Less Baggage Less Stuff Less Procrastination

A different kind of travelogue. As an avid young traveller I often wondered what would it would be like when I got older, gathered commitments, created children and accrued debt. This is what it's like.

Grand Tour #31; Violence in France.

I am against violence. I’ve lived and worked in countries experiencing civil wars. I’ve visited others. I’ve been affected by terrorism campaigns. I’ve been “racially profiled”. I have been targeted by security forces personally and I have repeatedly been questioned. I have seen people beaten by bigots, beaten by zealots, beaten by security forces. I have seen violece perpetrated by “protesters” at protests that were meant to be peaceful. I have seen police attack protesters that were being peaceful. Violence does not work. I reject violence.

Then there is travel. There’s plenty of valid questions about travel to less developed countries, to countries experiencing conflict, to countries perpetrating violence upon others.

I travel. I’ve visited many places that have raised these questions. But questions are good. Fundamentalism is not good. I do not distinguish between different forms of fundamentalism.

I lived in the UK when they illegally invaded Iraq. I have visited China while they continue to occupy Tibet. I’ve been to India while the Kashmir conflict was simmering in the north. I was in Haiti while the UN Mission in Haiti was still there in the late 1990’s. And much more.

Every colonial power has trampled innocent peoples under foot. Every dictator has done the same. Every external power that supported a dictator is complicit. The Cold War and the greed for hydrocarbon derived energy is responsible for countless and uncountable deaths.

Anyone who thinks this is simple essentially debases their own argument to the extent that they have no argument.

I am no expert. It does not require an expert to see that violence begets violence.

The events in Paris are completely unjustifiable. Completely.

Violent acts causing loss of life are unjustifiable. Violent acts causing loss of life in response to the events in Paris are also unjustifiable. People will try to justify dropping bombs and launching missiles on Syria. I will not be swayed. I have yet to see anyone profit from the sort of “air campaign” that is likely to rain death upon Syria. Apart from arms manufacturers of course. Who will benefit from further chaos in Syria? Will this lead to “boots on the ground”? French boots?

The french have occupied Syria before. In the aftermath of World War 1, from 1920 to 1946, in what was known as the French Mandate. It was not the aim of the the French High Commissioner, General Henri Gourard, to create a stable coherent state of Syria. It was their aim to maintain divisions that “required” the ongoing presence of France.

The further you go into it the muddier it gets. There is no simple fix because it is not a simple problem.

It’s hard to write about having fun in France at the moment. So I will not. We have actually left France. We were not in Paris on Friday 13th of November when multiple attacks on the capital took place. We had moved on.

Paris will move on. The phenomenon of religious fundamentalism, unfortunately, will not.

10 comments on “Grand Tour #31; Violence in France.

  1. Sheamus

    In the Aviva stadium in Dublin Ireland played Bosnia Hertz on monday night, world cup qualifier and won 2 – 0. Before the match there was a minutes silence for Paris. There were shouts and jeers from a section of the Bosnia Hertz crowd. Imagine there were people in the crowd, here to enjoy a football match, who openly approved of the slaughter on Friday 13th.

    • dougalynch

      Well, nice to hear from you Sheamus. I didn’t watch the football on the TV on Monday. I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of all the support related activities and the associated ceremonies and symbolism.
      So I cannot comment.
      I don’t know what any individual is thanking at any given time even when I do try.
      So I couldn’t read the mind of a person making noise at a football game. It may have seemed disrespectful but I would err on the side of de-escalation.
      That’s me.

  2. Sheamus

    Bit late for de-escalation Doctor, to effectivly do that we would need to go back to 1948 and then move slowly and carefully from there.
    I totaly agree with you about colonial powers drawing lines on maps carveing up cultures and communities in their own interests and expecting it to work. The world is full of distressed examples of such stupidity. The Kurds, 30 million people with no country, those people in Burma, the Aboriginal people of Australia, hundreds of totaly different tribes herded together like cattle.
    In my book its a natural law that if you kick a culture in the balls often enough it will become violent. Thats what happened here in Ireland in 1969, its an ugly truth and we are liveing (and dying) with it right now.
    The point i was making was how sad it was to see a culture so damaged and disturbed that they felt justified to publicaly express their support for such a monstrosity. There is no doubth in the minds of the people present or watching on TV as to what sentiment was being expressed. Sad and ugly and as you say the only winner is the munitions industry.

