Doing so blurs lines between victims and culprits, so it is discomforting to admit there really are purposes behind suicidal acts of ruthless violence. We don’t understand them fully, but they exist and we need to decipher the motivations of people who intend us harm. Only then can we address and resolve differences. If we fail, bellicosity and military actions are deadly substitutes for a just society.
Pierre Trudeau first used that term 47 years ago and no doubt his son considers the notion today. It involves construction of a nation in which the rights of minorities are safe and the disadvantaged gain a more meaningful equality of opportunity. Those objectives have merit on the world stage too.
The fright in Paris is but one drop in a roiling ocean of human tragedy. As I write this, the death toll stands at about 130. This act of terror is horrific but, in relative terms, minor on the scale of atrocities. In 2011, The Economist wrote Chronicle of death ignored:
OVER the past 15 years war in the Democratic Republic of Congo has consumed as many as 5 million lives, often gruesomely: children murdering in gangs, civilians massacred by the thousand, rape as common as petty thievery. And yet, who can name the man responsible? …
Of course, there are countless examples of mass killings; most more remote than cruelties occurring near the River Seine, within a kilometre of the iconic Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris. Knowing the ongoing disruption in the middle east, let us keep Friday’s shock in perspective and dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of peace and justice everywhere.
Project for the Study of the 21st Century, Nov 2015:
Amnesty International, Aug 2014:
The families of thousands of Afghan civilians killed by US/NATO forces in Afghanistan have been left without justice, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.
Aljazeera, Feb 2015:
At least 844 Palestinians were killed as a result of airstrikes on homes during Israel’s summer 2014 war, according to an AP investigation. 508 of the dead were children, women and older men.
BBC World News, Sept 2015:
The UN says almost 4,900 people, including more than 2,200 civilians, have been killed in Yemen in fighting on the ground and air strikes since 26 March.
New York Times, Sep 2015:
More than 200,000 people have been killed in the four-and-a-half-year Syrian civil war.
Ontario journalist Andrew Mitrovica, November 13, 2015:
Yesterday, mass murder in Lebanon and, of course, Iraq. Today, mass murder in Paris. All innocents. All need to be mourned and remembered.