I feel ashamed this morning to discover that whilst celebrating with friends, laughing and enjoying each other’s company, a tragedy was unfolding in the heart of France, in a city famous for its cosmopolitan soul. I am struggling to comprehend how such terrible murder can be committed just a couple of hours from where my family sleep.
Our thoughts are for the families affected by this horror and for those who have lost their lives. Tonight I will pray hard for everyone suffering the consequences of last night’s events and even harder that it doesn’t happen again. I believe I am the same as the majority of humanity. All we want is our families, home and good health. Unfortunately a prerequisite for the simplicity of a decent life is peace and we [humanity] are not very good at it.
The flood of mixed emotions strikes me as I read the news feeds; anger and hatred towards the perpetrators and their kin, sympathy for the victims and inevitably fear for everyone close to me. I have seen all the predictable responses; statements of revenge and sympathy, pledges to avenge the fallen and so on. The reality is that when societies seek revenge it is too often [always] the innocent that suffer as collateral.
Military and police forces prepare to meet violence with violence and ministers swear to hunt down the enemies of freedom. Is there an equally potent resolve to resolve the cause of the naked hatred that compels people to commit such evil upon each other? Our forces might well find and destroy supporters of such acts but, as history proves, such actions create new legions of zealots equally bent on retribution.
One questions the motives for these acts of murder. None of the victims of last night’s attack were meaningful targets just unfortunate testimony of humanity’s failure to relegate violence to the history books. Of course the aim is to satisfy a deep loathing and murderous intent whilst breeding fear without boundaries. An attack that can be replicated in any city worldwide without warning demonstrates the vulnerability of free society. France is right to close its borders, for a while; unfortunately this achieves for such atrocities a step away from freedom.
I hope that the backlash from last night’s events will not be the perpetuation of hatred. The families of the fallen grieve today and will receive the support of their nation. We will clamour for action and debate the solution endlessly. I understand that the reaction may be merciless and I understand that right-now people want to see reciprocity. However, we must be mindful of how best to serve our goal and that goal must be peace not revenge.
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