People, like us

September 11th in the USA.

July 7th in the UK.

And now November 13th, a really black Friday, in France.

If we think back we might remember a few more places where terror struck, if not the dates – Bali, the Boston marathon, Paris earlier this year . . .

But how many other places can we name in the very recent past – the last few months, weeks, even days, where people were killed or injured by acts of terrorism?

How much attention do we pay to news bulletins which tell us of other people in other places for whom terror isn’t a rare and aberrant occurrence but a constant companion?

Indian poet Karuna Ezara Parikh wrote in response to the Paris attacks:

Stalin said: The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.

Big numbers, particularly in places with which we’re not familiar and where sudden and violent death is not abnormal, are hard to grasp, particularly if we know and understand little of the geography, history and politics.

The events of 9/11 (or 11/9 for everyone outside the USA), 7/7 and 13/11 got our attention because terror struck in places with which many of us are familiar where the culture is similar, where we might have visited and/or know people, and the people are like us.

They also had the potential to affect us directly because we knew some of those affected, and through increased security measures and the consequent, though not large, loss of freedom.

These many other deaths and on-going terror are far less likely to affect us directly.

But do they not have an impact in the way that the tragedies in New York, London and Paris do because differences in language and culture emphasise what we don’t share and blind us to what we do – our common humanity?

Just because they aren’t people like us, we should never forget that they are people, like us.


25 Responses to People, like us

  1. In addition, we cannot forget the thousands of people that will suffer due to the actions of a few. Islam is not a religion of violence, yet those who follow that teaching pay a hefty price for what radicals do in the name of the same religion


  2. Andrei says:

    Unless you are a psychopath hurting, maiming and killing other people is unnatural to us, actually contrary to our nature in most cases.

    We see this in cases of natural disaster, where we rush to assist strangers in any way we can.

    But the unscrupulous know how to dehumanize those they would have us make war on and once people are dehumanized, and demonized we will commit appalling atrocities. – history is littered with massacres

    That’s the trick and it frightens me.because it is so effective

    My all time favourite quote is from Kurt Vonnegut

    “there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre”


  3. Dave Kennedy says:

    Well said, Ele.


  4. Dave Kennedy says:

    I hope more people think as you do regarding Paris, Ele, and we don’t see an escalation of the very action that has caused the terrorism in the first place (France increased bomb attacks in Syria). This link to my own thoughts is an attempt to inform a discussion on how best the west should approach future action to lessen the likelihood of a repeat. I hope you accept it as it is intended:


  5. Paranormal says:

    DK – A once over lightly and politically correct view, especially when it comes to Gaza.

    So you believe we should butt out of what is happening in the middle east (except in relation to Israel obvioulsy ™ ). You are happy that IS, a butchering misogynist stone age death cult, are carrying on genocide and we should just stand aside and let them continue? I would suggest that is an even worse option. In relation to those suffering under IS barbarism, as Ele says, “Just because they aren’t people like us, we should never forget that they are people, like us.”

    What has been missing in all the coverage I’ve seen to date is any real analysis. For example why choose Friday 13th? Could it be related to the arrests of the Knights Templar on Friday 13th?

    The causes of the Paris attacks go back centuries. To try and relate them purely to recent bombing in Syria is naivety in the extreme.

    Islam is the religion of submission (‘peace’ is a mis-translation). There is no security from Islamist extremists, or extremists of any creed for that matter. Any government that promises security is not being honest, or even realistic. There is no protection, even if there are armed officers in every building and on every street.

    What needs to happen (and won’t because it is not politically palatable) is to build up resilience within Western populations. As we saw in 9/11 (or 11/9 for non US people) those that stood up to the extremists ultimately saved lives. Passive acceptance is not a solution.


  6. Will says:

    The population will have to arm themselves, with all that implies.


  7. Andrei says:

    Of course standing off the coast in a high tech missile carrier and launching cruise missiles at people in the third world is not terrorism Paranormal

    Not on your planet perhaps but it surely is on mine!

