Some people swear they heard the Tunisian man who was driving the lorry that massacred about one hundred people in Nice utter the phrase everyone dreads by now: “Allah Akbar” ‘God is great’. He has used an “unconventional” weapon against the celebrating crowd and, we may bitterly assume that it is not the only atypical arm they are going to use in the future. It does not matter whether he said it or not. It does not matter whether it was a terrorist attack or a terrible action made by a mad man. It makes no difference for the people who were killed nor for the injured. Not much is going to change if ISIS claims the massacre or if investigations show that a mad man prepared it alone to adhere to an appeal launched by the leaders of jihadist groups. What matters, and it is very important, is that violence is inside our home, in Europe, and we are all helpless, totally unprepared and confused. They attack because it is easy to attack us.
A long trail of blood, in the last thirty days, has united the entire globe, ignoring physical or political borders, with the same array of religious fundamentalism. A huge load of terror, violence and grief that has engulfed too many innocent people. In Somalia, in the center of Mogadishu, 35 people were killed in a terrorist attack in front of the gates of the Hotel Nasa-Hablod. Iraq suffered the bloodiest attack since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003: in Baghdad, in the Karrada district, a suicide bomber blew up a lorry packed with explosives. Seven people were murdered by militia fundamentalists from Boko Haram in Nigeria’s northeast, near the border with Cameroon. At the Ataturk airport, in Istanbul, Turkey, three suicide bombers killed 47 people and injured 200 more. In Bangladesh, Dhaka, a commando of seven terrorists stormed the restaurant Holey Artisan Bakery, situated in the diplomatic district of the capital, throwing grenades. They asked the guests, held hostage, to recite a verse from the Koran, and those who did not, were tortured, then killed in a terrible way. Two police officers and 22 civilians died in the attack. Ten, because a young woman was pregnant.
The danger is widespread, any place on Earth, in our neighborhood, all of a sudden can turn into a nightmare of fear and death, a battlefield. Pain and violence know no boundaries.
Safety in our so-called civilized countries shows all of its flaws. These events bear witness to our stupidity and dangerous arrogance, that of believing to be stronger and safer, thinking we are able to keep the wars we have often brought ourselves to the neighboring continents away from the West. War is not Risk or some other kind of game. You cannot throw the dice when violence, madness, and people’s suffering and despair are at stake.
The world is complex, experts have been telling us for over a century now, drawing theorems, algorithms and graphics of all kinds. Foresee the unforeseeable was the challenge of the scientists at end the second millennium. But human beings are not only complex, but also complicated and convoluted, hence extremely unpredictable, beyond imagination. A butterfly killed in some African country cries its pain from the underground, shaking the earth on which we put our feet, certain that we stand steadily on it. The social earthquakes come unexpected and are devastating. And there is no expert in political strategies that can defend us, anticipating all the moves on the global chessboard to make a checkmate possible.
We are insecure, in an absolute way. We have no physical, military, and monetary forces to resist this threat. It is real life, not fiction. Our military men armed with machine guns placed at some remote corner of the Capital are of no use. They would only become certain victims in case of an attack. The only weapon to defend ourselves is old and known, though abandoned. The art of diplomacy and the very valuable tool of mutually beneficial peace.
God is great, and He is the God of truth and peace. “Peace in truth” was the title of Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for World Day of Peace in 2006. A universal lesson that works as a strategic advice for dealing with the complexity of the situation we are facing, such as the European continent and the humanity at present times. The truth is the way to peace. Beyond the rhetoric of the time, even beyond the righteous cries of pain for the loss of our dear compatriots and brothers who shared our culture and civilization, we are called to an act of intellectual and moral honesty, to recognize our responsibilities for decades of tears and blood of other fellow human beings, which we have witnessed with indifference and in some cases, we have even caused them due to the choices of our political representatives.
United in truth, we will be able to act together, “all men of good will”, for this complex world not to be the worst possible world to pass down to those who will come after us.