LA MARSEILLAISE

Yes, like many other, three days ago I updated my FB profile picture. The application offered me a change with the transparent colours of the French flag over my handsome face, just like the light effects on many public buildings and monuments worldwide, just like many other profile pictures on FB. I admit, I’ve thinking about something like, about how to intervene in my profile picture. Since I’m skilled in Photoshop, it would be not hard to do. However, I accepted application, it was nice been a part of something global, something widespread, been a part of the virtual crowd, been trendy. Frankly, feeling the true fear and threat for my species (not excluding myself), the need for rapprochement, rallying ranks is something natural. Just like the musk oxen before the ice storm…

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Neither 24 hours later, had the first bitter complaints arisen: why now so much empathy? Where were yesterday the Russian flags, where the Syrian flags? Who put the flag of Lebanon over his / her face when, only a day before Paris, died many people, among them children, in Beirut? No, only 132 victims of Paris attacks were reason for the common expression of empathy, only French flags appeared! I myself wrote this theme on my blog (post: ‘The Worth of Souls’). Since this point I frankly have to agree with critics and complaints: the empathy for Paris victims is not proportional with our relations to the other victims. However, I cannot accept the complaints to my empathy at all! Who has right to reproach me putting the French flag, and omitting the Russian flag? The Lebanon flag etc…

The Russian plane crashed few days ago. The 1st news talk about the accident: the terrorist attack was mentioned later. If there was immediately reported about the terrorist attack, the reaction would be different. Maybe, the profiles on FB would be in colours of Russian flags. Or maybe not, who knows? If someone offered me to colour my profile into the colours of Russian or Lebanon flag, I think I would do this. No one offered it. Neither me got the idea. Why then so strong empathy to the Paris victims? Is the worth of a life really so different? Is the white victim more valuable? Are we really the latent racist? Is that the same racism, less aggressive, and more subtle, but not less dangerous? Is it possible that our condemnation of terrorism and racism lead us to something simile? Or the things are simpler?

If we take a look back, 30-40 years ago there were Years of Lead, Europe was under terror. The ultra-communist cells like Brigate Rosse and RAF (Bader-Meinhoff group), terrorized their own citizens: the planes were taken, the politicians kidnapped, the bombs blew up everywhere. Neither the Olympic Games were spared. This wave of terrorism, turned against the neoliberal capitalism, was defeated, and for a while, Europe was a secure place. But somewhere within, the fear of those years smouldered. It was not too hard to wake it up: The September 11th turned a new page of terrorism. Tokyo, Madrid, London, Ankara, Island Utøya and redaction Charlie Hebdo, those are only a few in the bloody trace of mindless violence. The citizens of Europe live in fear again.

If something happened in a country we didn’t hear before, when there were killed hundreds of civilians, that’s the news that shock us. But we stay calm, we are not afraid. We have not the related in that country; we are not the member of a massacred tribe. Our lives are not threatened due the fight between the two African tribes… Are we heartless? The death notice in our town, or our street, with one unknown name stress us less than the illness of a pet or bad grades that a child get in school. Are we heartless? However, I didn’t know any of the Paris victims; I don’t know anyone who knew any of those…

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The news about any massacre, terrorist attack, or anything simile stress us. But it stresses us the different way. It’s terrible to hear and see the reports of a massacre in Africa, where the victims are mostly peaceful armless women, children, and old people, people tortured and killed with the cold weapon, yes, it’s terrible. But it’s not threatening for me, I don’t feel fear. I’m not among them, I’m not the member of a tribe, and this fight is an internal fight. I’ll comment, that it’s terrible, the World has become an ugly place, the people are terrible etc. and when my child comes from the school with a ‘B’ or ‘C’, immediately I forget the black victims. The Russian plane was the terrorists’ victim. Terrible. But I don’t travel with plane so often. Finally, I can choose flying or not. I can take a train and feel secure. Only a few people I know fly frequently. Anytime, you can choose not to fly.

But when the insane terrorist drop into the peaceful restaurant in the centre of European town, town like my town, when the subway fulfill the poison gas, when the terrorist drop into the school or theatre randomly shooting everyone, we feel those situation close. I was yesterday in the theatre, my child is every day in the school, many of my related travel to they job with public transport. Are we secure? Not at all! The Paris victims were not the members of a tribe, they were not an isolated group in any way. They were the people like me. Like my friends and related. Random passengers caught on the European town’s streets. People I’m within.

That’s why I, and many other who, like me, changed they profile pictures, feel so strong empathy just now, when Paris, symbol of peaceful cosmopolitan way of life, was wounded. That’s why we now feel fear, and felt it not before. Fear for the own life.

Reluctantly admit that’s some kind of victory for terrorists (cause their goal is to spread terror – fear), but I have to admit I’m afraid. The French flag is on my profile picture as the expression of empathy for Paris victims, but the same time the need of a scared one to be a part of that crowd, to feel, I’m not alone. Rejecting all those complains I value white victims more than the black, yellow and other, I request the right to be afraid. Do not accuse me for this!

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