Another week that will be stained in blood. For people in the West and throughout the (non-Orthodox) Christian world, this happens to be the week before the Christmas holiday, which leads us toward a new year. Few, at this point, have any illusions that 2017 can really be any less dreadful than 2016.

Monday’s attacks in Ankara and then Berlin are of the proverbial shocking-but-no-longer-surprising variety. They are also a reminder that the blood being spilled daily in Syria for more than five years, sadly, no longer surprises or shocks us.

The killing of the face of Russia in the Turkish capital and the murder of faceless victims at a holiday market in the German capital may seem like very different attacks. But the sensation of watching the two stories unfold on the same day points to a deeper connection: They show us our ever-smaller world of deepening hatreds and cynical leaders, one of more bloodshed and bad years to come.

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