What can I say?
Dallas was last week’s story and Nice is this week’s story. Next week……?
Nice hits us hard. My enduring memory of The Troubles is that each breaking news story was a reaction “it could have been me” or “it could not have been me”.
Thats how we kept reasonably sane. So some attrocities mean more than others and it is de-humanising. As a non-drinker, it was never very likely that I would be in a bar that the UVF would bomb. I had no association with “security forces” so unlikely that IRA would kill me. And no connexion to IRA , so not a deliberate target for the British.
Of course I could have fallen into the hands of the loyalist Shankill Butchers or just been unlucky and passed by an exploding IRA car bomb…or I could have been one of those statistics in the files of the Historic Inquiry Section of PSNI…with remaining members of my family still searching for Justice.
It is unedifying. Retaining some Humanity and some Sanity by sacrificing some Humanity and some Sanity.
Anyone who lived thru the Troubles sees “Terrorism” thru the prism of our own lives. In extreme cases we will have heard people in Belfast….nationalists and unionists…take an anti-American stance after the attacks on the Twin Towers. Minority feelings of course but some nationalists took the view that American Mid-East policy had caused it while others saw karma at work…as some unionists saw Americans as unhelpful in their war against IRA.
And we never really lose that. Less than two weeks ago, a couple of hundred people were killed in Baghdad, Iraq. We collectively shrug our shoulders. Last week five police officers were killed in Dallas, Texas…and it affects us more….we tune into American News channels like CNN and Fux News. And of course, the enduring image of Nice is the pink flip-flop shoe and the doll.
We can identify with that. Certainly a grandfather of a 3year old girl can identify.
But little girls in Baghdad, killed by car bombs also own pink flip-flops but we rarely get to see it.
And little girls in Pakistan, killed by drones also own toys but we never get to see it.
We de-humanise ourselves. We identify with the bombs in Paris and Brussels. It “could” happen to us on a weekend break. It could happen to us on a ten-day vacation in Spain or Turkey.
But could it happen on a weekend break in Dublin? Or Copenhagen? Or Prague?
Could it happen on a ten-day vacation in Portugal? Or Malta?
I suppose the answer is “yes it could …but it is much less likely”.
For this is not a war on “western values”. It is a war on “some western values”…imperialism and post-imperial legacy. The bomb attacks on London on 7th July 2005 were carried out by English terrorists…of Pakistani heritage. Attacks on France are carried out by French terrorists of North African heritage.
What can be done. Britains nuclear weaponry is useless in the London Underground. The French nuclear arsenal cannot be deployed against a truck on the French Riviera.
Certainly there is something iconic about Bastille Day. “REPUBLIC”is a beautiful word in any language but “Vive la Republique” in French just sounds natural.
Yet it seems that the French, the British and Americans are not fighting the right people. The disaffected murderers in London, Paris, Brussels, Orlando, Dallas and Nice are little more than serial losers who are nihilistic and suicidal and ISIS or any terrorist group will either facilitate the hatred or retrospectively claim them.
But the real puppet-masters are in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia…nominally at least “allies” of the “West”. Nobody in Washington DC, London or Paris is dealing with the Saudis…or their bankers in New York, London and Frankfurt.