Rochelle organises the Friday Fiction one hundred word competition, prompted by a photo, each week:


“Are you deliberately missing the point? I am not saying that I approve of the killing. You know that I am a pacifist. I don’t approve of killing by any means or for any cause. I am saying that we need to be careful who we identify as our allies and our enemies.”
“You can’t seriously suggest ISIS are our allies.”
“No, of course not. I’m saying that declaring support for France, because it has suffered at their hands, is misguided. The West, France included, has been wreaking havoc in the Middle East for decades. We’ve installed tin-pot dictators, supported despots, bombed and killed in pursuit of control and resources, with little or no regard for the fortunes of the populace. A backlash was and is inevitable.”
“The people who died on Friday are not to blame for all of that.”
“Really? Then who is? The victims lived in a democracy; are responsible for the activities of their government.”
“No, you can’t say that.”
“Then I say democracy is a sham and the whole fiasco belongs down the drain.”


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About micklively

Fifty-something, pacifist, six sigma black belt, lean implementer, brewer, vintner, guitarist, wood-turner, and slave to collies.
This entry was posted in Al Qaeda, conspiracy, economics, hatred, Middle East, terrorism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Sham

  1. Margaret says:

    The wheel of history turns, and actions that seemed for the best at a certain point turn out to have been mistakes. I believe human societies bumble along driven by a heady mixture of good intentions watered down by self-interest, fallible judgement and incomplete information. Add to this the potential for mass harm we have in today’s world and it’s a wonder we’ve lasted as long as we have. Democracy might be a sham, and the West has a lot to answer for – I agree with you there, but it’s the best we’ve got, and we can’t give up on it. We need to keep on doing what you’ve done so well in your story – exposing weaknesses and refusing to accept spin and obfuscation from our leaders.

    • micklively says:

      I am not suggesting we should give up on democracy, mainly because I don’t have a better alternative to offer. I am suggesting we should stop regarding it as a panacea. We need to get involved.
      Many thanks for your feedback Margaret.

  2. rogershipp says:

    Interesting and powerful take on the prompt.

  3. I think it’s a bit late to try and reason with the terrorists. At most we can try and keep more kids from joining them, or becoming turned into terrorists at home. Now we have to try and protect ourselves without making matters worse, which is going to prove difficult at best. There needs to be more policing of the internet. These guys are experts at using it to their advantage. Good story, Mick. Well done. —- Suzanne

  4. mjlstories says:

    Today listening to the language of some of our politicians I can’t tell the difference between either side. I’ve also heard that word evil knocked about until it’s meaningless, to me anyway. A provoking piece that needs shouting loud above the clamour for revenge.

    • micklively says:

      Our freedom fighters, your terrorists; our brave peace-keepers, your evil maniacs; our good Christian clergy, your mad mullahs. The list is seemingly endless. Is it news or propaganda?
      Many thanks.

  5. hafong says:

    I say the shooters are also victims as the ones they’ve killed. We are all between a rock and a hard place. Is that the correct phrase?


    • micklively says:

      The West is so quick to say that terrorism is not the way to address grievances, and I agree. Alas, we are not so swift to offer an alternative.
      Many thanks Lily.

  6. ansumani says:

    Sometimes democracy does feel like a sham- and it is because not enough people participate and make their voices heard loud and clear. And then there are special interests groups like arms-manufacturers and corrupt government ….Human greed and the need to control others seems to be the root of the issue.

  7. rgayer55 says:

    I live in a democracy where less than 1/2 the people vote. Stuff happens whether you participate or not. Good post, Mick.

    • micklively says:

      I can’t accept a system that says killing in my name, using my taxes, is insulated from any opinion from me. It just can’t be right!
      Thanks Russell

  8. I quite agree the western world has a lot to answer for but the time for blame is over. We have to find a way forward. What that is I don’t know but I do know bombing and war is not the answer. ISIS is to my mind a group of thugs who attract those youngsters that do not fit into society either because of racial problems or mental issues and the like. These thugs are not representative of the great majority of Muslims in our society and indeed it is hard to accept that they do their acts in the name of religion. Certainly it is not the religion of any muslims I know. How we stop ISIS I am at a loss but being inclusive and not bombing those that are not part of it would go a long way to stopping them from recruiting disenfranchised youth. Well done Mick for taking the plunge and creating a conversation that should be taking place across the world. There are some creative people out there that can surely come up with a solution.

  9. gravadee says:

    This is a very different & a very practical take on the event happening in real & the prompt

  10. There is a point in what you are saying.. but I still think some of the despots are definitely homegrown in the middle-east.. so I feel obliged to still think that the Frenchmen who killed their own people can be blamed for something..

    • micklively says:

      Of course they can. I’m not suggesting we should forgive them any time soon. But when solving any problem, we need to get to the root cause, else we’re just messing with symptoms and solving nothing.

