One hundred and twenty nine people (by the moment) died this weekend in Europe’s heart. «The war in Paris», said Le Figaro’ headline. After terrorists chose United States’ political, military and financial power –World Trade Center, Pentagon and, we will never know, Capitol Hill or the White House– fourteen years ago to crash passenger aircrafts, on Friday we saw how they chose football, theatres and restaurants on the beginning of a weekend. Fourteen years ago they achieved to terrify us attacking the power. Now they have done so, attacking our lifestyle. Our forms to understand happiness: music, joy, sports.
They have done so fusillading innocents, right, but also installing fear in our hearts. Fear, impotency, rage. And especially pain. A lot of pain.
Now comes the time to ask questions to ourselves. The most difficult one is «why», and it will never be answered, but there are some others. What is going to happen now, how are we going to respond this infamous attack, who is the next? Even, how did we get here? «Here» is to be in a students’ pub in the most peaceful country in the world playing pool and stop the game to start following breaking news frenetically.
«Here» is to ascertain the numbers rising, from two to four, from ten to twenty, from thirty to a hundred, in minutes. «Here» is to read without breath that there are people tweeting how they are being shot. «Here» is to hear without believe it that the Islamic State launched a hashtag threatening London, Rome and Washington. «Here» is to feel a shudder while looking at a President who has just being invested with an unlimited power addressing his compatriots in the hardest speech of his life, probably in the hardest day of his life. By the way, not all the Presidents would went to a theatre to see a hundred of bodies of citizens killed under their responsibility.
On Friday night there were 129 killed and 500 million wounded in Paris. I am sorry, but I’m not compassionate enough to feel wounded when dozens die in Beirut, Kabul or Bagdad each week. I do ask forgiveness for my selfishness, but under my own circumstances, I couldn’t have been an innocent killed by a kamikaze in a market on Damascus because, even though I wanted to pretend a different thing, I’m a Spaniard in Oslo. However, I do could be an Erasmus student in Paris, a tourist having dinner or a fan in a concert. As well as I do could be an inhabitant of Madrid in a train one simple Thursday at 7:34. Maybe if we ask to an Iraqi if he is consternated because of the attacks in Paris he would answer “meh”, but in that case I’m not going to be the one who blames him.
That is why I feel wounded. If I am a hypocrite because I’ve put a French flag in my profile picture, and not a Lebanese one, I ask forgiveness. If I am a hypocrite because of writing this post after the attacks in Paris and not after the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan or Pakistan, I ask forgiveness. But I remind to those who told me hypocrite –or, even better, ‘manipulated by the media’– that they didn’t cry to heaven when 200 people were burnt alive in Nigeria because they were Christians, or when three million children die each year by hunger. We can race for pain, but I think it would be completely useless.
I feel wounded because I’m one of them. I’m a citizen of Europe, a Europe without borders either walls; a Europe built with a freedom which was born in Paris more than two hundred years ago and which made us all free, equal and brothers.
Now, I’m not asking; I’m demanding my Government to act. We have been seeing for years how the terrorists deployed their troops in the West, and they find success: thousands of innocents have died and fear was installed in our streets. And not just in the West: hundreds of thousands have been murdered in thousands of attacks in the countries we consider far away from here.
The International Community has a duty, called Responsibility to Protect, which was enforced, for example, in Libya in 2011 to stop a carnage in Benghazi by Gaddafi’s troops. The Responsibility to Protect definitely applies to Syria and the war against IS, and it is not being enforced because of the geopolitics. But it also applies to us. We –and when I say «we» I say French, British, Spanish– are civilians, and we are being killed. This is a war, a war where the enemy tries to do his best to kill as much of us as he can. We didn’t started it, or maybe we did, but that doesn’t matter right now, because we are already in. And we are not going to be out of it without fighting. I’m the first against the loose of more lives, but there is no easy way. Never in history has peace been built without sacrifices. I’m not talking about just a dirty invasion and an early withdrawal. I’m talking about decades. But we have to start now and it’s not going to be a way without violence, because it is not possible to defeat without violence those who are able to open fire against the crowd in a theatre.
We do not deserve the pain we are suffering, the pain we all suffered last Friday night. As well as all the innocents in Syria or Iraq does not deserve the one they have being suffering for years. The pain which makes thousands of them to flee and beg for a place in Europe. We have the duty to stop it, we should do that a long time ago. At least, I beg this is the last time I have to say that je suis parisien.
Thanks for staying there.