When in Prague 2

Når man ferierer, er det fra alt som ellers måtte oppta en, verdens viderverdigheter innbefattet, men med desto større anledning til å prøvesmake tsjekkisk øl, selv om man rimeligvis ikke stopper der. Som dagens, inntatt ved Vltavas bredd, like ved Karlsbroen; Černá Hora, som smakte utmerket i solsteken, i og for seg, om navnet voldte aldri så små fnis, der man satt hinsides øyen Kampa, som fikk en til å undres om tsjekkerne har en greie for a-endelser. Det skulle jo ha tatt seg ut om haugen mellom Tøyen og Jordal benevntes Kampa, som i «kampa, kåra og krava». Til det slo en at «Černá Horen» neppe hadde klinget stort bedre.

Ferie, altså, fra verdens generelle elendighet, skjønt man ingenlunde går klar, som utenfor franskmennnenes ambassade til Praha, i kjølvannet av forrige ukes grusomheter i Nice:

«You may», som de sier, «run, but you cannot hide».

Det er en liten verden, og ingen skal fortenke en i trangen til å drukne sorgene i Černá Hora, og andre tsjekkiske spesialiteter.

Alright, terrorists, you win

As an open-minded liberal I have always championed open borders, free movement for workers and the freedom to settle in the country of your personal choice, which is an attitude I intend to maintain, in spite of the terrorists’ persistent attempts at mulling it.

Only problem is, of course, that with every attack – and you have to admit that they have become pretty damned frequent – I can feel my persuasion deteriorate, to a point where I have come to fear that some of the right-wing alarmists may have a point, but remain reluctant to sink to their level.

After all, as I pointed out in the 12 June post Clash of civilisations in full bloom?, following the Orlando incident, «Muslim» terrorists and right-wing westerners have one thing in common; The shared intention to escalate the level of conflict between the Muslim world and the West, a battle I fear they are about to win.

Although I shouldn’t be, I’m deeply shocked by yesterday’s attack on Nice, but have to admit that similar attacks in Muslim countries rarely have the same impact. Not because I don’t oppose them, but because, in all honesty, they seldom come as a surprise. Which, of course, is why I take offense by those reluctant to disapprove of terrorist attacks carried out in the West, on account of the West’s failure to display the same degree of shock and disgust for similar attacks in the East or Middle East.

And so it begins, the afore-mentioned clash of civilisations, I fear, whether last night’s assailant indeed was a «Muslim» terrorist or not.

I won’t compliment the terrorists (and their far right opponents) on their accomplishment, but must, however reluctantly, admit that, with every terrorist attack carried out by «Muslims» or people claiming to represent Islam (which, more often than not, is the case), the contrasts and hostilities are deepening.

As for this blogger, let’s just say that my convictions aren’t quite what they used to be, even if it involves declaring defeat.

We would, however, be well advised not to automatically brand last night’s incident as a terrorist attack. This blog post relates to general observations based on widespread assumptions.

Today’s terror attack yet to be seen?

We see terrorist attacks occurring more or less on a daily basis, to such a degree that this blogger honestly is about to lose track. Certainly there’s the Istanbul airport attack on … Wednesday, was it? Followed by the attack on Afghan police troops in Kabul on Thursday. Friday saw the grisly attack on foreigners in a Dhaka restaurant, while hundreds were killed in a Baghdad bombing in the early hours of yesterday.

Honestly, I had to concentrate in order to get the chronology right, but in truth I’ve really given up on keeping tabs.

The attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk international airport wasn’t even possible, judging by the boundless security measures in place, so you can’t help wondering, can you, if the French Police Nationale (formerly know as the Sûreté) – and what ever law enforcement agencies are involved – are equally prepared ahead of the upcoming Sunday’s Euro 2016 finale, to take place in Paris’s Stade de France, no more than seven months after the failed 13 November 2015 attempt, which, as we all remember, succeeded on numerous other Paris addresses on that fatal day.

Because if they are, the outcome may be just as bad.

Certainly there’s the metal detectors, the body searches and the trained eyes of countless police officers, but explosive devices come in a wide array of shapes, colours and materials, and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that potential assailants aren’t very likely to resemble the fellow I drew in the above cartoon, even if a bomb disguised as a football certainly is a thought.

