Does the West yet have the resolve to deal with the Islamist threat?
Douglas Murray thinks not. As he argues here and here it will take more than the deaths of a mere 128 people in Paris – and the wounding of many more – to concentrate the minds of our pusillanimous leaders as they seek to persuade us for the umpteenth time that this has “nothing to do with Islam” which is, of course, a “religion of peace.”
Brendan O’Neill is similarly bleak.
But they are being far too pessimistic. Over the next hours, days and weeks, we can be confident that the countries of the free West, their political leaders, their media commentators, their celebrities and their “communities” will come up with all manner of important gestures and statements absolutely guaranteed to strike terror into the hearts of Islamists everywhere. Here, based on our experience of previous atrocities from the 7/7 bombings in London to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, are some of the bold moves we can expect. Some of them are happening already.
People dusting off their schoolboy French, waving Le Tricolor, lighting up the Empire State Building in red, white and blue (see also: candle lit vigils), decorating your Facebook profile with a French flag
When news came through of the Paris atrocities, they danced in the streets of Raqqa. But when they saw the Twitter feeds: ordinary people across the world saying stuff like “Vive la France” and “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” (without the acute accents obviously because how do you actually do those on an iPhone?), they realised they could never win. Just like they realised last time when, for all of a month, people declared: “Je suis Charlie Hebdo”.
After the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Secretary of State John Kerry brought achingly-sweet-yet-slightly-depressed-sounding hippy crooner James Taylor to Paris as America’s peace ambassador. So moved was France’s Islamist terror community by Taylor’s performance of You Got A Friend that it managed to refrain from killing a single infidel – in Paris at least – for nearly 11 whole months. Imagine then, how much more powerfully effective it will be if, this time round, Kerry comes back not just with Taylor but with the entire membership of the legendary Laurel Canyon folk scene. An inspirational concert featuring Joni Mitchell, Carole King, David Crosby, Steven Stills and any surviving members of the Mamas and Papas with a strong message of Seventies-style peace and love – perhaps bolstered, for younger Jihadists, by a guest appearance from Mumford and Sons – could well delay further atrocities for as long as a year.
Erudite columnists explaining that Islamism does not represent an “existential threat” to the West
Actually, it’s really not such a bad thing when four heavily armed terrorists infiltrate a rock concert packed with 1,500 young people innocently enjoying themselves and then bump them off with shotguns and grenades and finally suicide belts. You see the thing about Islamism, as sundry learned commentators will explain in newspapers and on TV, is that it does not pose the same “existential threat” to the West that, say, Nazi Germany did or Stalin’s Soviet Union did. So you see, it’s all OK in fact.
Eagles of Death Metal to be redesignated an actual death metal band
Because of their name, lots of early media reports assumed that Eagles of Death Metal were an actual death metal band. In fact the name was chosen as a joke. They are an amiable, melodic Californian alt rock band, a side project of Queens of The Stone Age’s Josh Homme, followed by nice, normal kids who don’t worship Satan. This is going to present a huge problem to the many liberal apologists for Islamist terror who prefer to see massacres like the one at Le Bataclan in Paris as in some way deserved. With Charlie Hebdo it was much easier: clearly this was a case of a bunch of vicious cartoonists and writers, grotesquely abusing their freedom of speech to taunt the peace-loving Muslim community into an act of uncharacteristic aggression. (“Of course freedom of speech is important, but…”) The killing of all those Eagles of Death Metal fans is much harder to justify. Unless, of course, we all collectively decide that they are a death metal band – whose irreligiousness and decadence provoked the attack. If we do this we can all feel much better because suddenly the attack will fit into a pattern most right-thinking people can appreciate: yet again it’s all our fault.
Paris attacks designated an “attack on all of humanity”
Thank goodness for President Obama! By declaring the Paris massacre an “attack on all of humanity” he has spared the world needless tension and probably a great deal of bloodshed. Had he not explained it for us, we might have mistakenly got the impression that this was a direct assault by followers of one, very specific religion, hell bent on imposing its totalitarian values, without mercy, on Western civilization and that this was (yet another) act of war. But now we know it’s an attack on all the human race – Islamists included, presumably – we can rest assured that there won’t be any danger of a discomfiting outbreak of Islamophobia.
If there’s one thing right-thinking Western liberals fear more than the bloodcurdling cry of “Allahu Akbar!” followed by the crackle of semi-automatic weaponry and the crump of a grenade, it’s the horror of being thought Islamophobic. Hence the massive popularity in Australia, after the killing of two hostages in Sydney by a Muslim gunman, of #Illridewithyou. Hence also the recent viral Facebook post by a man who modestly decided to show the world how sensitive and non-judgemental he was by putting up pictures of himself sitting next to a woman in a niqab on a train. Buzzfeed loved it. As all decent people did. What the story showed is that Muslims are lovely and if we sit next to them on the train without giving their outfits funny looks, they’ll live with us in peace and harmony and never try to kill us ever again. So this, above all, is what we need to heal the wounds of Paris: a heartwarming hashtag to make us all feel better about ourselves.
OK: so they’ve got the AK47s; the hollow point ammunition; the grenade launchers; the semtex; the serrated knives; the pump-action shotguns; the grenades; the Glocks; the body-armour; and the suicidal fanaticism.
But we’ve got the candles – thousands of them – and a night spare next Tuesday, if that’s when the vigil is. Oh, no wait, can’t do till after 7.30 because of my Pilates – is that any good?