Every Angel is terror. And yet,
ah, knowing you, I invoke you, almost deadly
birds of the soul.
Where are the days of Tobias,
when one of the most radiant of you stood at the simple threshold,
disguised somewhat for the journey and already no longer awesome
(Like a youth, to the youth looking out curiously).
Let the Archangel now, the dangerous one, from behind the stars,
take a single step down and toward us: our own heart,
beating on high would beat us down. What are you?
(from The Second Elegy, The Duino Elegies, Rainer Maria Rilke)
That image of a concert venue turned slaughterhouse on Friday, Nov. 13, in the storied capital of France, captures the random carnage that was the primary objective of the terrorists. It could only have been terrorism—the concept of asymmetrical warfare is only analytical, the framework of an anti-Western backlash mostly rhetorical. Above all, the declaration of an Islamic holy struggle is a perversion of religion.