Undoubtedly many tens of thousands of words will be written about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Anger and fear will be expressed, or has already been. Blame will be placed, whether it is due or not. People will be attacked because of their appearance, their religion, their home country. I can easily imagine that the politicians in the United States, especially those candidates vying for the White House, will rant and rave and talk about closing down the borders, building walls and refusing refugees and, at the same time, blast Europe for closing borders and not helping the lost and homeless enough.
There is a lack of understanding on all sides, as much as a lack of will to allow other people to simply live in peace. It is difficult not to put the blame on religion for all this – and by ‘religion’ I do not mean faith, believe or anything similar. I mean the dogmatic religion which tells people how to live their lives and which can be, as is, taken out of context and used as a pretense for all forms of hatred and violence.
Graphic Source: Gary Winfield – Creative Commons
The lack of understanding on the part of the terrorists who claim to be Muslim was summed up, for me, in a sentence someone told me one of the terrorists used. He said that moving across Europe was easy since there are no borders, and he had no problems organizing the attacks.
It is clear what he hasn’t understood here. He doesn’t know what Freedom is. He has no conception of the idea of freedom of movement and, clearly, no idea of what the freedom to practice your own religion can mean. Freedom of speech is one aspect that many terrorists have understood, since they use our hard-won freedoms to spread their words of violence and hatred with the promise that, in the future, should they be successful, they will ban this very freedom, this Right.
Europe has been free of wars and conflicts since the end of the Second World War. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been involved in wars, but there have been none within the member states at all. In Europe all religions can be practiced, and there is, as a result, a far greater harmony. Lessons have been learned since the Thirties and Forties, ones which those in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Nigeria … it is a long list … have not yet come to appreciate. Ones which the terrorists cannot comprehend because they do not comprehend their own chosen religion.
- Viktoria Michaelis.