One of the many reports that struck me about recent events in Paris was a neighbour of one of the brothers who carried out the shootings describing him as quiet, sympathetic, polite and respectful, and these are the basic and laudable day to day teachings of Islam (along with most other religions) but in this case it disguised an underlying darker, angrier, intolerant and vengeful side. I have heard countless people over the last few years offering platitudes, condemning violence on all counts and iterating Islam, Judaism, Christianity are all religions of peace, the trouble is from where I’m standing right now the Muslim world is not looking that peaceful, not only does it have issues with the Western values it has it’s own incomprehensible (for me) factional infighting. Of course the West’s self-serving involvement in guarding their ‘interests’ and their unwavering support for Israel has had a huge influence on the current global situation and has undoubtedly led to those who adhere to an extreme interpretation of the the Quran. But as the Khalid cartoon I put up yesterday showed as usual it is the men, women and children on the street that suffer the victimisation and violence whether it be in Paris, Peshwar, Nigeria, Gaza, Kabul or Kenya. No doubt one of the motives of the gunmen was to bring about an ‘us and them’ situation amongst the general populace hoping an ensuing backlash effects a war of civilisations and values, the only way to defeat that mentality is for ordinary people not to let that scenario happen and let hate and fear win.
The photograph was taken in Marrakech, on an ordinary street, full of ordinary people, doing ordinary things on an extraordinarily hot day in August 2013.