Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The terrorism in France, and me

In the morning after the event, I found two messages on Hangouts, saying:

"If you're reading this, don't look at international news.
You won't go to sleep
Terrorists in Paris. Craziness."

My honest first reaction was:

'Tsss, as if that would have kept me up! Ok, so I have a lot of world angst, and I've been crying many times over the HIV epidemic in Africa and the many orphans it leaves behind and things like that, but this! I mean, I can't stay awake every time there is a terrorist attack some place in the world! They happen so often these days; then I would NEVER sleep! And I'm not French, even though I understand that to a US person, the difference may seem subtle... ;)'
(I'm Swedish)

I even posted something totally non terror in France related on facebook that day, which I realized later would have seemed terribly out of place to other people reading it... They would have been like: 'What?? What does that have to do with anything!...'. Well, nothing! I just thought it was a good quote from a song that had been on my mind for a while, and I had not yet realized what kind of a mood everybody was in!...

During the day I started thinking that 'Oh no, this terrorism will probably mean more persecution of innocent Muslims... More bullying of Muslim children in schools...'. And that thought did bother me a bit, but I was still holding it from me, and sort of hoping that the terrorists in this case wouldn't be Muslim.

It wasn't until I watched the news that evening that I realized what an apparently big deal this was to everybody!... I went on facebook again, and these French flag colored profile pictures started turning up everywhere! And everybody was writing thoughts about terrorism! And after the news, there was a program where they usually discuss events of Sweden and the world in more detail, and of course, that was also about the Paris terror attacks this evening, although it had been scheduled to be about the ongoing refugee catastrophe...

I felt myself getting more and more disgusted. What, why do you all care all of a sudden?! I've been posting things about how refugees drown in the Mediterranean, how death is the only way out of Guantanamo bay prison, how half of all inhabitants in the Gaza strip are now children because none is left to grow old, and you haven't given a damn! I've been blogging about how you make suffering continue all over the world by sponsoring it with your money every time you shop, but you don't react! You still buy clothes made by child labor in appalling conditions, when you could just switch to fair trade, and contribute to a positive development instead! But you don't care enough!...

Now, all of a sudden, I'm the one who comes out as emotionally cold... It's very weird.

A bit later I was voice chatting with the same person who sent me the above messages, and I said:
"I don't know how stupid I must be, but I honestly never thought it would be this big!..."
"Yeah, me neither! I never thought they would have that capacity! In FRANCE!"

NO!!.... That's not what I meant!!.......... I meant the reaction!

Maybe it is because my dad died when I was 13 or something. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that I've spent around a year living and working in Kenya, where they have metal bars for every window. And they can't imagine not having that, because obviously, people would just go in! A glass window doesn't stop anybody! It wasn't until my own dad died that I really, fully realized that people could die, and that everybody would one day. Maybe the combination of this and the Kenyan windows has made me realize, what others haven't: That I am kept safe every day, only because people CHOOSE not to kill me. They can if they want, but every day they make this choice! They would get caught, hopefully... At least there is a substantial risk of that, but what if that doesn't mean anything to them? What if they are prepared to blow themselves up, so long as they get to blow me up too? Then there is nothing to protect me. There can't be. The only thing that can protect me from being killed that way is that nobody hates me, or my group, so much that they find it worth blowing themselves up just to get to me!...

So I'll refer something that I commented on one of the many facebook posts on terrorism that I read that day:

'I think we should at least TRY not committing any assaults first. If after that, we still have terror attacks committed to us, by mentally sane people, then we can start thinking of a different strategy.'

After all, France has for many years grown to be a more and more openly racist and xenophobic country. They have banned the use of burqa. They have made themselves infamous for evicting Romani settlements. Their police is allowed to ID anybody at any time for no reason, which by many sources is used to systematically harass people of African appearance, so that, for as long as those people choose to still live in France, they will know that they are not wanted. They don't belong. In 2005 they had enormous youth riots, started by the death of two young immigrant boys getting killed when running from the police into a power plant, but escalated by the police throwing a tear gas canister into a Muslim praying hall for no reason. Other than racism. They don't let in refugees from across the Mediterranean. Oh, and of course, let's not forget the bit that the terrorists themselves stated as their reason: They've been bombing their country! (Part of the statement: "as long as they boast about their war against Islam in France and their strikes against Muslims in the lands of the Caliphate with their jets")

So again, let us really try to do things right first. Because quite frankly, we are not, at the moment. France wasn't, and even Sweden isn't. Even in Sweden, Africans, Muslims and other minorities have a rough time. Our own original population the Samish still complain about racism. This our enormous reaction to the terrorism in Paris, less than two days after an almost as big terror attack in Beirut, which is almost as close from here as Paris, passed without a raised eye-brow, is yet another evidence of our racism. And racism creates enemies. It takes a huge motivator to get a person to want to blow themselves up! But racism is also a huge burden to carry, for those subjected to it... And so long as we are only able to see the suffering of ourselves and our own, but disregard the suffering of those on the other side, there will be no end to wars and terrorism. But if we do things right from our end... who knows?

So before you say anything more about how bad terrorism is: Take a look at yourself, and your country! Whatever your country does, you are responsible for it, you know.

Solidarity that has limits is not solidarity. It's just some kind of expanded selfishness.

My present facebook profile pic