Today the Washington Post is running portraits of the victims of the massacre last weekend in Paris. Beside each name, usually matched with a photo, is a stifled litany of these young people’s accomplishments and promise (the big majority of victims were in their 20s and 30s):
- Alban Denuit, 32, a French sculptor and Ph.D.
- Amine Ibnolmobarak, 32, an architect and teacher of architecture, “the quintessential young Muslim intellectual”
- Anna Liefrig, 24, a graphic designer, “a cheerful and brilliant young woman”
- Djamila Houd, 41, who worked in the fashion industry
- Elodie Breuil, 23, a design student who’d marched in the Charlie Hebdo rallies last January
- Fanny Minot, 29, an editor at a TV show who “just loved life”
- Kheireddine Sahbi, 29, an Algerian-born “virtuoso violinist … involved in all forms of traditional music”
And the list, like others lists before it, goes on and on.
So many young lives snuffed out, so inexplicably.
Unless we accept as an explanation the fear and hatred of a paranoid religious ideology that can not tolerate any deviance whatsoever.
Deviance from its own deviance, that is.
No love of the things of this earth, its earthly pleasures, its wine (swirled in the bowl), women (uncovered), song (uncensored).
How easy, then, to pick up a gun and fire indiscriminately into a crowd?
An AK-47, say, which is takes how long to learn to play, compared with the violin that Ms Sahbi mastered?
With Mr Denuit’s sculptor’s chisel and hammer?
With the years of study and dedication that the big majority of victims had put into their careers and contributed to society?
Never mind all that, the terrorists would say. You infidels. You dogs. Now you shall die.
If ISIS is in fact looking for an end-time game, an apocalyptic battle in Syria, they may soon have their hands full, as the Western powers gather for a showdown. And if this battle doesn’t materialize, so what? The ignorant and violent will have their day again, shedding blood, which is so much easier to do that learning sculpture, or design, or words, or loving your fellow man despite all differences.