There’s one more thing that we know; that the so-called Islamic State certainly hasn’t ignored the opportunity to make plans for an attack of such freakish dimensions, especially considering that its last attempt failed so disastrously (depending on point of view), at least when it comes to the Stade de France, at the time harbouring France’s president François Hollande, who, along with his co-visitors, escaped without a scratch.

We can only hope that this Sunday’s attempts fail, too, but I think it’s safe to say that they will be made. However I will say this:

Terrorism is nothing to do with the damages caused by terrorist acts, but the terror (i.e. the fear) and destabilisation they instill, as any philologist might have told you. Viewed in that perspective it would be safe to say that the terrorists have indeed achieved what they set out to do. But can they be defeated?

Absolutely, but we will be advised to remember that, so long as there are causes worth fighting for (or maybe not), they will be succeeded by others. We may like it or not, but the war on terror is everlasting.

Today’s terror attack remains to be seen, though. Perhaps today will be one of those rare, terror-free occasions? Let’s hope so.

In conclusion it boils down to whether or not we are willing to let fear prevent us from leading our lives by our own choice.

Hell no.

Please note: The above drawing portrays a terrorist impersonating a Muslim, with all the ISIL trimmings. It is my firm belief that Muslims aren’t in the habit of killing innocents, but we need to appreciate that terrorists would have us believe otherwise.

Top illustration: An ISIL terrorist in front of the Stade de France. Bloggers own drawing, superimposed on stolen photograph (the football is stolen, too, except for the burning fuse).

jarlie_big

Late edit: Of course it had to happen. Today’s terror attack took place in the Saudi city of Medina, not long ago.

 

Mens vi venter på The Blame Game

Jeg vil anta at de fleste vil si seg enig i at tirsdagens tragiske angrep på Atatürk bærer Isils kjennetegn hele veien, men jeg klarer ikke å fri meg for mistanken om at denne tegningen, av i fjor, igjen blir aktuell:

PKK, IS, Tyrkia og Nato
Det er alltid PKK som står bak. Bloggers tegning.

Fy skam, om det skulle skje, tross all medfølelse en ellers måtte ha med president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan og hans land i denne situasjonen. La oss håpe sannheten uansett kommer for en dag, for dette har Isil skrevet over hele stedet (om De tilgir anglisismen).

*Skjønt det må medgis at medfølelse med Erdoğan-regimet kan ha sine utfordringer.

Ain’t seen nothing yet

Yesterday’s post, titled Clash of civilisations in full bloom, was no foreboding of times to come, but a confirmation that it’s here, and has been for quite a few years.

Granted today’s wars do not play out the way they used to, but rather as hybrid wars, proxy wars and jolly old terrorism, known since the days of the IRA, PLO, and the RAF, not to be confused with the Royal Air Force. Which is probably why we have such problems identifying them as such. After all our image of a war has been cemented over the centuries, as nations have met on the battlefield, fighting it out until a winner emerged.

Today, as I just mentioned, not so.

On one side there’s the extremists demanding every infidel’s life. On the other there’s the extremists waging war on practically every living Muslim, and on the third there’s the madman trying to reinstate the Russian empire, in a pseudo Soviet shape, sans the Communism (albeit with all the trimmings).

Wedged in between these parties (and then some, I grant you that) you find the rest of us – the ones that have to pay the price, either because we happen to step outside, somewhere in the western world, if we are liberal and/or secular Muslims, lumped in with the crazy bunch, or citizens of a country neighbouring Russia.

Or, as we’ve just witnessed, inclined to love whom ever we want.

Fear and loathing. An old drawing of mine.
Fear and loathing. An old drawing of mine.
Attacks on civilians, both in Europe, America and in Muslim countries, carried out by all parties, seem to have reached a level at which people find themselves more or less barricaded, out of fear for moving around, or to go on vacation where they want. The latter exemplified by luxury facilities in popular holiday destinations sold at record low prices during peak season.

Needless to say it is all bound to escalate, as Putin (a prominent homophobic himself), Trump and the so-called Islamic State grow in strength, and the bigots of the world multiply, inspired by said forces’ actions and statements. And you know how it is, in all camps: An attack calls for retaliations. Retaliations, too, call for retaliations, and the merry-go-round is just about where we’re at.

