The following is a letter written by a friend, Benoît Dupêcher, in response to a letter he received from mutual friends in the United States  expressing their sympathy and support following the events in Paris. 

Thank you for showing your solidarity and sympathy with us over these terrible events. Despite the recent targets being Parisians and the people who were in Paris at the time, the problem concerns us all—as you know. Now people all over the world wonder what’s next, and where, since all the countries that disagree with and stand up to these mad fanatics are considered to be their enemies and become potential targets: witness the Russian plane with kids inside or what’s happening in Mali.

Let us not be impressed by this policy of terror; let us continue on the path of what we call democracy—even with its flaws.

What is happening today is the product of several decades of international policy, led by the main powers of this planet (including France, who has played a significant role in the Middle East), who have pursued their own national interests without any strong regard or consideration for the instability they were contributing to, building, and reinforcing over the years in the Middle East: between countries, within countries, and in the hearts of the people living there—by instilling a feeling of unfairness or “loaded dice” in favor of the main powers any time these countries might attempt to build a relationship with them.

For sure, this point of view describes only one aspect of the situation and does not account for all of the dramatic complexity that this latter-day world of ours has taken on, nor does it try—at all!—to lessen the severity of the deeds of the fanatics, which are absolutely inexcusable the moment they willingly engage the lives of dozens of innocents.

The only offense of those killed was that they were citizens of countries that chose to stand up against the furious madness of this scourge. And a lot of the people now dead—who were so very, very young, around 30 or younger, were not even aware of the historical context or the choices made by their country concerning the Middle East. Children of different immigrant waves were on the list of lives lost, and I saw Arabic names there too. And foreigners who were visiting Paris—their responsibility in this story is roughly zero. We are no longer in a rational or logical battle; we have stepped into a modus where random lunacy, masquerading as religious zeal, is determining the rules of the conflict.

And this is what for me, and everybody really, is unbearable: this particular aspect that commits us all—personally, intimately, one by one, on the same level of responsibility—to be potential targets the next time—in a theater, church, mosque, mall, school, night-club, stadium… anywhere it is crowded. Of course, this also gives all of us a very good reason to stand up and resist by any means (and let’s be creative!) this plague of post-modern times.

I hope the means chosen by our leaders to (try to) put an end to this will not foster a soil in which the fanatics will step their lunacy up even higher; I hope there is still a way of resolution that doesn’t renounce a sense of peace and non-violence, adapted of course to the severity of the situation, a way which will include more equality (that same bell that has called French people since the Revolution), more education, especially for the younger ones, more respect for the foreigner and different ways of doing things, and less obsession with greed and putting one’s own (even at a national scale) interest above—and most of the time to the detriment of—all others.

We have to learn to work together on this planet. It’s high time, because the stage is now too small to bear greed and wrong ambitions.

This is a work in progress…

to be continued…

all together.

I wish we had come into contact again for warmer reasons, but they are still there, hidden behind the actuality. :-)

With love from France and Belgium,

Benoît