It was the renowned French-German theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician Albert Schweitzer who once said, "The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings." Today, as families and friends of the injured and slain victims of the St. Petersburg bombing gather to mourn the injury and loss, I am reminded of how divided and weak human society has become.
Before sharing my thoughts on how this attack impacts us all, I want to express mine and my team's most heartfelt condolences to those affected by this latest tragedy. Our prayers and best wishes are with you all, may God bless and keep you each and every one there in Russia's second capital.
While news of the Russian investigation into the metro subway bombing is still underway, it seems abundantly clear St. Petersburg and Russia are the latest victims of terror. Charlie Hebdo in Paris, then the November 13th attacks in Paris, Brussels, Nice, Berlin, the September bombings in New York and New Jersey in the US, and London only days ago - and still the world lacked clarity. Now Russia's center of culture is devastated. Images of bloodied innocents flood in, Russia's president kneels at an all-night-vigal to lay flowers, and an American president waves off criticism to call Moscow with condolences and to pledge support - I cannot imagine a more potent moment to spur us toward the greater good. We can no longer tolerate dividedness, nor can we tolerate the insufferable lies and hate speech, the propaganda that sets us one against another.
Today I am reminded of something US President Donald Trump said in his inaugural address to our people:
"We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity." -- American President Donald Trump ---
And while these "differences" compel the anti-Trump and anti-Russian media to feed terror's actors, stories from BBC and even Australia's Sydney Morning Herald defile the dead and injured - the "Putin" blame game is fuelling inhuman barbarism still. The blood and tears mingle in a great city once more, and those we trust to speak well, they only revel in the horrible loss - writer Latika Bourke is so unthinking and unfeeling as to foretell of a "Putin crackdown" even before the dead are buried. Right now we are either fighters for humanity and civilization or advocates of barbarism and inhumanity. There is no in between.
How eloquent or convincing must I be, in order to show you the cataclysm that faces us today? Should any writer or politician even, be forced to compel humanity to fight the inhuman? The dead cry out, do they not?
"If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism." --- Thomas Sowell, political philosopher ---
TASS has reported that Kyrgyzstan’s special services have identified St. Petersburg terror attack suspect. But what hits me hardest is that our friend and colleague, Anna Novikova was at the same targeted subway train on its way from Tekhnologichesky Institut Station to Sennaya Ploshchad Station, earlier that morning. Sooner or later the jihad on our civilization will touch everyone personally - but it should not have to before we join hands. 14 were killed, and dozens wounded by shrapnel blasted into innocent civilians aboard that train. All we need to understand about the "story" is that jihad has come to us all.
The last thing I want to say is this. When I watched Russian President Vladimir Putin's car pull up to an all night vigal on the streets of St. Petersburg earlier this morning, I could only think of courage and fortitude in the face of danger. When he stepped out in the open with a few bodyguards, and knelt to lay flowers with the common people, I thought to myself; "Courage and honor, what more can a people ask of their leader?" Now I think that we are in horrible danger if we have lost the ability to see such courage - and especially if we cannot recognize the instant of our own demise as civilized society.
Finally, these acts are not horrific attacks by Muslims or the Islamic faith upon Christians or Jews, these attacks are justified and carried out by those who would use religion and God to justify their barbarism. French presidential candidate Marine le Pen encapsulated this with the recent statement; "Islamist terrorism is a cancer on Islam, and Muslims themselves must fight it at our side."
Again, our prayers go out to all in St. Petersburg, and we pray that God will help us find solidarity in this dire moment.