In short, I’m afraid, we ain’t seen nothing yet, even if the Orlando incident may be altogether unrelated to organised terrorism.

Having said that, the perpetrator did pledge allegiance to the so-called Islamic State, in turn claiming full responsibility. It remains a mystery to me how the international community has squandered every opportunity to wipe the terrorist organisation off the face of the earth.

Top illustration: A drawing I made just after the attack on Copenhagen café «Krudttønden», hosting a meeting with Danish cartoonist Lars Vilks, February 2015.

Whatever the colours

Remember how, deeply shocked, we all clad our social media profile pictures in French colours in the wake of the Bataclan attack last November?

I was no exception:

Jacques de France
Jacques Tati draped in the Tricolour, my social media profile picture shortly after the attack on Bataclan and other Paris targets.

Now, on the other hand, I fear I am:

Me and a gay flag
Me, enveloped in gay colours, in the wake of the Orlando shooting.

And I cannot help but wonder why. Love is love, and terrorism terrorism, right?

Clash of civilisations in full bloom?

Following news as they unravel one cannot help but feel a sense of shock, and sympathy for those affected by the Orlando shooting, claiming 50 victims (killed, in addition to 53 wounded) in the gay nightclub Pulse, in what is referred to as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Still, it is impossible, in spite of the immediate reactions, not to ponder the wider consequences of revelations that the culprit has been identified as a U.S. national of Afghan origin, and therefore, with all probability, a Muslim, whose rage against gay behaviour allegedly inspired this evil deed. Which is a crying shame, as I personally perceived the first reports of «domestic terrorism» as a sign that the attack had been carried out, not by Muslims, but by All-American «Christians».

Not that it would in any way alleviate the tragic loss, but it certainly wouldn’t contribute to an increased tension between the western world and Muslims of different creeds and nationalities – as opposed to what we now know.

If anything it entails yet another nail in the Clinton campaign’s coffin, as The Donald’s relentless crusade against Muslims around the world today received a boost not to be taken lightly.

Today I even have to admit an ever so slight sting of anger with Muslims, in a why-the-effing-eff-did-you-have-to-be-an-effing-Muslim-you-stupid-eff kind of way, knowing full well that I’m probably not alone.

Sadly, however, an ever-growing number of dumbfounded Americans and Europeans are likely to blame the collective Islam.

My prophecy, oh mighty Prophet «followers»?

Brexit?

Sure!

Trump?

Hell yeah.

Happy?

Thought as much. I think we need to appreciate that a heightened level of tension is much desired on both sides of the fence.

This time around, I fear, they got what they bargained for, once more; a full-fledged clash of civilisations, however misunderstood.

Illustration: Old drawing from blog’s archives, personally drawn.

Velkommen til virkeligheten

Fredag den 22. juli 2011 var jeg dypt rystet, som resten av Europa, får vi tro. Bedre var det ikke fredag den 13. november 2015.

Det samme må jeg kunne hevde om nyheten og bomben som sprang i dag tidlig, men det er en forskjell, for denne gangen var det ventet. Sjokkeffekten uteble, med skam å melde. For skal sant først sies, er det vanskelig ikke å anse situasjonen, slik den i dag arter seg, som vår nye normaltilstand (skjønt 22. juli selvfølgelig ikke hadde det bøss med islamisme å bestille).

Akkurat det tror jeg også vi må belage oss på, med mindre verden snart tar trusselen fra Isil på det alvor den faktisk innbyr til. Kampen mot terrororganisasjonen begrenses til tiltak som skal beskytte oss mot dens eksistens, men later i liten grad til å handle om å eliminere den samme eksistensen. For la oss fjese det: Inntil så skjer, er det dette som er normaltilstanden. En skulle tro det er slik vi vil ha det.

Men hey:

Keep calm and carry on

Seriøst, dog: Burde det overraske oss, om vi ser flere terrorangrep på europeisk jord i løpet av vårmånedene?

Foto: EU-flagg på halv stang foran Berlaymont-bygningen i Brussel, 22. mars 2016. Foto fra EU-kommisjonen

C’est suffit maintenant

Je suis fatigue

Manneken pis i Brussel.
Manneken pis i Brussel.