Boulevard Voltaire, or The Stupidity of Evil

Guillaume Baviere. CC-licensed.

Guillaume Baviere. CC-licensed: Boulevard Voltaire.

I do not want to write down here the Quran’s quotes on the Paris terrorists’ rationale. But there they are, well styled and well quoted, just like a good scholar would do. But this is not a war of religion. Anyhow, reading people’s opinions on the ferocious attacks on Paris, once again, provokes my worst reactions of rage and frustration. We (as humanity) have not learned much.

Have not learned that people find meaning according to their own beliefs. Thus, comments on the terrorist attacks show a humanity: divided, racist, and hypocrite.

Baudelaire has a few verses on this condition, contained within a poem collection quite aptly titled Les fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil).

Infatuation, sadism, lust, avarice
possess our souls and drain the body’s force;
we spoonfeed our adorable remorse,
like whores or beggars nourishing their lice.

You know it well, my Reader. This obscene
beast chain-smokes yawning for the guillotine —
you — hypocrite Reader — my double — my brother!

[English translation: Robert Lowell, from Marthiel & Jackson Matthews, eds., The Flowers of Evil (NY: New Directions, 1963)]

I think that:

  1. These attacks are on people, young mostly, innocent, passers-by. There are Muslims among those killed as well. There’s a number of destroyed families who are just that: destroyed. Yes, this happens everywhere a bomb falls: Iraq, Lybia, Syria, Afghanistan, Lebanon, London. Evil is banal as it is stupid. There’s nothing else to it. So is banal and stupid France’s shocking reply with the bombing of Raqqa, the so-called Islamic State’s capital. You do this and then we do that. It’s still biblical times, folks.
  2. These attacks in more than a way happen against the one land and the people who defined the very idea of freedom of speech. So when some nuts cry that God is great and start shooting, the act itself carries a heavy meaning. It was the same with Charlie Hebdo. This is why #jesuischarlie. Is it a coincidence that the Paris center attacks occurred at or very close to Boulevard Voltaire?
  3. However, as I said, this is not a war of religion; it is just one that uses as mindless zombie-like peons those outcasts (many being French nationals, by the way) who live in those awful banlieus of big cities. ISIS recruits among them, nurtures rancor and hate among them and transform youngsters into kamikazes. It has them believe it’s for God’s sake. But we (ought to) know better.

So, there’s people who say that the media do not pay attention to similar violent incidents when they happen in the Middle East or outside white-man territory. That may be true, but the big media are not humanity nor do they represent humanity.

It is very true, though, the it is our responsibility as westerners to acknowledge the war actions against the Middle East (and further) “we” perpetrated (#notinmyname though): Iraq was a wrong war, but I remember those I discussed with at the time saying that “we” had to attack and liberate that people from Hussein’’s oppression. Same story with Afghanistan. So, who did you vote for, friends?

Also, please don’t quote a miserable dictator like Assad when he says that “France knew yesterday how we in Syria have been living for 5 years”. This is senseless and populist rhetoric.

Same rhetoric coming from the western pure who “protest” and show their indignation with the lyrics of Lennon’s rhetorical Image. They somehow forget impassibly to pay attention to the wording:

Imagine there’s no heaven

No hell below us

Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too.

Last, US and UK media please, please stop naming “terror” attack what is actually a “terrorist attack”. I am sick equating “terror” with “terrorist”. I love terror movies, for one.

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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