In the wake of the Paris tragedy, people will be writing a lot of things that begin with such unadventurous phrases as “in the wake of the Paris tragedy”. These people are arseholes.
Some people will argue that, because there are links to Syria among the murderers, we should bomb Syria at last, which we should have done ages ago. These people are arseholes.
Other people will say the links to Syria are far too convenient, and this must be some kind of conspiracy cooked up by Spooks to justify another war. These people are arseholes.
Some will wag fingers at those who show not enough grief, or not the right kind of grief, or pray for victims, or don’t pray for victims, or ignore the victims of other tragedies that aren’t in countries like France. These people are arseholes.
Others will calmly and cleverly distance themselves from the tone policing, and the tone policing of tone policing, and say that they, alone, could see what was going on and didn’t use their own politics to view what happened. Perhaps these are the biggest arseholes of all.
There will be thinkpieces urging war, from the same people who always urge war, with some new converts who’ve had damascene conversions thanks to “the events in Paris”. All arseholes.
Others will look to say that somehow “we” deserved it for wars we made years ago. Arseholes.
The only conclusion I can come to is that we are all arseholes. Some of us are different types of arseholes, but we’re all arseholes. One tragedy doesn’t change that or make many things new. It doesn’t prove wars are good or bad. It doesn’t justify new wars or make them inevitable; it doesn’t justify new clampdowns on freedoms or mean we should shut borders. But there are those who will say it will. Those people are arseholes, and so are you, and so am I. I suppose we get to have the luxury of being arseholes who pontificate about these things though, rather than suffering this kind of horror, or fleeing it across Europe, or finding it at our doorsteps. Lucky arseholes, us.