Brussels and Beyond

What happened in Brussels today was a monstrous crime and an immense tragedy.  So far my loved ones in the region appear safe, but many other families are grieving tonight and my heart goes out to them in their time of suffering.  Many of us are very familiar with the airports and metros around Europe and the world, so these atrocities make an undeniable impression of both sadness and fear.  But in the midst of such senseless carnage there are opportunists crawling out from beneath their rocks who are using it to spread hatred, xenophobia and racism.
Here is one example I came across, but it is far from isolated.
“Keep letting these Muslim cockroaches in, and this is only going to get a lot worse. If these bedbugs had a nuclear device, they wouldn’t hesitate for one second to try and kill as many people as they could. They must be wiped off of the face of the earth. It’s only a matter time, America! Political correctness has to be thrown out, the window. TRUMP 2016!”
Missing from this screed is any recognition of the mountains of corpses piled high in Muslim majority nations at the hands of Western interventions over the past few decades. No where to be found is acknowledgement of Western financial and military support of theocratic or apartheid regimes, brutal dictators and so called “freedom fighters” who are merely murderous mercenaries for profit.  No where is the fact that Muslims are the primary targets and victims of such acts of terrorism in their own nations.
If we cannot face the demons which lead our own military, political and business institutions there will be no end to this cycle of violence.   And if demoralized bigots, such as the one who penned the aforementioned screed, have their way the United States, as well as much of Europe, may be on the fast track toward another 1929 moment, unleashing unspeakable horror.  Awareness of the potential for this is becoming more urgent by the day.

My deepest sympathy goes out to the victims and their families in Brussels, and Istanbul, and Ankara, and Damascus, and Gaza, and Baghdad, and Tegucigalpa, and everywhere in the world where violence has become normalized by the powers that be.  May their lives shine as a testament to our shared humanity, and a light to lead us through the dark days that lie ahead.

Kenn Orphan  2016

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