    Yemen is just one victim of this type of cowardly terrorism, high tech thuggery.Other victims include Somalia, Sudan and Libya

    Let me tell you something else.

    It is reported that the terrorists in Paris were armed with AK47s and I’ll bet you if so these came from the Balkans but originated in East German armouries. Because after German reunification these weapons instead of being destroyed as common sense would dictate were smuggled to the Balkans too fuck up Yugoslavia which they did – Mission accomplished.

    A lot more people died under William Jefferson Clinton’s illegal and totally immoral bombing of Yugoslavia than died in Paris yesterday and that’s a fact, my friend,

    What Western people need to do is not arm themselves but to hold their own Governments to account


  8. Name Withheld says:

    Passive acceptance is not a solution.
    Vigils, empty words, prayers, The Eiffel Tower peace sign, singing patriotic songs and least of all hashtags will do nothing to deter these savages.
    It’s about time we saw some governance and leadership from Western leaders.
    They have accepted the responsibilities but have failed to protect their people, by eroding their liberty, and through a relentless policy of disarmament in the name of safety and security.
    Unlike some, i don’t pretend to have answers. That is the job of our so-called leaders.

    And just when you thought the green idiots could not sink further into absurdity …

    There is THIS.

    A looney who thinks that the Paris terrorist attacks were intended to disrupt the COP21 climate talks, driving up oil prices and putting petrodollars in the pockets of ISIS. Oh yes, and western oil interests were probably in on it too.


  9. Andrei says:

    The population will have to arm themselves, with all that implies.

    If I can arm myself with an assault weapon, then so can the mongrel mobsters, Maori separatists, white supremacists and any follower of Islam who is a New Zealand citizen

    You haven’t thought this through


  10. JC says:

    “The population will have to arm themselves, with all that implies.”

    We probably don’t have to do that yet. Its reassuring the official reaction of Muslims in NZ, ie..

    The Islamic Council of NZ sent this out yesterday to the media and I guess some of us have already read it..

    “Media Release

    15 Nov 2015

    The Islamic Council of New Zealand strongly condemns the cowardly attacks on innocent French and Lebanese citizens that have shook the world in the last few days.

    As followers of the Islamic faith, we find it repugnant and counter to all universal human values to shed innocent blood in such a brazen and despicable way.

    No true divine faith teaches violence, and we denounce any individual and group that use such tactics to instill and reap terror within societies and disturb the routine of normal, functional lives.

    As expressed to the Minister of Ethnic Affairs, ICONZ is ready and able to cooperate with the government at national and local level to counter the terrorism at grass root level by the eradication of religious illiteracy.

    Media contact:

    Dr Nasser Abdul Monim
    Islamic Council of New Zealand

    A copy was also forwarded to Whaleoil which responded with these questions..

    “Where is your statement condemning the ongoing terrorist attacks in Israel, against Jews?

    Why do you only care about French and Lebanese victims?

    Why the silence over more than 100 terror attacks in Israel in the past month?

    I’ll start believing you are sincere when you start acting sincere.”

    A response came 30 minutes later..

    “Least I can say, it is not all that clear that Israelis are victims of terrorism in recent incidents, and as you see no one condoled them for that, while French and Lebs were clearly victims and the whole world sympathized with them .

    Nevertheless, I appreciate your concerns


    Assuming this second statement is correct and representative of ICNZ we get a whole ‘nother view of what is terrorism, ie, its only terrorism if the whole world agrees it is and emotes about it.

    In fact its understandable.. ICNZ would rapidly lose credibility with the left if it appeared to be less antisemitic than these people and would lose its treasured “victim” status with them.

    One thing we can guarantee over the next month is the useful idiots of the left, the media, Susan Devoy and other parts of local and national govt will be working overtime to deny that such acts of Islamic terrorism are not any part of the Islamic religion and which is mandated by that religion against the “Apes and Pigs” (Jews) and the Kaffirs (most of the rest of us).

