Middle East Inferno: Fight or Flight?

I love France, the French people, and French culture. I’ve visited there at least fifteen times in my seventy years, most often by choice but also on business, attending the annual music, film, and broadcast markets in Cannes. Like so many, I was heartbroken to learn of the most recent violence visited on Paris by ISIS.

When I first went to Paris in 1961, it was a distinctly French city but with a growing population of Algerians, who had fled their country as the Algerian War of Independence was winding down.

Today, like London and New York, Paris is an international city, peopled with natives, immigrants, and visitors of all colors, languages, and dress. All the world’s magnet cities struggle to absorb immigrant enclaves, as many are still in the early stages of integration. With its deep history of secularism beginning in the Enlightenment with Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau and culminating in the Revolution, France shed the yoke of state religion and has since become a symbol of beauty, free expression, and light. Like all melting pot cultures, it struggles with fundamental religious traditions practiced in public that defy its secular culture, such as the wearing of the hijab.

When the towers came down on 9/11, a friend in Paris emailed me to observe that we, too, had now “lost our virginity,” by which he meant that the peace and sense of insular security we’d known for so long had now been violated like that of Paris and London.

My reaction on watching the latest scenes of barbarism in Paris, was “welcome to the new normal.”

The UN approximates the number of people in worldwide migration today at about 250 million. These are individuals and families fleeing economic hopelessness, persecution, slavery, and violence. The fight or flight reaction, however, has two components. A small minority of young people with no hope of opportunity may choose to fight and join the violent nihilist movements striking out where there is no light. We become their targets.

Just as we once believed that interdiction and incarceration would make us safe from alcohol and drugs, we imagine that the billions we spend on surveillance, border patrols, and Homeland Security will protect us from massive global migrations or the vengeance of rogue groups bent on retribution.

True global peace and stability will come only when all nations offer their citizens Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité, the national motto of France, which inspired our own Revolution and today… we share their grief.

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One Response to Middle East Inferno: Fight or Flight?

  1. grahame bell says:

    the only crop from Burkino Faso is cotton. The finest cotton in the world. The natives who harvest this cotton receive just 3% of it’s value. If they received 30% their income would increase by 1,000% and they would have road ,infrastructure medicine and above all EDUCATION.Mali is one of the poorest countries in Africa a continent that boasts probably more natural resources than any other but to buy one night at the luxury Radison Hotel with it’s air conditioning and swimming pool recently the scene of barbaric carnage would cost a native of Mali 5 years income.
    Radicalism whether it is in the poor countries or the ghettos of the wealthy comes from poverty.
    When Baptista controlled Cuba whose only product was sugar and whose plantations were controlled by the US the people were so poor that in order to make ends meet the male members of the family had to prostitute their female members ,many just bairns to visiting Americans and when Cuba decided to take back their country and their dignity the US embargoed the country for half a century and undermined it’s government to force a return to the previous status quo.

    When there is a world that produces enough to feed ALL of it’s people but because of the GREED of the few 40% starve the starving will adopt any extreme doctrine if only out of revenge.

    In the 60’s a UK bank saw a great business opportunity in the Belgium Congo which had recently been given it’s independence. Start a civil war ,stop the export of it’s minerals and because they own the minerals next door they can make a killing. When the greatest peacemaker of the 20th century threatened to stop this “GRAVY TRAIN” they blew up his plane.
    It was not terrorists who first used the bomb on a plane to pursue an interest it was the UK and that interest was PROFIT.
    Since when the death toll in that country ,potentially the wealthiest in the world but where grinding poverty is only matched by Burkina Faso ,the DEATH TOLL has topped 2million.

    Grahame

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