Once gain the images of horrified people running for their lives dominates our bandwidth, as we look on hoping this isn’t ‘the new normal’, and that we aren’t becoming desensitized to the images of torn lives.
In this latest spate of horror, visited again on my beloved France, I’m prompted to take pen to paper and give voice to the images. I was very young when I first went to France. At the time, my family still lived in a secular Iran and vacationed in Southern France as a matter of course. Unfortunately, there was a revolution already well underway, beyond our view, fueled by a mass resentment of modernity and an increasing reliance of Iranians on exposure to the West. The underpinnings of that same resentment, and a similar call for an objection to the status quo, plays out today in Brexit and in the winning campaign of Donald Trump. Back in 1980, the revolt it ushered in for my homeland ousted us to France, where I lived as a child and about which I hold many dear memories, still.
That same zeal to impede the perceived modern march away from devoutness and toward debauchery fuels the terrorism that has sadly been visited upon western cities all too often. To be sure, cities and towns across the eastern hemisphere suffer the same devastation, if not in more dramatic ways. But we can barely take notice, given the constant stream of images bearing untold horrors which we’ve seen coming out of formerly radiant cities across the region, for years now.
Today I want to remind us that this can’t be the new normal. We cannot set down that slippery slope where we are willing to acquiesce to the idea that airport explosives, backpack detonators and Lories re-purposed into weapons are tolerable. We must stand against the continued patience we display for destruction, within or beyond our borders. We must expect our policy makers and statesmen to reject violence as a solution to anything and staunchly proclaim that laying waste to lives of innocent people under the guise of any ideology is defunct.
The mass human wreckage in Syria and Iraq, and the ongoing human suffering over the course of generations in Palestine and Afghanistan can't serve as the litmus test for how much we are willing to tolerate. The net result becomes this expansion of horror, into our own cities and towns where we are accustomed to safety and security, and unprepared for this "new normal", we so carelessly now utter, without thinking what it actually might mean. Horror is not normal, and we can't tolerate it somewhere else and stand against it at home. We simply have to be willing to demand that the wholesale killing of innocent people everywhere, anywhere, must stop.
Modern civilization cannot claim the mantle of development, yet bear this kind of human wreckage, over and over, and still look away. If we accept this as the new normal, there will soon be no direction left from which we can look away.