    • dougalynch

      Alas the History of Ireland and of Bosnia-Herzegovina both make some awful reading.
      You know that the aim of a terrorist is to create terror and thus hate.
      When the people under attack start buying in to the terror then the campaign starts gathering momentum.
      To start interpreting all events in a binary fashion “black or white”, “good or evil” and “us or them” is to be drawn into their ploy.
      Some idiots went and whistled during a moments silence.
      To interpret it as more than some idiots whistling during a moments silence is easy but probably not wise.

      • Sheamus

        Am i missing something here? Three days after 130 people were slaughtered in Paris some people at a football match in Ireland expressed aproval. That did not register with me as some fool whisteling in the distance, nor did it with the 50,000 people present either. I try very hard to avoid the us-and-them trap and i abhor violence, however, to suggest that the way to stop these sad people from slaughtering more innocent bystanders is to ignore their actions…. Is that what your saying?

      • dougalynch

        Read what I said. That’s what I’m saying.

    • dougalynch

      1948? Not even close.

      • Sheamus

        Terror and hate dont nessessarly go hand in hand, if people come to slaughter you and your family its natural to experience terror, it need not create hate.
        I thought the establishment of the Isreali state in 1948 would be a good place to start if we were to address the discussed conflict. How far would you go back. Adam?

      • dougalynch

        French Mandate 1920
        British occupation during WW1
        Ottoman Empire
        Roman Empire

        Probably not Adam.

  3. Sheamus

    You forgot Moses.
    Im not sure how much the Romans or Alexander impact on the present crisis, for me the formation of the Isreali state is at the heart of the extremism which is effecting us all. I am not saying that the Isrealis are not entitled to a homeland, it is how they have managed their entitlement over the past 68 yrs that i have a problem with.
    Now i have read and reread your opinion and there are still some points which i feel are not clear. So at the risk of being borish, lets recap.
    The point i made was that it shocked me to find some people (it was only 3 or 4) with whom i was shareing a football match who evidently held extremists views. They were boo-ed not only by the Irish spectators but also the rest of the Bosnian/Hertz crowd. The point is it was 3/4 people in about 1000 and i thought that made an interesting template for consideration. The countries of Europe are trying to help hundreds of thousands of distressed people who are seeking refuge from the violence in their homelands. Europe wants to help but it also has to protect its own citizens, so 3/4 extremist in every 1000 represents a major security problem and there is not a simple solution to that possibilty. I still dont know wheather or not you consider that a legitimate concern?
    You state “that the aim of the terrorist is to create terror and thus hate”, i dispute “thus hate”. I have discussed this crisis with many many people and i read all the commentry on it and i have found that there is a large percentage who are conscious of and sympathetic to the sense of anger and injustice we wittness within the Islamic culture. Many have concerns in common with them regarding the direction western values are slideing, eg. Our obsession with sexual exploitation and our obsession with food. All agree that should we find ourselves confronted by a jihadist armed with guns and explosives, we would be terrorised but that does not nessessarely mean we would therefore hate. So its this link you made between terror and hate that im not clear on?
    You state”when people start buying into terror then the campaign gathers momentum” again im not clear what you mean. When you say “buying into” i would read that as ” responding to”, if that is a correct substituation well of course you are right but what is your alternative? If extremists clearly state their violent intention and frequently and sucessfully see it through, what is it you suggest people should do? Im not clear on that either.
    And finaly, we are all effected by this crisis, we all view it from our own perspective, we all have our own opinions based on various levels of knowledge. I am very interested in this conflict and im very interested in your opinion. However if you find this scrutiny of your views uncomfortable then please just ignore this comment.
    A question i would like you to consider, in whose interests is it that Assad be demonised? What was so terrible in Syria before this all began? The western alliance feel so confident about our brand of democracy that we feel we have a right to force it on other cultures and countries who do not hold the same view. We rejoiced in the socalled Arab spring, yet when democracy voted in the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt suddenly it was all wrong and now we have the army back in. Personaly i feel democracy has become corrupt and no longer serves the interests of all the people. We in Ireland have lost our neutrality, is that the wish of the people?
    I dont intend to say anymore on this subject unless you specificaly ask me to.

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This entry was posted on 18/11/2015 by in France, Grand Tour 2015, Uncategorized and tagged , , , .


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