Most of us surely despair in the face of such barbarism as was perpetrated in Paris on Friday evening. However, such outrages are by no means all there is to say about us as a species; there being no way of measuring them against, for example, the total global impact of everyday acts of kindness.
I would suggest that it is easy to take a stand every day of our lives on behalf of truth, beauty and goodness, whether it be a matter of saying a warm good morning to the passing stranger, putting a few coins in the street collector’s tin, declaring our solidarity with the Parisians through social media or of reassuring Muslims in our midst that they are valued members of our society.
The value of such simple actions would lie not only in their obvious benefits to the recipients but in the conscious spirit of compassionate goodwill in which they are performed.
Ardgowan Drive, Uddingston
In the wake of last month’s mass shooting in Oregon, President Obama movingly opined that the response to such atrocities had somehow “become routine”. Unfortunately, this is equally true of our response to Islamist terror attacks. It was, therefore, no surprise that, after Friday’s brutal massacres in Paris, we got the usual condemnations, condolences, expressions of solidarity, pledges to bring “to justice” those who’d assisted the suicide murderers, and so on.
What we actually need is the worldwide eradication of Jihadists, their supporters, their defenders, and their vile propaganda websites.
What we’ll get, sad to say, are yet more platitudes, more excuses, and more restrictions on our freedoms – and from politicians who are determined to play by rules our enemies blithely ignore.
Netherton Gate, Glasgow
The horrific scenes of bloodshed that filled the streets of Paris were truly shocking.
The immense sympathy for the victims and the terrible suffering that their families will endure does not relieve us of the responsibility of assessing the source of this tragedy.
If, as seems likely, the attacks were carried out by European veterans of IS or a similar militia, the hundreds of dead and wounded in the streets of Paris are victims of imperialist wars in the Middle East, waged for cynical geopolitical ends, that are now spiralling out of control.
Twelve years ago, when the Bush administration launched an illegal invasion of Iraq, the French government, foreseeing the disaster that would flow from the war, refused to participate.
The reintegration of France into Nato’s military command in 2009, followed by its decision to join the United States and other Nato powers in Middle East wars in 2011, has proven to have disastrous consequences.
The French political establishment backed Islamist militias in proxy wars for regime change in Libya and Syria, encouraging its citizens to join these militias by widely presenting them in the media as “revolutionaries” fighting Gaddafi and Assad. Now these forces, trained to carry out terrorist attacks and guerrilla warfare in the Middle East, are returning home.
This has created a political environment in which terrorism can flourish and spread rapidly, and as a result the war has come home to France.
Since the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo in January, the ruling elite has reacted to such dangers not by shifting away from the policy of war for regime change in Syria, but by building up the state’s anti-democratic police powers.
Gillespie Terrace, Dundee