Guitarist Alex Skolnick has made a few posts regarding the Paris terror attacks via his official Facebook page. Today he has reacted to a lot of comments he has seen on social media, which you can read below.
“Morning coffee at Le Louvre Museum, Paris (feeling very French), a couple years ago.
Pardon the lack of updates. In addition to limited wifi while traveling, it just hasn’t felt right to get back to normal, posting day to day stuff with the proverbial “400 pound gorilla” in the room. A few more thoughts to share and hopefully this will be my last post on this for a while….
First, on the image shared in the previous post: I personally feel the drawing expresses gratitude for the prayers but also offers fresh perspective from someone directly affected by the events (a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist), and is done in a creative and particularly Parisian spirit. Though I’m less and less a fan of certain aspects of organized religion, it wasn’t my intention to disrespect those offering #PrayersForParis, and I know some of you (including some loyal supports I hate to offend) have felt that way. So no offense meant and let’s agree to respectfully disagree?
Next, “Grief Shaming.” By now, most of us have seen these memes accusing Paris supporters of selective mourning (“What about Lebanon?” “What about (insert tragedy here)”. The insinuation is that the outpouring of attention to Paris is that the victims are Western/white and none of us would care otherwise. This depiction seems at best unfair and at worst, insulting. First, it should go without saying that lives in Lebanon (which also has a large Christian population) and elsewhere, including high conflict regions where sadly such events occur often, are of course no less valuable than anywhere else, including Paris (where the victims of the recent attack included non-whites and Arabic names). But you cannot fault people for being more affected by tragic events in a place that they are more personally connected to like Paris, where so many of us have visited often and in many cases, lived and worked.
Why the greater familiarity with Paris? For one thing, it is a place EVERYONE is welcome. You can be an ironically named humorous rock band called Eagles of Death Metal or an actual death-metal group like the one my band is on tour with now (Cannibal Corpse), or a gay couple holding hands openly or a traditional Islamic family or a Jewish shopkeeper or a trans-gender person or a pierced punk rocker…it doesn’t matter. Walk the Parisian streets and you’re likely to rub elbows with all these types and so many more. I could be wrong, but I’m willing to bet not all these types of people would be welcome in Beirut, which is controlled by a militant Islamic organization (Hezbollah), not exactly known for their tolerance. And here’s an inadequate comparison, but Farah Fawcett had the misfortune of passing away on the same day as Michael Jackson. The latter’s death was much more unexpected (Fawcett had been battling cancer for years). Sorry but MJ’s music had a bigger impact on many people’s lives than her acting and modeling career (not to disrespect that). The point is, I’m sure Beirut, Nigeria and elsewhere would have received much more attention and public expressions of sympathy on any other day.
At the same time, I personally haven’t chosen to do what so many are doing – fly the French flag for my profile pic. While I see nothing fundamentally wrong it, I’m leery of anything that feels like jumping on a bandwagon (even when I support the premise).
Like many other issues, the recent events in Paris and their aftermath are complex and require thought and consideration, something I’m not seeing enough of with the barrage of amateur online opinions.
However, here are some well laid out opinions I can get behind.
First, this sums up the subject of grief shaming far better than I can: http://www.truth-out.org/…/33670-on-the-violence-in-paris-s…
Next, anyone screaming about Syrian refugees coming to the US, please read this: http://www.economist.com/…/ec…/2015/10/economist-explains-13
Lastly an article on just who and what we are dealing with here: http://www.theatlantic.com/…/03/what-isis-really-wa…/384980/
Somehow all this brings to mind this song and video by the 90s Pink Floyd album “The Division Bell” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6GSQTobbQk.
Finally, a few words to those who’ve posted comments that basically amount to “Stick to music,” the folks who hate when I post my views:
1. I will not be silenced, verbally or musically. Deal with it.
2. This is my platform, not yours. You’re an invited guest.
3 I welcome constructive feedback including dissent. But if you walk into someone’s house and behave like a jerk, then you deserve to be thrown out.
In other words, if you’re incapable of replying without personal insults, trolling and twisting words (which invalidates any point you’re trying to make), then I have my finger firmly on the “ban” button. Being on tour, it’s been hard to catch all of these sort of comments, but I’ve seen (and removed) a few. Thankfully most are respectful, even if there is occasional disagreement.
To those who respond respectfully or not at all: thank you.
Your support is greatly appreciated.
Hopefully we’ll be back to normal posts soon. Everyone please be safe out there! AS”