The attack in Nice, France – which resulted in the death by crushing of over 80 innocent civilians – has hardly caused a ripple on social media.
After the news had come through the place-name ‘Nice’ trended on Facebook for little more than an hour or so, after which it rapidly tumbled out of the ranking, replaced by such stories relating to the appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary to the UK government, speculation over Donald Trump’s VP choice, and the latest gossip relating to the Palin family.
There have been no diaphanous tricolours draped over the profile pictures of my friends this time around. Few have chosen to mention the incident in a status update, or even to share a relevant news story. And I have been no different.
I just can’t quite bring myself to be angry over this latest atrocity. I am not shocked, frightened, or agitated by it. The news of the attack has hit me rather like a report of sleet in Scotland, or wind in Wales. Terrorism, especially terrorism in France, now seems ordinary, banal, unremarkable.
This attitude (which is largely involuntary) is especially disturbing when one contemplates the gruesome manner in which the victims of the Nice attack perished. Unlike the more professional attack of last November, the victims this time were not put out of their happiness by a painless bullet to the head. They were crushed by several tonnes of metal and rubber; flattened, deformed under wheels. As banal as the observation might be, this must have been a hellish way to die.
But still, I’m not outraged – only bitter and depressed. I want all this to stop, but I really don’t think it will. And if an anti-Islamist blogger is becoming desensitised to terrorism, how on Earth can we expect the average Joe to maintain the required level of interest?
The man suspected of carrying out the Nice truck attack: French-Tunisian – Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel
The official response to Nice has been just as lacklustre as the public reaction. Boris Johnson, (whose appointment as Foreign Secretary must rank as the worst national embarrassment in years), has expressed little more than sadness at the news. In America, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton offered only cheap, hollow solidarity on her personal Facebook page. Even Donald Trump has been more muted than usual.
The only exception to this icy disregard has been (or seemed at one point to be) former US house speaker Newt Gingrich, who used the aftermath of the attack to suggest a very sensible policy by which the US would quiz individual Muslims upon entry to America on their views of Sharia Law.
Unfortunately, if also inevitably, when this commonsensical notion received the usual abuse from the usual abusers, Gingrich promptly drained the idea of its force, over-clarifying the concept to the point of retraction. How pathetic; how telling.
The reaction of the Western media (or at least the UK/US media) was to dampen out any loose sparks of anger that might have escaped the general apathy described. The ever-reliable ‘don’t panic’ libertarian Simon Jenkins, for example, hot-footed it into the Guardian offices to inform us that: “A Nice truck driver does not remotely threaten the security of the French state, any more than such acts do the security of America or Britain. The identification of the nation state with random killings of innocent people has become a political aberration….The implication that leaders can somehow prevent such attacks by armed response is a total distraction from the intelligence and police work that might at least diminish their prevalence. It nationalises and institutionalises public alarm. It leads governments into madcap adventurism abroad and “securitises” the private lives of citizens at home…What has happened in France is tragic and calls for human sympathy. Beyond that, there is nothing we can usefully do – other than make matters worse.”
Though this argument has the flavour of reasonableness, the implication of it is surely that we should do absolutely nothing in response to terrorism; indeed, that we should actively prevent our governments from doing anything about it – on libertarian grounds.
Someone should really inform Mr Jenkins that Western states in fact need little encouragement to under-react to terrorist atrocities. Doing nothing has been standard operating procedure ever since the twilight years of the Bush administration.
I personally have no doubt that Francois Hollande’s bungled security measures (including his declaration of an extended state of emergency) will end up doing more harm than good. Nevertheless, the general preference of the public must surely be for the state to do more to address this threat, not less. Jenkins and his ilk appear obsessed with getting the masses to calm down and to put things in a rational, non-emotional, context. We have been doing that for over a decade. A bit of non-rational rage really wouldn’t go amiss at this point.
French President Francois Hollande
All things considered, Nice has been an unmitigated triumph for ISIS. Not only have the swinish degenerates managed to send dozens of unbelievers to perpetual hellfire, they have also further diminished the life-force and rage-reflex of the continent on which they resided.
(On a side note – It is worth noting that Westerners have not become incapable of getting angry about anything. We are still liable to go ape over the unlawful killing of gorillas and lions. It is only the value of human beings, and of Western culture, that is collapsing. One might justly speculate that if a dog or a cat had been caught under the wheels in Nice the reaction would have been rather more vigorous.)
Europe seems ever more like a wounded animal, yelping and moaning, bleeding and weakening. The old spark, the energy behind colonisation and empire, has been all but exhausted. The deathly prefix ‘post’ is now attached to every formerly noble concept: post-modern, post-national, post-racial, post-Christian etc… Everything is watered down and submissive enough that even the most barbaric challenger can overcome it.
I have nothing original to say about Nice. I will simply close by reiterating that Islam does not belong in Europe and never will. It is backward, violent, boring and false down to the letter. It must be resisted with everything with we have.
If indeed we still have anything at all.