The resolution in a crime story more often than not bolsters our hope that justice will ultimately prevail. Crime stories are about entertainment and escapism. But the real world never leaves us and the real world continues to challenge our belief that justice will prevail.
Where is there ever justice for the victims and their loved ones in non-fiction terror? Fuelled by a callous disregard for the value of human life, the latest strike is another against the Western World and the people in Paris in particular. It’s another in a long catalogue of terror tactics designed to indiscriminately kill and maim. We focus on the horrible event, as it should. And the horrible event passes. Very much like the authorities who ‘close the stable door after the horse has bolted’ in their increased military and police presence. It looks good, it appeases, but it will never be enough because it cannot be permanent. More and more of these destructive acts are developing throughout the world and will continue.
We shouldn’t be blind to the non-fiction plot. Osama bin Laden is dead, possible Jihadi John. These antagonists will always be replaced by others because the master plot is to polarize the warring factions. They want the West to abhor the Middle East, to provoke overreaction and retaliation against innocent Muslims. In turn, alienated Muslims will counteract and join extremists.
Like the great plots of fiction, this master plot of reality has endured and will continue. If social and traditional media is any indicator, Islamophobia in the West is on the rise. In Europe for example, the radical anti-Muslim right wing is gaining political strength. Prejudice and hate will continue to drive the European narrative.
In light of such a horrible terror attack in Paris, we want to do something because we feel such a sense of loss, pain, and powerlessness. What can we do? It is hard not to become a monster to defeat a monster. That difficulty is part of the great plot. At the moment, terrorists are winning the war against peace and using psychology to their advantage. There is no easy answer but this is a war that won’t be won with prejudice, lies and propaganda and making villains of Muslims. We need to write a creative counterplot. Does the West have this ingenuity? Time will tell.