Last night was a hard night for Europe. Seven terrorist attacks hit Paris killing more than 120 people. Isis, the (supposedly) terrorist organisation has claimed the attacks, warning also for future attacks in Rome, Washington, New York and London.
Scrolling my Facebook page I see my wall filled with messages from my friend list reporting feelings of solidarity, sadness, anger and incredulity for what happened just yesterday. Since yesterday evening, TV news started reporting facts and updates, trying this morning to reconstruct a rationale for what happened. And the same is what I found again, by scrolling my Twitter and Facebook page. I see people posting claims that try to give reasons. Some says, it is because of the immigration, some other says that after all European governments have bombed ISIS, therefore now we do not have to be surprised if they react and attack us.
However, I believe that in this occasions asking why is pointless.
A terrorist attack is surely something horrific for it involves innocent civilians. It is aimed at establishing a sense of insecurity and fear, together with a lack of trustiness among people belonging to different cultural and religion backgrounds. And still, one may find him/herself to ask why all this happened; How comes that some people are capable of such cruel and wicked actions against other innocent people?
Asking why it is pointless. I want to stress it once again. And the reason is that it is too easy. Once I read a sentence in a movie saying: “Life is what happens when you are making other plans”. What does this sentence mean? I would like to borrow a personal experience I had just recently and use it as a metaphor to give some sense to the whole.
I am person who likes giving to other people. As an architect and activist I work for and with homeless people for instance. I do it because I believe in what I do and I do it with no expectation. That is the way I am. I am still the same type of person with other people, especially with personal relationships. I give with no expectations, for the pleasure of giving to some, of showing that love another person is something not to be afraid of. That if you wake up at 4am just to send a text before the person leaves for another country, showing you truly believe everything will be fine and you are there for this person. That, when sending a box with belongings that this person has temporarily left at your place, if you put stuff for breakfast just as an aid because you know this person has just moved in a new place. That if you write a poem and dedicate sweet thoughts throughout the day to make this person feel better when the self esteem seems so low. You believe that after all, this is something that is fundamentally you. You do it because that is the way you are and you cannot expect something back. You do not demand it (up to a point and perhaps it is also fine to question whether if somebody does not do anything for you if there is something wrong with you). Of course all this came with some mistake. Nobody is perfect and you acknowledge this and it is not a problem. And yet, simply you believe the other person and believe that by showing love with no expectation, talks with no conditions and so on the other will be some how, at least, receptive.
I was surely making other plans with regards to this person…
All of a sudden, everything you have done is turned against you. It is denied. You are said to be nothing, to have been nothing for this person. To have been selfish, wrong, a stalker, a disturbing presence, that you are and were worth nothing for this person. And you try asking reasons, you interrogate this person and ask why. You want the person to motivate such bad claims. And yet, no explanation arrives. No reason to support this. You believed in this person and find yourself facing something that remains inexplicable. That has no logic if not the one of not having understood that either this person is having some hidden and bigger problem inside or is really just nasty and wicked.
I spent quite a lot of time wondering about why. I was hoping that by understanding why I would have felt relieved or just finding a rationale would have made me understood how to do with this person. Nonetheless, all this wondering about whys was unfruitful. It is unfruitful because when I wondered why the other was doing such a bad thing, I was missing the point with myself. It is not why the other does or is capable of such bad words and actions. It is the fact that probably it is me that is incapable of accepting this. Therefore it is not why the other has done what happened. Rather, am I feeling so bad because I am incapable of accepting something? And if so, how can I move on? Some time there is nothing much one can do but accepting certain situations and realise, how can I get better soon?
Europe, despite disagreements, despite I personally do not feel myself with saying is governed fairly. Despite plenty of inequalities and injustices, cases of corruption and so on, is still a continent made by people granted of freedom of speech and expression. Governments may be bombing other countries, however people, European people are mostly welcoming people. Folks that welcome the other and are willing to help the other. In Paris, #portouvert yesterday meant that other Parisians were offering their houses to host people that could not reach their flats. The moment of danger has established a sense of solidarity but this comes only because that feeling is already present in these people. European people have been since forever a cultural mix, a coexistence of different cultures influencing one another. Therefore I am tempted to argue that the messages I have seen today are genuine and are there because that is the way most of the people is made. We are capable of manifesting solidarity and sharing goodness.
However, asking why becomes perhaps more a means to feel provoked and look for a possible counter-action. A reaction! Not to sound too religious, I would like to recall a passage from the gospel where Saint Mark is said to turn the other cheek if slapped. Personalities such as Ghandi and Martin Luther King had more or less a similar attitude towards provocation. Asking why becomes useless because it is too easy. It implies that one is seeking in the other’s action reasons to move on, to get better or to react. It is blaming vs blaming. It is a reaction following another reaction. However, can a reaction be really an action in as long as it comes after a provocation?
The more I read this post the more I believe it could be written better. I am not really good at writing and yet, doesn’t asking why become only a means to blame something for my bad writing? Perhaps I am too lazy to edit it or to impatient to post it. I have to accept it and think how to work and write better a next post, isn’t it?