Those all too familiar words are resonating once again through a world grown weary. Something has gone horribly wrong when a terror attack, instead of shock and revulsion, brings déjà vu and a leaden despair.
We are all traumatized; the information age leaves no shelter from the reality of horror no matter how distant it is. And as the traumatized do, we try every defense. Denial, rationalization, humor, acting out. Nothing works though, because the moment of helpless terror is repeated on the television screen, the computer screen, the cell phone screen. Over and over and over.
But back to London. Where at least four people are dead, 20 injured and the Parliament building is still in lock down. Soon we will know who the attacker was and the debates will start raging: root causes, more security, immigration, refugees, religion, war.
It will be exactly the same as last time. For the simple reason that world leadership has shown very little intention from the very beginning of the “war on terror” to do anything other than play a game of whack-a-mole.
Bomb this place, drone that place, invade there, take that side, take this side. Repeating the same mistakes over and over. No, it is not a coincidence that wherever the war on terror has gone it has acted not as an exterminator but as pixie dust for terrorism.
Afghanistan not only has AQ and the Taliban now, it also has Daesh. Iraq had neither Daesh nor AQ and now has both. Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen: each has its own laundry list of terror groups. Hercules figured out a way to prevent the hydra from growing more heads, we had best interest ourselves in doing the same.
Meanwhile those capable of doing something about the problem squabble like spoiled toddlers. Saudi Arabia and Iran. America and Russia. Turkey and Europe. Pointing the finger, accepting no accountability, arming proxies, inflaming sectarianism and refusing cooperating where it matters the most. To stop the smuggling of oil, to prevent the flow of recruits into Syria and Iraq, to encourage reconciliation and rapprochement.
Mainstream media is running its own vaudevillian enterprise. Even the most austere publication has become a sordid tabloid either peddling itself for ratings or allowing itself to become a propaganda mouthpiece.
Make your leaders stop. Make them stop playing this catastrophic game of whack-a-mole. Call their bluff about acting in your interest. If there was ever a time world leadership needed to step out of the cold machinations of realpolitik and exhibit some universal empathy, it is now.
Start holding the corrupt and tyrannical despots of the Persian Gulf and middle east accountable. Let them know they are no longer free to enable extremists and silence all political dissent. Stop selling them weapons and pretending that they are necessary to hold extremists at bay. They are the ones who have cultivated the culture of torture, conformity and censorship that has bred terrorism.
Stop the endless debates about religion and religious reform. The group psychopathy that is Daesh or Al Qaeda does not care about scriptural interpretation or infallibility. It is of no consequence to them what sort of reform the rest of the Muslim world pursues. Start treating this like every other conflict is treated: a phenomenon where there are actual participants and precipitating factors. Stop the fool’s errand of chasing ideology.
Unite and fight terror together. Divided, we all lose.