Last saturday was different from all the saturdays before. Although it started like always. I went swimming, I went shopping and was enjoying a cup of coffee in front of my computer when I heard the news. Nothing exceptional until I listened to the news: the attacks in Paris on Friday night. The report on many victims. That was the moment when I realized that this saturday was different from all the saturdays before.
At first I tried to understand what has happened. I realized pretty soon that inconceivable pictures of the attack excelled my imagination by far. I do not know anybody in Paris and am thus not personally concerned. And still – I am. Why? Because the attack took place in an European metropolis? Right. That brings terror to my threshold. This is not a distant sabre rattling any more but a real menace.
When I am at the movies on a Saturday afternoon I find myself observing the entrance wondering what kind of a chance I would have in case frenetic combatants would assault the cinema. Presumbly not a slightest chance. And that is exactly what scares me. There is no ascertained opponent such as the Russians in the days of Cold War. No, the face of this terror is the inconceivable cold-bloodedness of the culprits. People who are blinded by hate, infiltrated by unforgiving fatal messages attack without any covers and with peace of mind concert halls, restaurants, bars and even streets in the daytime to kill everybody who is in front of their sight pipe or within the range of their bombs.
And there is another thing that scares me. The chitchat about war, of cruelty and further threats on the part of top-ranking French politicians: “We will be ruthless”, it tinges out of Elysee palace. As a consequence the French president once again sends his air force on Sunday night to Syria in order to bomb positions of the IS. When the French minister of the interior spoke about roundups yesterday and annnounced at the same time that further ones are planned I wonder, if a suicide attacker who acts the way I described above is really scared of roundups? And who is really in danger to be killed when French bombs fall? Do they really just hit IS fighters and not also civilians? And do we not rather fuel supply to the IS with such bomb-attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? Do we not produce even more people who sympathize with the devil because they have nothing to lose and would like to take revenge on those who took everything from them?
Yesterday’s morning briefing of the Handelsblatt of November 16th, 2015 had some good advice for politicans, statesmen and civilians which are worth considering before one speaks of belligerent status: “But the West is also responsible for the hostile climate between the cultural areas.” It looks counterproductive to me to lock Syrian refugees out at this time and to leave them despair over. Should we not rather look out for confederates and friends than to produce more suicide attackers? And do we really want to risk that Syria becomes another IS-ruled state and thus can only feel safe on our own streets with the help of armed policemen and secret service that controls everything that we do and say because everybody is suspicious somehow? And moreover: what was secret service observation good for so far? Did not September 11th, Madrid 2004 or London 2005 happen despite control?
Back to the Handelsblatt Morning Briefing. Gabor Steingart, chief editor, says: „Of the 1.3 million human lives who have been killed during wars in Afghanisant, Syria and so on, alone the Iraq war has asked for 800.000 murdered people. The majority of them were peaceloving muslims, no terrorists. Saddam Hussein was a dictator but he is not responsible for the World Trade Center attacks, that’s proven.“ Both world wars are on Europe. The weapons killers from the Near East us to attack us are made in the USA and in Germany. Is that really what we want: Peace and freedom bought with another war and the lives taken of more civilians?
We do not need another war and we do not need more demagogues. And above all we do not need politicians that are only interested in their own careers and are afraid to tell the truth. Safety does not result from violence but from communication. We should stop to fight against symptoms instead of talking about reasons – openely and honestly. Yes, last saturday was different from any other saturday this year. And I really do hope that such a saturday will never come again.