      • Of course.. but there are many roots to understand. Some of them going back 1000 years… and things have happened in the name of all religions and most political views.

        But showing a positive way forward is the only way we can act, and it’s not about forgiving at all. However we have to understand all kind of extremism, including our own….

  11. Dale says:

    I hear you loud and clear, Mick. Bombing and re-bombing each other will serve no purpose and resolve nothing.

  12. draliman says:

    Good piece, makes you think a bit deeper about current issues rather than instantly jump to a conclusion.

  13. I so agree. But who will bell the cat? I mean will arms-manufacturing countries stop producing arms? Will the US Stay out of other countries’ business? Will they give up their agenda of world domination? So many questions. Who will take the first step? The majority of the people are too brain-washed by the media to take a stand and make their govt change its stance.

    • micklively says:

      I don’t see a way forward other than constantly pestering government to change their ways. But it won’t be easy and the chances of success are slim.
      Many thanks for your feedback.

  14. I agree that there is injustice and innocent people get killed. I can understand how, when people are indoctrinated and encouraged to direct their rage toward other countries, they become radicalized and commit acts of terror. I do not think we can blame the innocent victims of terrorists. I do think we have to look deeper for solutions besides war.

  15. Wow. Interesting pov.
    My take: All governments are shams of sorts, but necessary for civil life.
    All deaths of innocents are abhorrent: France, Syria, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Philippines, Nigeria, Darfur, on and on. What man does to each other!

    And no, civilians are not ultimately and individually responsible for their what governments do. Most families just want to live a decent life, provide for themselves, etc. – whether in France, here, the middle east – all over the globe. And are too overwhelmed to even get involved in the political process.

    We should support Paris, but we should support all suffering people’s. Man’s inhumanity is unacceptable.


    • micklively says:

      Everything you’ve said is right but it contains no solution.
      Many thanks for your feedback.

      • I am not wise enough to know or have “solutions”.

        I read your article, your link,and I’m not sure what “solutions” were offered in it.

        My thoughts about “suggestions” for peace would be to involve a peace keeping force from the UN in the country, or convene a summit of concerned countries to invite key players from Syria to meet and work out treaties (very weak), or for us (the west) to decide to stay out completely and watch the country to go through mass killings and hope for the best (God help the innocent families and children) and offering whatever help that may be prudent after the holocaust.

        Or on a lighter side – fund Anonymous to intercede in the country, or release the likes of Bill Gates, Edward Snowden, or Julian Assange, or resurrect the likes of John Lennon or Mahatma Ghandi – or, as suggested in your link, invoke the whole of the Arab Spring (although what it has accomplished i think is also suspect).

        I look forward to your and others’ pov’s here… I believe by reading pov’s we might see things we had not considered before.


        • one other post I just read and wish to share is:

          We Can Avoid Another Paris and Defeat ISIS If We Remember This History
          by Akbar Ahmed, Chair of Islamic Studies at American University

          The following is an excerpt from his article:
          “So while bombers and aircraft carriers need to do their stuff, the problem of terrorist-related violence will not be solved by force alone. President Hollande must also engage with his alienated Muslim community with the same determination he has shown in attacking ISIS and win them over. It will require a long-term political and cultural strategy before the minority Muslim community is woven into French society so that they become the first line of defense. Muslim citizens must be made to feel they have a place and a stake in society. They must be given a sense of respect and honor. Mother France must take her children to her bosom.

          Andalusia wasn’t a perfect paradise, but it had its moments and still has something to teach us about the ability of people of different backgrounds to live together. We cannot — and do not want — to resuscitate history, but we can learn from the positive parts of our history in order to avoid repeating the horrid and tragic. Given Europe’s recent past, promoting coexistence and equality for all citizens is an imperative we cannot afford to ignore.”


  16. Interesting point of view Mick… I admire your ability to put your opinion out there and I agree. I think WW III is just around the cornier. :-/

  17. Interesting points raised. But I feel you are assuming that pure democracy exists, that citizens can really influence their governments and therefore share responsibility for the government’s behaviour. I feel that’s the weakness in your argument – witness the million people London march against the start of the war in Iraq. And we mustn’t underestimate the influence of large multi-national institutions on the decisions of our beloved leaders.
    Apart from that, I agree the major powers have behaved badly – our part in middle east history is nothing to be proud of. But, hey, we need the oil!

  18. yarnspinnerr says:

    The first thing that came to my was 26/11.
    Good piece.

  19. It take courage to walk the tin line and you do it so bravely. There are so many questions coming out of your story, questions I ask myself often. To understand the present, we simply must learn our past. But to secure our future, we must change our present. Humans are like a hamster on a wheel…

    • micklively says:

      Learn from the past is a good starting point. Hopefully, that means not repeating the same mistakes. More bombing will solve nothing. I don’t feel brave: I feel like I’m waiting for WWIII.
      Many thanks for your feedback.

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