Sorrow

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I was planning to write a post about a Swedish politician being included in the annual Simon Wiesenthal anti-semitism list, but the senseless massacre in Paris kind of stole the scene today.

While I don’t have any personal ties to the families of the victims, it fills me with great sorrow to read about the barbaric slaughter. Not just because of the loss of life, but because of the impact it will have on European politics.

To say that the political debate has taken a turn for the harsher lately is an understatement. People don’t merely disagree with each other; people all-out, seethingly hate “the others”. The evil ones. The subhumans. The soulless orcs. One Swedish newspaper even went so far as to reduce political opponents to cockroaches to be exterminated in an image so close to the Nazi anti-Jew propaganda of the 1930s that it sends a chill down the spine. Oh, and they mean to be the good guys; Åkesson is the fascist, not them.

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SD leader Åkesson being gassed

And that was BEFORE this act of terrorism, striking into the very heart of European civilization. More than that; it’s an assault on freedom itself. Freedom to speak wihout fear, freedom to reject other peoples attempts at limiting your speech, and perhaps most of all, freedom from religious influence in any aspect of life, as is our right in a secular society.

The editorials and politicians are of course all paying lip service and wringing their hands now. But once they’ve uttered the word “condemn” and “condoleances” a few dozen times each, what then? The smart money says, not much. But the clash between those trying to reduce muslim immigration and those who believe they’re fighting against the forces of evil will take on a whole new fervor. Both sides get a greater sense of urgency, which cranks up the hostility and viciousness even further.

More polarization was the LAST thing we needed now, but that’s exactly what is coming. Skimming the Twitter feeds, there’s already people on the left accusing the conservatives for celebrating the massacre (!) because it’ll swing public opinion against increased muslim immigration. And the worst of it is, I’m sure a few have gone so far into the political hardening that they actually do. Others on the left employ the classic position of attack being the best defense, already playing the islamophobia card and driving at it being the satirists bringing it onto themselves. (Swedish state radio: “It was not innocent people who were attacked.”)

The bodies have barely gone cold, and both sides are rallying their positions to turn the tragedy into political points. None have a shred of humanity or decency left. It’s all about providing ammunition against the others. The evil ones. The monsters.

People actually operate on this level now, which would have been completely inconceivable just 20 years ago. And it’s sickening.

Sweden used to be the most peaceful, homogenous, consensus-based society on earth. Now it is burning with political conflict, and the Paris massacre just dumped a big, fat bucket of gasoline on that fire.

I mourn the death of the victims, and the hope of sensible political debate, in equal measures.

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6 thoughts on “Sorrow

  1. The bodies have barely gone cold, and both sides are rallying their positions to turn the tragedy into political points. None have a shred of humanity or decency left. It’s all about providing ammunition against the others. The evil ones. The monsters ….

    I mourn the death of the victims, and the hope of sensible political debate, in equal measures.

    Well spoken. Well said.

    In times like these, it’s difficult to keep despair at bay. As things accelerate, I can’t help but be reminded of these lines from Yeats’ poem:

    The Second Coming

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    It’s a black day for Europe …

    Like

  2. And in more depressing news:

    Alice Petrén/Sveriges Radio-Ekot: “[Charlie Hedbo] är inte oskyldiga personer” – ursäktar “blev knasigt”
    Public Service reporter Alice Petrén satt igår i radion och försvarade massmordet av tio journalister och två poliser vid Charlie Hedbo-dådet. Hon rättfärdigade mord på journalister för att de gjort nidbilder på profeten Muhammed.

    Följande sades:

    “Det är ju inte oskyldiga personer i det här fallet, utan det riktar sig rakt mot en redaktion som har attackerat med nidbilder av profeten Muhammed, som har haft satirbilder som så sent som i natt la ut en nidbild.” (Source)

    Words fail me. All I can feel is rage and contempt. 😦

    Like

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