Monday, November 16, 2015


Over the weekend we were all horrified by the terrorist attacks in Paris. 132 people are dead (so far), over 350 injured. ISIS has already claimed responsibility, and made it clear why: because France is bombing them in Iraq and Syria.

The deliberate targeting of civilians is a violation of international law and a war crime - something western nations largely observe in the breach - and those responsible should be held to account in The Hague for that crime. But still: war is not a one-way relationship. When the citizens of France allowed their government to go to war in Iraq and Syria, they invited retaliation. And over the weekend, they received it. We've got used in the west to thinking that war is cost free, that the jets go out and rain down their bombs and its other people's children who die. We're wrong. When you try and kill someone, you invite them to kill you back. And they might not adhere to the rules we've forced our governments to pay lip service to.

Meanwhile, France's response to these attacks is more bombing, another invitation. And so round and round it fucking goes...

The other expected response - demanded but not yet implemented - is a further crackdown on French Muslims, with the usual arrests, trials, deportation, spying and abuses. This would be the height of stupidity. France's Muslim community are as appalled by these murders as everybody else. But nothing changes minds like oppression, and history abounds with examples of how government "anti-terror" campaigns turned sympathetic populations into bitter enemies and drove rather than prevented terrorist recruitment. The Fenian Brotherhood fed off British oppression in the wake of its risings, the British lost Ireland because they arrested and executed so many people after the Easter Rising, and (more recently) Australia now has a problem with homegrown Islamic terrorism because they set out to prevent one. France has not yet made this mistake. Sadly, given their past behaviour and present oppression of Muslims, its likely they will. And once again, it will be civilians who will pay the price for government stupidity.