I’m on my way back from seeing Gary Clarke Jnr.
One day after the attacks on Paris. Twenty four hours after gunmen opened fire on an Eagles Of Death Metal concert.
I didn’t want to go to a show today. It somehow felt wrong to enjoy myself when last night people doing exactly the same thing lost their lives. How many? Over a hundred? One of the merch sellers lost their life. If you go to gigs you’ve probably bought merch. Maybe from this guy.
I felt afraid going to London today yet I’m from London, we’ve had terror attacks when I grew up. This felt closer to home. Music, a gig – I’ve been to countless. I also felt guilty at times as if I shouldn’t go and do something that cost so many their lives last night.
I stood and watched the show, music taking me away and I’d shut my eyes and remember Paris and I’d imagine the joy, the revelry being ripped away by bullets and I’d come back to the dreadful reality and stumble back to the moment and see Gary Clark Jnr playing, hear his stunning guitar, feel the crowd. And I’d feel guilt again. Why should I be able to dance the night away?
And I thought about the attack. And how social media is flooded with the most wonderful support; as well as this hatred of bigots. Tricolors everywhere in support, in solidarity. Candlelit vigils.
And I wonder if this attack took place in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan would we in the West even notice? Do we truly notice what’s not in our backyard? I spent a lot of time also noticing how much freedom I have as a white male living in the West. White privilege, male privilege…perhaps we need to add Western privilege? Because I live in Syria means as much to their loved ones as it does to ours. Because I’m not going to sleep with gunfire in the distance, because I can go to the market, the park, a gig safely. But people didn’t go to their show last night and come home safe. Close to my doorstep. And my world felt less safe today. A lot less. And it was due to one night of attacks and poignantly on something I love, take part in, work with. Live music.
So it became so much more real, more visceral.
But I don’t live with attacks, gunfire, bombings every day. Others do. But we don’t put their flag on our Facebook pages, tweet them.
Do we truly want world peace or is peace where we live good enough? Because I don’t see anyone in power trying to work towards a resolution, being accountable for what we’ve created. I see blame, revenge, profiteering and a lot of arrogance that we know what’s best for you.
Hatred creates hatred. Persecution creates hatred. Subjugation creates hatred. Two wrongs don’t make a right children are told.
When will a politician, someone of real courage stand up and say enough? Say we, WE, have to start to try and work this out together. Be humble enough to say we screwed up. We’re screwing up and let’s put people before profit, saving lives before saving face. Will this ever happen or will we just carry on bombing, killing, creating fear, hatred? Because it’s not working.
An eye for an eye leads to two blind people. And it seems as if we’re being blindly led into an abyss that will, one day, be too big to come back from and no amount of Western privilege will be able to save us then.