It is doubtful that I have much to add to the outpouring of outrage, grief, courage, thoughtfulness and strength that have come in the wake of the 12 murders that took place in Paris yesterday. But it’s all I have in my mind today, so I really have no choice.
There is no explanation of these events that satisfy all the facts and opinions that might be expressed. We all know that it has nothing to do with Islam but it might have something to do with Islamism — that is, an aggressive political ideology that draws its precepts from carefully selected snippets from the Muslim faith.
In this it does not differ from every other extremist ideology that claims its origins in a major world faith. Christianity over the centuries have had its fanatics, as have Hindus and Conservatives.
It is hard to imagine a faith or political movement that hasn’t been abused by its extremists.
There is plenty of blame to go around, I suppose, and we can point in every direction we want but the reality is all the blame here belongs in one place — the three men who committed these crimes and, perhaps, the half-dozen or so who abetted them. They had a mad grievance against the world and, like all grievances, it required them to point their rage somewhere.
They chose to point it at a group of satirists and cartoonists but they just as easily could have pointed it at a soldier standing guard at a war memorial or a group of school children quietly going about their business in… Connecticut. The ideology of hate knows no bounds.
A free society does not come without a price. Part of that price is that someone will try to use the freedom of society to destroy it (or sometimes, just abuse it). I often see people on Parliament Hill who, non-violently, say the most abusive things about the character of my progressive society. While I defend their right to do that, I wonder, sometimes, if they were in charge if they would support my right to criticize them and the social order they built.
Because that is what Paris is all about — the demand that you shut the fuck up. I don’t want to have to take your criticism. I have the right to force you — at the point of a gun — to take mine.
So, in retrospect (which I sometimes think is the value of these little ten minute writing sessions — they help me think things through), those men in Paris are nothing special. Their slapped together ideology is nothing new. They are simply foot soldiers in the long standing war to impose fascism on the world. And by that, I mean the desire to say to the world — shut up about your rights and freedoms and values and just do what we tell you.
We’ve seen where fascism can lead if we let it. But we’ve also seen that it doesn’t last. Nowhere. It doesn’t last because in the end it is not in our natures to be quiet and it never will be.
So, all I can say, like so many others have, Je suis Charlie.
But that’s ten minutes.