On the 14th November 2015 Stop the War published an article saying that the 130 victims of the Paris attacks were ‘reaping the whirlwind’ sown by the West and our foreign policy choices.
The attacks on Paris started at 9.20pm on the evening of the 13th. They lasted for hours. After the end of the siege of the Bataclan, it took ten hours more for the bodies to be counted, and the process of identification begun.
What does this mean?
That while young Parisians were dying as hostages in the Bataclan, in the four separate suicide bombings including the Stade de France and the shootings on the rue Alibert, the rue del la Fontaine-au-roi, and rue de Charonne, Stop the War’s writer was sitting down to his typewriter. Before we had an idea of the numbers who had died or would die, or could take the first breath to mourn them, he wrote to blame the victims.
The premise of the article was simple. It was stated in the sub-header, ‘Without decades of intervention by the US and its allies there would have been no ‘war on terror’ and no terrorist attacks in Paris.’
Presumably that’s the invasion of Iraq that France stayed out of. Even Daesh, who took responsibility for the attacks and trained and funded attackers, didn’t think so. They cited the current airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, and President Hollande’s policy toward Muslims worldwide.
The attackers struck from Belgium, the country that had turned away from the same strikes Daesh cited and they did so as European citizens, our radicalised internal horrors. Yes, some of the attackers had trained abroad, but they did so having been raised in Paris and Strasbourg. This is the pattern of radicalism and it is a known pattern. Those who kill in the West are distinguished not by even a perversion of piety but by alienation, disinterest and poverty.
Placing the blame for the deaths of the Paris victims on foreign policy – on the votes that their parents cast a generation before is distasteful. It is ugly and convenient and morally obscene – there is no responsibility for acts of violence outside those who commit them. It denies moral agency to those that have it.
And it is obviously, clearly, demonstrably wrong.
What did the government of Tunisia do to justify the killings on the beach? What did Libya do to justify the crucifixions in Sirte? What did Russia do to justify the bomb on the Metrojet airliner? What did Nigeria do to justify the market place bombs? What did the Yazidi ever do?
What did the thousands upon thousands who have died at the hands of Daesh do that Stop the War think their deaths should not count?
They are the inconvenient dead. The dead whose deaths can’t be twisted to fit a theory even while they are dying.
Responsibility for the deaths of the 130 people in Paris lies with, and only with those who killed them, or helped to plan the attacks. It does not lie, and never lies, with the victims.
The public reaction was swift and immediate. This was the first of the many articles Stop the War then took down. It was the one that revealed them for what they are.