I didn’t listen to any news last night. I was on Netflix enjoying a reprieve from the daily chaos. It was this morning that I saw on the news the horror that took place in France last night.
What has happened to the human race? I think of Emerson’s sad line, “Man is a god in ruins.”
The political pundits are already stirring the pot, pumping politicians for outrageous comments. The politicians are well into their war talk threatening more violence for violence. The security experts are calling for even more surveillance, defense measures, and limitations on the movements of people.
But no one seems to be talking about the root of the problem. We can build up defenses and create all kinds of temporary and permanent protections, and those are certainly needed. But what are we going to do about the ideology behind those who have lost any sense of human value? What do we do with dispossessed, angry, psychologically and physically damaged people who don’t care about anyone or anything anymore? Desperate, broken, furious people whose only purpose left in life is to enact revenge, to kill anyone and everyone without question, for causes and reasons and motives most of us are not interested in knowing anything about.
The world is in a cycle of madness and violence. We are in that cycle. We seem overwhelmed by it and incapable of breaking out of it. And there doesn’t seem to be anyone with any ideas of how to get out of it. Our only response is to defend against the violence with violence of our own. But that doesn’t get us out of the vicious cycle. It only perpetuates our spinning in it.
France, England, the US, none of us seem to understand how ruthlessly hated we are by people all three countries have used and abused, tortured and killed, and whose religion and culture we have mocked, dismissed, misunderstood and outright rejected.
There are reasons for the violence in the world. They may be complicated and difficult but they are also valid, tangible, easily observable reasons as well. Huge democracies can no longer push their way into Middle Eastern or other countries, exact chaos, deplete resources, and kill civilians, without horrible, devastating consequences.
We are living those consequences today.
I do not excuse any of the beastly, cowardly acts of violence by ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taleban, or any other terrorist group or madman rogue killer. What they are doing is inhuman and evil. But there are reasons for their brutality. And until we face those reasons, acknowledge them, admit our complicity in them, and try to understand ways to give these people some hope of dignity, respecting their religion and culture and their people, then the long nights of terror, horror, atrocity and snarling chaos will just keep on coming again and again.
© 2016 Timothy Moody