Staring into the Abyss

The obscenity of Paris and Beirut stupefy.

The killers make a travesty of their religion and of humanity.

And so we spiral deeper into hate-fuelled fear and suspicion and violence.

Violence begets violence. There will be no turning of the other cheek for our frenzied, whipped up countries.

It’s not hard to write the script. Expect Cameron to force another vote on bombing Syria. Expect the Commons to support him. Expect an escalation of violence. The actions being taken in the Middle East serving to fuel our own home-grown terrorists’ justifications – their sense of outrage propelling them into our public spaces with guns and explosive belts.

This is manna to terrorists such as ISIS. The creation of chaos. The promotion of instability.

They have engineered – with the mindless thoughtless collusion of the West (who the fuck presses on with violent regime change without any hint of an idea as to who will fill the resultant power vacuum?) – a conflagration that leads to the massing of refugees on Europe’s borders and an ISIS-helpful spike in Europe’s xenophobic groupings. Europeans begin to fight amongst themselves. The German’s progressive stance becoming a stick with which to beat them. Communities divided by their respective pro/anti positions on ‘Islam’ and on refugees.

And so, we need to ask: who stands to benefit from this chaos?

Surely, terrorists and arms dealers and the hawkish. Xenophobic groupings from all sides. Fundamentalists. And then there are the power hungry seeking to consolidate their grip on their respective countries through fear and through hate.

The passage last week of increasingly draconian legislation authorising the monitoring and storage of our online ‘data’ is simply the beginning of the end of any illusion we had of ‘freedom’ and liberty.

If the 9th September attacks on the US delivered a terminal blow to tolerance and plurality, yesterday took us one large step along the road to fortress Europe; and ultimately – if we cannot halt the escalation – to totalitarianism and police states.

In this political decade of public body austerity the only Government bodies to benefit will be our intelligence services and our military and our police. None, of course, would welcome the deaths. But this warped aggression will secure their additional funding for years to come.

Try arguing against ID cards now. Try talking about the right to privacy or about human rights. Attacks on personal and social liberty will be justified with a blasé ‘if you’ve nothing to hide you’ve nothing to fear’.

And hope?

Hope – if it’s to have any chance – lies in de-escalation. It lies in re-building broken communities in the Middle East. In the reconstruction of shattered infrastructure. It lies in hands of friendship being extended to Muslims who are the victims of ISIS – and the provision of adequate meaningful support to them. And it lies with an Israel that can seek to barter peace with its old enemies.

For my children’s sakes – for the sake of the children everywhere – I hope my fears are not realised. I hope that we can walk away from the edge of this abyss.