    There is no such thing as “Moderate” Islam, only full submission to it and the dreadful will of Allah, anything less is apostasy and the penalty for such is death. Moderate Muslims are simply people whom IS and al Baghdadi, the Taleban and al Qaeda have not caught up yet.

    This state of affairs is entirely predicable when you have a religion without central authority.. there is no one person who is accountable for the worst excesses of Islam compared to the leaders and oligarchies of other religions like Catholicism, Anglicanism and sometimes Communism.
    Islam is more like environmentalism.. a mostly antihuman organisation desperately in need of reformation where its antediluvian elements are politely confined to an Old Testament or pre Reformation era.



  11. Name Withheld says:

    If I can arm myself with an assault weapon, then so can the mongrel mobsters, Maori separatists, white supremacists and any follower of Islam who is a New Zealand citizen

    Errm…….I think they already have Andrei.


  12. Dave Kennedy says:

    Apart from Andrei, who kind of gets gets what is going on, the rest of you are just suckers for propaganda. Anyone who believes that Cameron Slater is the ultimate source for international affairs will believe anything.

    Andrei is right, this mad war on terror is like fighting armies that we have created ourselves from our own stupidity. If we want to stop terrorism we just have to stop stupid foreign policies and stop feeding the greed of those who profit from the conflict.

    If one really wants to stop terrorism then you look at the cause. The more force that is used to destroy terrorism the more collateral damage results and more terrorists are created. The current action is just feeding terrorism.


  13. Name Withheld says:

    Anyone who believes that Cameron Slater is the ultimate source for international affairs will believe anything.

    Where did that come from? A bit late at night againWe were all raised on fairy tales that told us, again and again, that in the end it is good that will overcome evil every time. .


  14. Paranormal says:

    So Andrei – do you believe we should just stand back and let IS rape pillage and murder their way across Syria and Iraq?


  15. Andrei says:

    So Andrei – do you believe we should just stand back and let IS rape pillage and murder their way across Syria and Iraq?


    I believe we should assist the Syrian and Iraqi Governments cut off the flow of weapons, supplies and recruits to ISIS and starve them in their desert strongholds.

    The “boots on the ground” need to have Syrian and Iraqi feet in them and be under the leadership and control of the President’s of Syria and Iraq respectively

    On the other hand this is what is really happening – the video shows a large ISIS convoy moving from IRAQ to Syria escorted by an US Apache helicopter


  16. Paranormal says:

    Fair comment Andrei. I believe we are talking at cross purposes. I agree with Putin (oddly) that IS do need to be routed by locals.

    BTW no need to lecture me about firearms origins. Take for example the Nazi produced MP44’s that were stockpiled at the end of WW2 that are now used in Syria – even with their orphan 7.92 kurz ammunition. Or the ubiquitous AK47 seen in conflicts all around the world, supplied by the soviets and their satellites. Even the instantly recognisable Hungarian version with the unique vertical foregrip. And of course the west is not innocent with the US dumping AR15s/M16s throughout the world, particularly Asia and the middle east.


  17. Andrei says:

    Terrorism is not a new phenomenon Paranormal

    The Austro Hungarian Empire was encouraging Terrorism in the Russian Empire during the 19th century

    In any country there are people with genuine grievances and no Government is perfect – and these things are ripe for enemies to exploit

    So if someone wanted to knock New Zealand government over, some hostile power, they could encourage Maori separatism and supply Maori separatists and along with other anti social elements surreptitiously with weapons – white supremacists in particular would be very useful to arm in this context – it would be harder to pull off here because we are an island nation and surreptitiously flooding our land with weapons is a lot harder than doing it to Yugoslavia or Libya

    Disorder would ensue and when the Government tries to restore order you cast them as oppressive and interfere in every way you can to block their endeavors to put the cork back in the bottle as more and more of the population gets drawn into the civil war you have created.

