Bodies on the beach

Let´s talk about what we struggle to discuss, what we find difficult to comprehend…the Tunisia beach attack.

24-year-old student Serfeddine Rezgui was shot dead by Tunisian police after he attacked a beach of international Western tourists killing, at last count, 39 people.

His bullets did not distinguish between nationalities as unarmed vacationing Brits, Germans, Irish, Belgians and Portuguese fell in his furious slaughter.

There are no words to describe the devastation Rezgui caused to many families and friends connected with the fallen.

For Brits this was the worst attack on British citizens since the 2005 London bombing.

For Tunisians, this 7-minute attack on the beach, outside Souase´s Imperial Marhaba Hotel, on the resort island of Djerba, follows the March memory of the Tunis attack at the National Bardo Museum. 21 tourists and a policeman died as a result.

Tunisia´s livelihood is highly dependent upon tourism.

Since the attack over 2,400 tourists in Tunisia cut their travel plans short and flew home.

By the end of today, another 2,500 will be expected to do the same.

At present, there are 20,000 British tourists presently on vacation in Tunisia.

Since the 2011 uprising of the Tunisian people against the dictator Zine el-Abdine Ben Ali resulted in a more democratic government, Tunisia has found itself increasingly the target of extreme militism and terrorist attacks.

Resorts like Djerba Island are considered legitimate targets because of their open Western lifestyles and tolerance of alcohol.

It seems far too regular a grisly routine to read about yet another attack upon innocent civilians somewhere in the world by some wild-eyed gunman determined to die in a blaze of glory taking as many as he…

(These attackers have tended to be male.)

…possibly can, all in the name of some perverse set of morals and ethics that equate murder as less offensive than the violation of this strange self-imposed code.

It baffles the rational mind how anyone could deliberately murder another person and believe that this murder is justifiable and honourable.

It is very understandable to feel rage and anger towards those that would so deliberately hurt us in such a malicious manner.

It is easy to hate those that hurt us.

In the need for justice (or revenge) there is a tendency to want to lash out and do unto others what was done to us.

Herein lies another dangerous situation, for violence begets violence in an endless cycle that can only be halted by the deliberate decision not to allow the hatemongers to influence our actions.

We cannot consider ourselves to be morally above the fray if we act violently towards those who have done us wrong.

“An eye for an eye” results in all of us staggering around blind.

Karima Benhajj, a young Tunisian woman, part of a wave of protestors against terrorism and violence in the name of religion, said it best:

“The victims of the attack are my brothers and sisters in humanity.”

When a murderer commits a murder and claims he is doing so for God or Allah, or whatever he chooses to call his deity of devotion, he does not truly represent the majority of true practioners of these sacred faiths.

In the vast majority of world religions, the concept of the sanctity of life is one of those precepts that is inviolable.

Individual men make the decision to violate this sacred rule and deliberately manipulate the teachings of holy writ to justify their violation.

Rezgui claimed to represent Islam.

He did not.

He represented the basest beastial nature of “might makes right”, not the teachings of Allah through his prophet Mohammed.

ISIS and Al Qa’ida claim to represent Islam.

They do not.

They represent people intent on acquiring power through violence and terror and use faith to justify their cause.

Most Muslims are not fundamentalists.

Most fundamentalists are not terrorists.

Let us mourn our losses and bury our dead, but let us not give in to terror and fear and hate.

We and they are all brothers and sisters in humanity.


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