No hope of ever getting them to change their attitudes, so in thrall are they to the bigots who elect them and pay for their advanced weapons systems.
I cannot begin to imagine my life being shaped by the influences that cause someone to become a terrorist. But what I can do is attempt to at least understand why.
I’m not about to start down that road right now, not in a blog post. Mine isn’t a knee-jerk reaction shaped by the latest news, the cause forgotten about in a desire to have someone else do something about it. Something quick. Retribution.
Even in my comfortable existence I’ve not forgotten one fact, apparently beyond the wit of a sizeable proportion of the people commenting on the Paris killings of Friday 13th November 2015… And all the other atrocities carried out in the past in the name of our freedoms to give us our comfortable lives.
It’s a statement that covers a multitude of ‘sins.’
Religions don’t kill people, people kill people.