writing

the dilemma of being human

If you’re interested in details on the new store my site has, and how to set one up yourself, I did a report on it for the Mad Genius Club. 

On a much more serious note, Peter Grant has a good essay on the reactions to the tragedy in Paris. I’m snipping some below, but I recommend you read all of it. And then ask yourself “what can be done?”

All those attitudes were on display in the terror attacks in Paris last night.  The perpetrators committed their crimes because they didn’t regard their victims as being human.  They were guilty by virtue of not being Muslims, or (in some cases) being Muslims who lived in too close an association with non-Muslims, thereby making themselves targets as well.  The victims were ‘guilty’ of being infidels, and paid the price for their ‘crime’.  That’s the way it is, for the attackers.  We’re justified in what we’re doing, because God as we understand him has authorized and encouraged us to do it.

The terrorists haven’t thought about it, I’m sure, but they’re going to produce a similar and even greater tragedy for their own people than they’ve inflicted on France.  The reaction from ordinary people like you and I won’t be to truly thinkabout the tragedy, to realize that the perpetrators were a very small minority of those who shared their faith, extremists who deserve the ultimate penalty as soon as it can be administered.  No.  The ordinary man and woman on the streets of France is going to wake up today hating all Muslims.  He or she will blame them all for the actions of a few, and will react to all of them as if they were all equally guilty.

I’ve written before about how blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few is disingenuous and inexcusable.  I still believe that . . . but events have overtaken rationality.  People are going to start relating to ‘Muslims’ rather than to ‘human beings’, just as the extremists label all non-Muslims as ‘kaffirs’ – unbelievers – rather than as human beings.  For the average man in a European street, a Muslim will no longer be a ‘person’.  He’s simply a Muslim, a label, a ‘thing’.  He’s no longer French, or American, or British, no matter what his passport says.  He’s an ‘other’.  He’s ‘one of them’ . . . and because of that, he’s no longer ‘one of us’.  He’s automatically defined – no, let’s rather say (because it’s easier to blame him) thathe’s defined himself – as a potential threat, merely by the religion he espouses.  He may have been born into it, and raised in a family and society and culture so saturated with it as to make it literally impossible, inconceivable, for him to be anything else . . . but that doesn’t matter.  It’s his choice to be Muslim, therefore he must take the consequences.  We’re going to treat him with the same suspicion and exaggerated caution that we would a live, possibly armed hand-grenade.  He’s asked for it, so we’re going to give it to him.

We cannotkill them all and let God sort them out‘ (and let it never be forgotten that those obscene, inhuman instructions were reportedly issued, not by a Muslim fundamentalist, but by an Abbott and Papal Legate of the Catholic Church).  There are too many of ‘them’ to kill them all, just as ‘they’ can never kill all of ‘us’.  We cannot kill our way out of terrorism.  We cannot kill our way out of the dilemma of being human, with all the tragedy that entails.

May God have mercy on us all.

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