Sunday, November 15, 2015


I am listening to a broadcast on BBC from Paris. The broadcast is from a private apartment where young people have gathered as a result of the terrorist attack on Friday evening. One of the people was present at the concert venue which was attacked. 

The most salient feature of the discussion is the lack of understanding of the roots of terrorism. Most of the people are relatively wealthy and in their 20's-30's. They are the children of the upper middle class. They proudly state that the attacks in Paris will not stop them from partying and living a hedonistic life in the world's capital of hedonism. They say they are all about "love".

I am old enough to have been alive during The Summer of Love in 1967. I was 17 and a sophomore in college. And, yes, for the wealthier members of that movement, the "love" of the times entailed taking drugs, having lots of sex and attending mass entertainment gatherings. The poorer members of our generation, of which I was one, were struggling to get through school to be able to get a job. That is, those of us who were fortunate enough to not be drafted and blown up in Vietnam. 

The anti-war movement which grew out of the hippy-dippy "love" movement of the privileged was peopled by working class young people as well as those from the upper classes. The ant-war movement, which helped to smash the vestiges of Western colonialism, was not gushy and vapid. It was not a movement geared to justifying hedonism. It was a movement inspired by military body bags and flag-draped coffins on TV.  It was a movement fueled by the remaining outrage against the overt racism of the the 1950's and 1960's in the American South. It was a movement inspired by the angry protests of Parisian students in 1968. It was a movement inspired by Black marchers. It was a movement inspired by bra-burning feminists. It was a movement inspired by gay/lesbian marchers. 

So, here we are again. The young and spoiled gush about "love" in the face of the hatred of those whom their very lifestyles oppress. Rather than taking in the depth of that hatred, based in social and economic oppression and inequality in the Middle East and Africa, those Parisian young people on BBC say they are determined to continue to "party, drink and make babies". 

The military involvement of France in Syria against ISIS is thought to have inspired these attacks in Paris. Rather than seeing that ISIS is an repressive movement which is a reaction to the oppression supported by the EU in its centuries of colonialism and capitalist exploitation of the region through support of oppressive regimes, these young people choose to interpret this as an attack on their fun. Really? 

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