Westminster comment - Liberté, égalité, fraternité

My bi-weekly column usually informs you all about my work for you, both in the constituency and in Westminster.

Whilst this weeks column could inform you all about my visit to the incredible Forget me Not Club in Banchory, or the fantastic conversation I had with the Rev Iain Ferguson in Westhill, or my frustration at the Scotland Bill in the House of Commons recently, I think I should reflect on the atrocities in Paris.

Like many of us do on a Friday evening, I was visiting friends and relaxing over dinner when news started to trickle through social media that there had been a shooting incident in Paris. What unfolded over the next few hours was horrific, made all the more real by access to instant information through social media. It seems so far away from the safety of a rural farmhouse in Finzean that others who were also relaxing on a Friday night were murdered in such terrible circumstances.

My thoughts are with the people of Paris, who must come together in peace and find strength and comfort from each other. I am proud that Scotland and the rest of the UK have shown solidarity for all the people of that city. We must rememberthat compassion and solidarity knows no race nor religion, in the face of these atrocities we must stand firm for humanity.

It is also important to remember those souls lost throughout the world to awful terrorist acts. Paris is shocking as it was an attack on a close nation, however, many middle eastern countries have also suffered great loss and whilst our collective knowledge and understanding of these countries may not be as great as that of France, we must remember that this attack wasn’t an attack on the west, people throughout the world are suffering as a result of terrorist attacks.

These attacks were made against the young, against people learning in schools and universities, against people enjoying an evening of entertainment, against muslims, against christians, against women, against men. Against humanity. The organisation who have committed these attacks show no regard for those killed or injured. They show no regard for the families who will forever bear the scars of these acts, they choose a path of hatred and fear. We must not be sucked in to that agenda.

Now is not the time for blame and certainly not the time to blame muslim people for the actions of a deranged group who claim to be muslim, if we do, we are being sucked into their agenda of hate.

Scotland will this week show a wonderful show of humanity when we welcome refugee families who are fleeing terrorist attacks in Syria. I cannot imagine how terrified they must be to have to flee thousands of miles to escape from the hands of the terrorists. Just like Parisians opened their doors to each other on Friday night, we too can open our country to the vulnerable and scared.

I do not believe that military intervention in Syria and Iraq will resolve this situation, nor will looking on vulnerable people fleeing from terror with suspicion, but invoking the spirit of the motto of France, of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity will make a positive step in the right direction, not just for us in the west, but for the world as a whole.