    This is what happened in Afghanistan in the eighties and was the genesis of the Taliban and Al Qaeda (watch Rambo 3, a real curiosity given what has happened subsequently)

    This is what happened to Somalia, Yugoslavia, and Libya as well as Ukraine – in the Yugoslava and Ukrainian cases the seeds were sown in the days of the Austro- Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, exploited by Hitler in WW2 and again by the USA/EU in the 21st century

    This was attempted and failed in Venezuela.

    Islamic terrorism is not new either – goes back to the twenties at least and was exploited by the British and the French to advance their imperial ambitions in the ME back then.

    This is all history and in history books.

    The problem is it is all complex and we usually come in late – for the average joe in New Zealand the first they were aware of Ukraine was when VVP suddenly “annexed” Crimea and all that led to that and the context is missing


  18. Dave Kennedy says:

    Andrei is correct, my daughter is at Victoria Uni at the moment and recently completed an assignment on the political interference that often causes cultural/religious conflict. The same occurred most shockingly with the Tutsi and Hutu in Rwanda. These two groups never had real conflict until political interference gave preference to one group and they became enemies.

    Muldoon did the same with the 1981 Springbok tour for political advantage.

    The US has supported many corrupt regimes when it is in their interest to do so and often actively opposes democratically elected governments if they see them doing stuff that are against their economic interests.

    Saddam Hussein was assisted into power by the US originally and Marcos was supported by the US as well:

    US foreign policy has a lot to answer for.

    It is interesting how little attention is being given to another shocking situation in West Papua that should be our focus more than Syria:


  19. Dave Kennedy says:

    This is something I wrote about the myths we are fed, including our ANZAC stories:


  20. Name Withheld says:

    Link Whore
    A link whore is one who solicits links to his blog regularly or seems/is desperate to receive links to his blog.


  21. Dave Kennedy says:

    NW, I could easily transcribe it here but it takes up space. A link is just a link and you are easily able to ignore it. Calling me a whore just says more about yourself.


  22. Name Withheld says:

    I hope you didn’t think my comment was about you…


    You did…

    Didn’t you.

    A Field Guide To Narcissism
    1. Its all about ME.

    ps I did ignore it.


  23. Andrei says:

    This is a serious thread on a very serious matter and it has descended into nah nah na naah ya!

    The blood of the dead in Paris, Beirut. Baghdad, Tripoli, Donbass , Sanaa, Aleppo, Sinai, Kunduz Sahel and on and on it goes – has not dried and yet…….

    I’ll tell you this we live in a very interesting times I’d love to read what the history books in a hundred years have to say about it

    But as we know “may you live in interesting times” is a Chinese curse

    And we in our South Pacific Paradise where we are, for now, sheltered from interesting times , can only find the time to talk about Charlie Sheen’s HIV and call one another names.

    You can only shake your head in wonder


  24. Andrei says:

    I don’t know what to think of this – it is even the second story on Stuff, immediately below the main news of the day, Charlie Sheen’s HIV revelation

    Western officials said Russia launched a “significant number” of strikes in Syria on Tuesday hitting the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa.

    n a separate action, apparently not coordinated,¹ French warplanes targeted Raqqa for a second day.

    French President Francois Hollande has said he will see Putin and US President Barack Obama in the coming days to try to convince them to join a grand coalition against Islamic State which controls swathes of Syria and Iraq.

    Russia began air strikes in Syria at the end of September².

    (1) This is uninformed editorial comment – since the planes that carried out this raid flew from and returned to Russia all military authorities with any involvement in the region will have been informed, look at the map several nations will have had to open their airspace to these planes – The Russian Federation has set up a bureau in Baghdad in order for this co-ordination to occur

    (2) The writers of this article seem unaware that the French also began bombing Syria in September – Mike Hosking the other night wondered aloud on live TV when reporting a French bombing of Al-Raqqah why they had taken so long to get to it totally unaware they have been doing it for nearly two months

    Anyway what was thrown at Al-Raqqah over night


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