Mourn, Rinse, Repeat, Wait

brussels attacks

With each new incidence of the now regular sadistic assaults on Western civilisation, disturbing new realisations come to the surface. The only hope is that we can learn from them and face up to this enemy; the defeat of which is essential to the survival, both individually, as civilians and citizens of free societies, and as a way of life. One of the most important lessons to learn, I believe, is that anyone who read that previous sentence and found it to be sensationalist or hyperbolic, is delusional, masochistic or some abject combination of the two.

What horrifies me most about the recent atrocity in Brussels is not the shocking novelty of it, but how familiar and routine it has become; a sentiment shared by Douglas Murray who expressed particularly well the banal and choreographed way in which we have learned to respond to the mass slaughter of innocent people on the streets of Europe. Sentimental memes and cartoons are assembled and distributed, the dead are mourned and we await the inevitable hand-wringing equivocation and whataboutery from the groundswell of regressive journalists, bloggers and keyboard warriors as they assemble a dossier of rhetorical clutter to change the subject to anything other than the actual threat we face and how to defeat it. The word ‘tragedy’ is thrown around ad-nauseam in such a way as to make a direct, planned and coordinated act of mass murder sound like a natural disaster or a plane crash.

What horrifies me most about the recent atrocity in Brussels is not the shocking novelty of it, but how familiar and routine it has become.

The extreme narcissism of people who would use such a horrific occasion as a virtue-signalling opportunity is often staggering. Only this morning, before the dead have even been buried, the subject is changed to ‘inappropriate’ responses from members of the American Republican Party, or the racist history of the Tintin images being used in some of the aforementioned sentimental memes, echoing the loathsome whataboutery concerning France’s colonial history after the repeated attacks on Paris (though one should expect no better from Salon, the great echo-chamber of regressive self-loathing). You may notice as well that these regressive diversions need not have any kind of logical or factual consistency. Its not unusual to see some social media warrior post some conspiratorial excrement about ‘false flag’ and how ISIS is an invention of the West one week, and the next see them warn of the danger Islamophobia in Europe poses to the common project of defeating this enemy who mere days earlier they were claiming does not exist. This is a recognised psychological phenomenon, though, given the consistency between the type of people who engage in this kind of mindless bandwagon-jumping, I suspect it is also closely connected to this malaise of the Western identity.

And what about the skewed reporting? Why are we covering this event so closely when so many more people, than this mere trifling 34, are killed all the time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Beirut or Yemen? I have seen a few knee-jerk comments and Facebook banners, pertaining to this, flying around and, as whataboutery goes, this is among the most frightening examples. Apparently, the murder of 34 people in an otherwise peaceful Western city should be no more newsworthy and receive no more coverage (by the Western media) than an equivalent event in a country that is functionally either a warzone, failed state or bordering one of the above. Anyone who makes such a comparison not only has no idea how newsworthiness or regional coverage work, but is also making an implicit demand that we regard such attacks as the ‘new normal’; a demand that we lower the bar of newsworthiness to a fairly regular civilian cull.

Some of us are beginning to sound like a super-market calculating a stock spoilage budget, or a corporation accounting for an employee ‘churn-rate’. And in this we see the true horror of our increasingly-embedded post-terror routine: mourn, rinse, repeat, wait.

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