On the 14th November 2015, I woke up at 5am. A member of my family had just messaged me from Australia and my iPad bleeped to let me know. Her message was short: ‘What’s going on in Paris?’
As the weekend moved on, it became clear what was going on in Paris. The young had murdered the young.
I spent hours thinking about the event, watching the news and asking the question people across the globe were asking: why? What had happened to those young men and possibly a young woman, to make them carry out brutal murder on their contemporaries? They could so easily have been sitting in that concert hall watching the rock band. Instead, they were standing behind the audience shooting them.
Would these young murderers have simply become dangerous criminals, murdering in the course of a robbery they were carrying out, if it wasn’t for the fact that their brains had been tampered with to make them believe lies; lies so potent it allowed them to shed their humanity in favour of blindly murdering their own kind in the name of their God?
In truth, what do these young killers really know of death? As a child, I experienced a lot of death in my family. I was the youngest of five children, born to my parents late in life. My extended family appeared to be always leaving. I went to several funerals by the time I was twelve and many more after that. I was familiar with the concept and it was something I felt compelled to avoid at all costs, until I became very old. I was told about heaven and hell and purgatory. I was bought up a Catholic and educated by nuns, but all that reciting of the Catechism, every Mass I attended on a Sunday morning and each Confession I made did not affect my ability to think! It seems to me that these kids recruited by Isis are mindless, unable to reason, have no ability to make good decisions – and all in the name of Allah? I don’t think so. They are weak and feckless, dominated by others, just as the Nazi youth were in the 1930’s.
However much I try to rationalise the idea of radicalisation, I sense there must be something else; something far more insidious and subtle that is making so many young men and women treat life with such appalling disrespect. Eventually, the pundits and politicians, the psychologists and psychiatrists will have their say about the reasons why beautiful new born babies turn into incoherent militants willing to murder with such apparent ease. To anyone not indoctrinated, it seems incomprehensible.
When I look at photos of the killers and then at photos of those killed, each one of them started in the same place – in their mother’s arms. The tragedy takes place at a crossroads, where some accept brutality and death, while others hold onto joy and life. Religion has nothing to do with which road they take.
Now, I want to know where Isis gets its money to destroy the ‘thinking’ part of the brains of all these young people; to make them believe blatant lies; to train and equip them with murderous weapons and convince them that taking their own lives and the lives of others is okay, to tell them that revenge is good, that hate is good, that death is better than life. Who is giving them money to do this? Where does the responsibility lie for all those innocent deaths across the world? With the funders? With the organisations, countries, individuals who hand over huge sums of money to finance the killing? Bombing indiscriminately is a blunt response. Find out where the money is coming from to support them, first.
My deepest sympathies go to all the mothers who have lost their beautiful babies – the babies who became the killers or who were murdered…