Solidarity is great. What’s next?
There is a very familiar pattern to all of this.
A bloody Islamist terrorist attack brings carnage and fear to the streets of a major Western city.
Everyone from heads of state to the man next door rush to publicly register their shock and solidarity on Twitter.
Someone inevitably pops up after a few hours to lecture us that there is nothing Islamic about Islamic State, and that we should really be calling them Daesh, or “so-called Islamic State”.
Someone else usually pops up to say something incredibly bigoted or ignorant about all Muslims.
Impromptu shrines appear in a major square of the afflicted city, with candles, chalk drawings and sometimes a bit of impromptu John Lennon.
And the day closes with Europe and America’s major landmarks illuminated to resemble the national flag of the afflicted nation. They’re getting really good at that part now.
Fast forward a day, and plans are well afoot to grant even more powers to the well-meaning but overstretched security services – who were unable to make use of their current extensive powers to thwart the attack – and generally at the expense of our civil liberties. Particularly our rights to privacy and free speech.
Fast forward a month, and we have all moved on. Domestic political concerns, celebrity scandals and daily life have reasserted themselves.
I think we can all agree that we’ve got the public grief, cathartic expressions of solidarity and stern faced authoritarianism down to a fine art at this point.
When are we going to start acknowledging – and maybe even tackling – the root causes?
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