So why does the assassination of a dozen people in Paris yesterday make such headlines?
Having lived in Paris for over thirty years, my first reaction upon hearing the news was shock that such a thing could happen in the streets of the Paris that I know – in broad daylight between breakfast and lunch. Two determined killers were able to enter a building with impunity and kill a room full of people. A wounded policeman was cold bloodedly shot in the head by someone with so much hate in him that he didn’t hesitate.
No religion should teach killing. Did the Prophet Mahomet condone killing or is it simply modern day zealots interpreting the Koran as they like for their own thrill of power and profit? I suspect that it is the twisted interpretations, as with certain groups with the Bible, that turn words to their own benefit.
As a result of this attack, it is hard not to put all Muslims into the same basket and condemn them along with the assassins. I will not do that because I have known and worked with Muslims who were honourable people. Today I have no doubt that I would still like and respect them.
France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, which means we are living with a lot of Muslims all around us. I don’t think that we question whether the person standing in the queue with us is Muslim or not, until something like this slaughter happens. And then that ordinary Muslim takes undeserved flak. It happens to any ethnic group when one of them goes rogue.
The only thing that I think will get to the base of the problem is within the French mosques themselves. They should teach their young that it is wrong to kill and that they won’t go to heaven if they do. This would perhaps counter-balance those indoctrinations outside of France where mothers are encouraged to use their children as suicide martyrs.
Sadly, even this will not do away with massacres in general as there will always be some warped idiot who will get a high on killing for whatever the reason – notoriety, revenge or resentment.
However it happens, death will always have an impact on us, because it prompts us to think of our own mortality. To go out to work and be killed by a random act is within the realms of possibility for us all. Those journalists who died yesterday knew they were more at risk than the average man in the street. They had been threatened, and yet they’d continued to exercise their right of expressing themselves with cartoons or articles in the paper, Charlie Hebdo. It is terrible when expressing an opinion or writing satire becomes fatal.
Let’s hope that the perpetrators are caught quickly and that they are not made into martyrs...