War/Security

Je suis Paris: the terrorists lose

There is no place on earth where the darkness can overcome the light. Do not be afraid. #todossomosparis

Image courtesy of huffingtonpost.com

Mes frères et soeurs,

They attack us because they fear our strength. We are far stronger than they. Their fortress is only shadows and confusion. Our stronghold is reason, the will of a free people. We will withstand this assault and every assault they attempt. They already know this. That is why they hide, and why they prefer to kill themselves rather than to stand before us and face the light of justice.

I must make a most difficult request of you tonight. Forgive them. They are already condemned to carry the burden of their crimes forever. Every God-fearing person with a rational mind is praying for their souls already, and for peace, because these killers have done great damage both to their own humanity and to the hope for a lasting peace among all mankind, which is our common goal. They have chosen the path of destruction. We must not follow them down that path.

The only thing that can overcome terror is love. Like a soldier who runs toward a suicide bomber to save his brothers and sisters, we must run toward this danger with open arms, embracing our enemy, dooming his strategy and his ideology, eliminating the perceived distance between himself and us. We must hold each other close, every free person, every Christian, every Muslim, all of France, all of America. We must prove them wrong about us. God has given us reason. No one can steal it from us. If we do not surrender it, the terrorists lose.

Yes we killed Jihadi John. He was a war criminal luring innocent Muslim children to their deaths or to slavery. He created the state of war in which he was killed. Who lives by the sword dies by the sword. Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. These killers in Paris are war criminals. Their accomplices are war criminals. They will share Jihadi John’s fate. They will not be allowed to turn us aside from the straight and narrow path of reason. We will never surrender.

The battle for the soul of Islam is not different from the battle for the soul of America. Islam and America are complicated mosaics, still in progress. I believe America is a good idea. I stake my life on it. I continue to go to restaurants and concerts and walk down the street in America like I own the place, because I do own the place. We all do. It’s an idea. It’s how I live my life, and I am disinclined to change it, in spite of the cowards who attacked New York while I was there in 2001.

You have a similar idea, joie de vivre, to seize the day in a way that is possible only in France. One of the most important components of joie de vivre is a heart that is free. This is what the terrorists are trying to steal. It is your gift to the world. There is only one City of Love. Paris is a civilization unto herself, a squabbling din of music and laughter and camaraderie and petty theft and forgiveness. France is a great nation blessed with liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Forgive them, mes amis. Continue to be ruled by reason rather than fear. Our love is our strength. In America we have a City of Brotherly Love. She is a country inn compared to Paris, yet she gave us the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The cowards will undoubtedly strike her. Yet she will stand firm as New York stands firm, and Beirut, and 150 other cities wherein the cowards unleashed the hate. There is no place on earth where the darkness can overcome the light. Do not be afraid.

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7 replies »

  1. Freedom is not cheap. Today, the people in Paris who thought freedom is a given right learned what the people in New York who had the same attitude learned. The cost of freedom is blood. There are people who died so the nation can have freedom. Now blood will be spilled to ensure freedom endures.

  2. I’m an athiest with minimal agnostic leanings. I live every day not behaving in a manner to appease a God that doesn’t believe in me that I might gain entry to heaven. I live every day doing my best to be a good human because it’s the right thing to do.

    I stood up, wrote a blank cheque to my country. The value? Anything up to and including my life. My 15 year anniversary of leaving the British Army is on the 20th of this month. I am still paying that price today and I will continue paying the price until I die. And then, if I am wrong and there heaven and a hell I’m on a one way trip down. Not because of my lack of faith, but because of actions to protect my family, my friend and people I never met from countries I have never been to.

    It will be worth it.

    I grew up in a world of terrorism. I served my country and faced terrorists. They will not embrace your open arms. They will not seek comfort in your compassion. Instead they will take advantage of your loving generosity and kill your mothers, kill your fathers. your brothers, sisters, children and friends.

    And so from experience I cannot and will not forgive. Me an mine are the ones who once walked and are still walking the hills, scouring the dark corners that other fear to tread so that maybe in a thousand years everyone on the planet may share the same ideal of brotherly in its true spirit.

    I cannot forgive, for these men and women do not deserve forgiveness. They deserve only two things:

    Justice. Justice should be swift and levied with the same compassion they harboured on their kin, not because we should lower ourselves to their level, no. An abrupt justice that saves world time and resources. No other human should have to spend the finite resource of their life detaining them.

    Pity: I pity their misguided beliefs. I pity their abhorrent deeds. I pity the notion they will be rewarded for slaughtering innocents. I have nothing but pity for their blackened hearts.

    I may well be wrong, but I am the product of my environment and I would do it all over again so you and yours can express your love and opinion freely with the minimal threat to your day to day lives. If only were it possible to nullify that threat completely without the use of violence.

  3. Redacted? Why? I mean, I suppose it’s flattering of you to think that ISIS is hanging on every statement Scholars & Rogues makes about Paris, looking to us for guidance and intel on what cities to target next.

    Whoops, did I say flattering? I meant ‘silly’.

    • As a matter of policy, I do read things and would not, in a million years, let stand something that I thought would put people in danger. I have literally had a post in my head since 9/11 about how badly these terrorists fail to understand the US, but I have never written it, and never will, because if, on a billion to one shot, some ISIS or al Qaeda thug happened to see it they could raise hell in ways they never dreamed of before.

      To the extent that this matters, then, the publisher is paying attention.

  4. I’m with you Brett. As Orwell is said to have said (even though he really didn’t,) “We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us.” I appreciate that I sleep soundly at night because you did things on my behalf that needed doing, and were there an afterlife, I’d stand beside you to pick up my part of your tab.

    This is one of those situations where high minded speeches about darkness and light and “je suis paris” are less to achieve the required result than devastating force.

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