So, it’s been an interesting week. So to speak. The Paris terror attack has caused some very different reactions.
Some, predictably, reacted by essentially saying, “see, that’s what we’ve been telling you, Muslims are bad, and they won’t assimilate or learn Western values.” Others have, more sensibly, reminded, that the first policeman to die in the attack on Wednesday was Ahmed Merabet, of Algerian origin and a devout Muslim, but also a French policeman, who was thoroughly assimilated, he believed in our values and so on. And besides, the terrorists’ goal was likely just the reaction that the hard right is having, i.e. blaming Islam for the attacks, that essentially had nothing to do with it, and all to do with power. For each terrorist wannabe, there are many, many of those, who have assimilated by being fully trained in the French school system, who work in mundane workaday jobs for the society et.c without many people even noticing, that they’re Muslim.
The terrorists depend on the hard-right racism and societal disenfranchisement for their raison d’être, because in a normal society, there’s no place for the kind of extremism they preach. The more they succeed, the more discrimination the different people–the immigrants, the LGBT community et.c–will face, and the more of them affiliate or feel some sympathy at least with the terrorists.
While we’re pondering the facets and faces of terrorism, we’d be wise to take note of such political organisations, as UKIP, BNP and Britain First in Britain, Front National et.c in France, the anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant and anti-difference parties that have taken hold in Europe. Think of Anders Behring Breivik in Norway, his mass murder (do we condemn him as harshly as we condemn the violent terrorists from Northern Africa?), think of the league of hard-right parties, who use the 100-years-old societal philosophy of the leftist movements to twist them to their own use. They pretend to be defending European culture, without even defining what it means.
Is European culture the culture of the Crusades? Anti-Semitism at least has two millennia of European history. Is European culture the feeling of superiority, that caused our forebears to go into all the world and murder, colonise and subjugate all native peoples, all in the name of civilisation? Please pardon me, if I beg to differ on the “civilisation” part.
In any case, the hard right use the preservation of European culture and civilisation as a pretext to preach racist ideas of the Third Reich, who wish to close all the borders, and let nobody in, except slaves. And forget freedom of speech and being able to organise freely to collectively argue in our interest. They will substitute for democracy a paternalistic autocracy, which tells what one can and cannot do to the minute detail, and they use that to create a bureaucracy that is as Byzantine and arcane as it is useless for anything else, but a Kafkaesque nightmare of a society.
It will also be a fascist state, where corporations have more power than any citizen organisation could ever have (so neo-liberalism is helping to create this situation on its own).
Can that be what anybody wants, besides the terrorists, which will then have a very strong raison d’être, something to fight against. A truly free society will not have any place for terrorism, because it will give no reason for it. And in saying this, I don’t justify or defend the terrorists, I’m just saying that they have a certain reason for being there. In France, the obvious reason is the colonising of Africa, holding onto it past the time to give it up (no more so than Britain); the extremely bloody and long war that the Algerians fought for independence; the forcing of most North African immigrants into de facto ghettoes, where they had no real advantages of civilised society, then calling them criminals and anti-social et.c; denying good education to them; then discriminating them in everything from apartment rentals to job applications to everything one can dream. At some point, there will be a breaking point.
That is where support for terrorism comes from, not extremist preachers in Yemen or Parisian banlieu. So please don’t let us give the reason for them. Some criminals will always exist, as there are enough racist literature out there, that some people will read and be duped.