Shock. Awe. Rinse and Repeat
(Or, If a terrorist drops a bomb in the middle of the forest, does it make a sound?)
Stupid shit is dangerous. I woke up with a friend's phone call this morning who told me about the attack in Paris. "Oh fuck these ISIS people", I muttered instinctively, not entertaining the possibility that it could be someone else. Perhaps the lag between waking up as a person and as a supposedly objective left-liberal is about twenty minutes. Before that, it is all a festival of untainted prejudice. Still half asleep, I opened the web browser on my phone and logged on to a news website. The headline proclaimed 120 dead. 120. Paris. A famous city and a three digit casualty figure. This was something to give a fuck about, my still half asleep brain concluded. Somehow 120 dead in Paris evokes a response that 90 dead in Turkey (who cares about which city) doesn't. Unless of course, it says 'Almost 100 dead in Turkey'. Almost 100 is respectable. The decimal system is the most surreptitiously evil hegemony that
The 'terror attack follow up' is a synchronized dance routine the world has perfected over the years, and I am no exception. So, having read the headlines, I was on Step 2: Twitter. #ParisAttacks was 'trending'. The news of the attacks had prompted an out pour of banalities of the haters and the well intentioned. But since I don’t have any hope or patience with the former, it is the stupidity of the latter that annoys me. So for the remainder of this rant, it is them I speak to. First tweet: "Terrorism has no religion". Wrong. What you want to say is that terrorism doesn't have a religion. It has religions. And why just stop at religions? Add states, ethnicities and tribes too. Does anyone say that the shell that landed on a Palestinian farmer's house does not have a state? Or that crusaders did not have a religion? And as long as terrorism has religions, it has your religion, and mine too. Another tweet: "This is not my Islam/another religion". Thank you for making a presumably correct, though ultimately a narcissistic and pointless distinction. It was the gunman's interpretation of religion that motivated him to fire at people in the middle of a concert. And what you are doing is just a secularized version of apostatizing, for you are privileging your interpretation of religion over his, and presuming that yours is the objective truth. There is no pristine, detached, true religion that exists beyond the practices of the believers. This is a misconception that you share with those you despise the most.
Finally, number three: "These people aren't humans." Well, they are, and humans are fucked up. Deal with it. In many ways, this is the ultimate form of apostatizing, which throws inconvenient persons out of the species, and not just the community. And it is necessary, for without it, we will soon realize that asking someone to behave like a human being is probably the worst advice we can give them