Letter: Paris - Military action isn’t the answer

Harrogate's Vigil for Peace  (1511202AM1)
Harrogate's Vigil for Peace (1511202AM1)

The Harrogate and District Green Party wishes to express our deep sympathy with the victims of the recent atrocities in Paris, opposition to the evils of violence, hate and fascism and respect for all who are suffering in the current conflicts.

There has already been a military backlash and more planned, but in our view, the answer isn’t bombing ‘IS’ - as if one can anyway. Neither is it for Europe to move towards closing its doors to people who are desperately fleeing the killing and destruction in their homelands.

Unfortunately many of those in power have a vested interest in war because they make personal or political profit from it. For them it is a business transaction. We must face the fact that we are part of a system which actively encourages profit-making at the expense of people who have no voice.

Governments in the West are representing the people perhaps less than ever and the cynical ‘business as usual’ mentality becomes increasingly more obvious.

Until we learn that terrorism is a consequence of poverty and a lack of education and a lack of opportunity and that we, corporately, in the West have followed policies which have contributed to this, nothing will change.

All of us - individually and as a society - need to ask ourselves why are people driven to such extreme acts and what can I do to change the circumstances that create this hatred?

Simply labelling people as extremists is not enough. We need to face up to the difficult question of what is breeding and feeding such extremism (in all quarters) in the first place.

We all need to stand up and say ‘not in my name’. The stakes are high and rising rapidly, and unless we change our mindset and start talking rather than bombing, people will continue to suffer.

Why are we all so shocked about Paris? Because it’s close to home?

The people of Iraq and the Lebanon have suffered this kind of appalling brutality for years but it doesn’t make the news because it is far enough away to be comfortable.

Shan Oakes

Harrogate and District

Green Party