There will be many think pieces composed about the #ParisAttacks. They will be thoughtful, they will be polemic, and be jingoistic and angry. They will express love, hate, and fear. They will be weary and wary – they will be received wearily and warily. They may be all of these things and more all at once.
These articles, the books that will come of them, the policy changes and immigration debates and socio-cultural shifts that will arise alongside them will be about Daesh/ISIS and their goal of hell of earth.
They will be about French and European and American democracy (“civilization”) and Islam’s supposed incompatibility with those presumed ideals. They will be about Muslim condemnations of the attacks and about the predominately Muslim victims of other attacks.
They will be about locating the roots of contemporary terrorism within the frightening constellation of Western warmongering, bought dictators, and Wahhabism. They will be about Daesh’s indisputable origins in the Iraq War.
They will be about the Daesh bombings in Beirut, the rising death count in Egypt at the hands of Daesh, the Iraqis and Syrians who everyday fight to survive in nations torn apart by a Hydra of warfare. They will be about the impossibility of ending wars that grow twice larger for every one that is inadequately put out.
They will be about the 24-hour live feed news cycle and Facebook safety checks and the sudden ubiquity of the French Tricolore in response to devastation in Paris and the comparative silence on Beirut, Baghdad or Mogadishu and Northern Nigeria.
They will be about lazy social media algorithms that resurrect old, underreported incidents of trauma and violence in Kenya and Yemen. They will include sloppy dismissals of places “over there” (like Africa and Asia?) that are “used to” such violence and therefore do not command our equal attention. They will be about France’s current state of emergency and its frightening origins in the Algerian War for Independence. They will be about the last massacre that took place in Paris: a massacre of Algerians in 1961 at the hands of French police.
They will be about anti-Muslim and anti-black and anti-brown violence on a global scale. They will be about the far-right and the disintegrating left. They will be about the discomfiting lyrics of La Marseillaise and those who sing it for comfort.
Some of these articles will also be about subverting Daesh and disrupting Islamophobic and xenophobic backlash. They will be about the beautiful game and Saint-Denis and how football unites and divides us.
They will be about the 11th arrondissement and the diverse, hopeful, too young people who have died and those who live. They will be about Adel Termos, who wrapped his arms around a suicide bomber in Bourj al-Barajneh and died so countless others could live. They will be about Waleed Abdel-Razzak, critically injured by the blasts while he queued outside the Stade de France for tickets to the match – not an Egyptian terrorist but in fact a loving son, brother, and football fan.
There will be many pieces like these. There will be many more to come. We will mourn again. Some of us have been mourning already. Even more have never stopped mourning. Too many.
Daesh wants refugees to have no refuge. They want a global war. They want to expand the global war that the United States and other Western nations have been waging for over a decade. A lot of our heads of state want to give it to them. If there is a moral high ground, it is unclear who occupies it. If there is a moral high ground, it rests on the countless victims of our unending wars. One thing is very clear, however. There will be articles. There will be many more articles. And we must decide what we need from them. What we demand from them. Do we want to be a little more human, or a little less, as this rock we live on hurtles around the sun?
For me, a Muslim apostate, I hope it is more. More human. More humanity.