Tuesday, 20 December 2016
2016 Will Not Let Go: This German Attack Will Resonate Next Year
This year of all years is still not finished with us yet.
The terrorist attack in Germany was another cowardly and brutally cynical stab at another European state, this time one that naively opened its doors to hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers. Merkel was warned of the folly of her decision. This morning it has been confirmed that the attacker is a Pakistani asylum seeker. He is not even one from Syria. He is someone who used the chaos of the situation and exploited the chaos of the refugee crisis. It made the crisis worse and not better as had been intended. Now it has just been ratcheted a few notches worse.
This was an attack at the heart of Germany. Christmas markets are one of the great German festive traditions, a tradition they have exported to the rest of the world with nearly the same efficiency as their excellent cars. They are about yuletide cheer, happiness, community. This was a nasty, vicious stab at western values. This was them coming into our midst and attacking us for being welcoming and tolerant.
This is calculated to damage those values we hold so dear. Christmas in Germany is not quite the secular festival it has become in Britain, but it is still an occasion that can be enjoyed by anyone whether Christian or otherwise. The hate filled morons of extreme Islamism want to destroy this most precious aspect of our societies.
And this will damage Angela Merkel. It must do. She made a mistake last year and this was almost inevitable. The jihadists are a small minority and untypical of the vast majority of Muslims, but it only takes a few to get through and any country becomes vulnerable. Even 1% of a million asylum seekers is formidable number of people to track and monitor. It's not as if she was not warned that something like this might well take place.
This will affect everything in the coming year. Elections are coming. Brexit negotiations are coming. Politics is changing at lightning pace. The reaction to this by all politicians will inevitably be that this hatred is unrepresentative of Islam and of the majority of Muslims. The latter is certainly true. The former not so much.
Islam is not a religion of peace. It never has been. None of the major religions of our world are. But it doesn't matter whether it is or not. People decide whether or not to be peaceable. People decide what aspects of their bronze age religions to believe and pay heed to. They cherry pick their religions to suit their sensibilities. If you are a hate filled half wit with a grudge then there is plenty of encouragement in the Koran to behave like a crazed savage.
It's not a very festive message, but it is true.
Since I wrote this the facts have changed. It seems that the police may have arrested the wrong man. For now, unlike Donald Trump, it behoves us to wait and see what the facts are.