Dear God. We are in amidst yet another terrorist attack in Europe. Those are the worst kind.
For one thing, they attract global attention. That’s not generally a bad thing, apart from the fact that it alters western perceptions of other cultures, most often slandering and perpetuating harmful assumptions about already disgraced minorities. It creates general upheaval and horror – that is, more than your average mass civilian slaughterings in countries that are not the west, ahem, #prayforbeirut. Finally, it leads to never-ending emotionally charged Facebook posts that can sometimes get incredibly ignorant and pedantic, which is never fun.
What is happening right now in Paris is a genuine horrific tragedy that will remain a crucial part of European history in years to come. In a couple of decades, history books will be produced in France on the topic of Islamic terrorism in the 21st Century, going on to talk about events like the Charlie Hebdo attack, this attack, and most likely more to come. That absolutely sucks, and it is really worrying to think about. How many more years will this blood-shed, fanaticism and inhumanity go on? Will it never end? No really, think about it. This will never end. Not at the rate we are going anyway.
What is happening at this point in time is nothing like what we have seen in history before – well, it’s never happened before to this extent. Traditionally, when countries or ideologies had major clashes, there was a series of battles, which sometimes culminated into a full-fledged war where eventually there was a victor. Following that, conferences would be held, treaties would be signed, agreements would be made about reparations and territory lines, etc.
At least back then, there was some sort of general consensus about warfare and what it entailed. Yes, it could get messy, and yes, bad things still happened, but there was often a solution or some sort of final settlement after all the bloodshed and fighting.
How I see it now, is that we are indirectly fighting a massive war, with western Christian/secular culture on one side and Islamic extremism on the other. Islam is in a very vulnerable position right now, with misconceptions and radical sects left, right and centre. Many current Islamic countries are being torn apart through war and terrorism. Islam has become incredibly tied in with politics and power and that is extremely dangerous.
The ideological war that is happening is being conducted with a serious lack of communication and bad judgement and decisions on both parts. As Islamic militant groups are rising and taking power in the Middle East and Africa. Western nations are reacting by initiating drone attacks and encouraging anti-Islamic propaganda.
This is all bad. It is provoking and fuelling hatred on both sides. As more drones are dropped, it is creating more material for terrorists to use to justify attacking western culture. They have enough backward reasons as it is. Why would anyone in their right mind give them any inclination towards legitimate reasons to attack? We cannot allow that.
Then on the flip side, as more and more attacks happen, our reactions are fuelling a very blatant anti-Muslim rhetoric across western media. Media channels are getting more and more material to show the world how evil and barbaric Muslims are and that they need to be destroyed. It is the epitome of a vicious cycle.
We have seen guerrilla warfare before, but never at a global level. It’s madness. The world is gradually getting more unstable with terrorism rising and we can’t seem to do anything right to stop it. The kind of attacks that are happening right now are ranging from suicide bombings to hostage crises to shootings in public places. They are happening across the world, across various countries, every day.
Our responses to it aren’t helping anything. Is anything really going to help this situation? It seems like it is just going to get worse and worse; as years go on, the attacks seem to be getting more and more frequent. What end will this reach?
One thing I do know is that drone strikes need to stop. If anyone still believes that bombing countries in hopes of wiping out terrorists is actually going to work, you are deeply mistaken and deluded. For one, Islamic militant groups are extremely technologically equipped and are probably the first to evacuate a situation where they may be droned. That leaves innocent civilians to perish, not to mention destroying the buildings and infrastructure of a country. I know that seems so irrelevant, but really, how are we ever going to help these countries if they are completely obliterated in the process?
Often these countries – I’m thinking of Syria particularly – were well-developed, civilised places. Their towns were pretty similar to most developed cities on our side of the world. It is tragic to think that it will be decades before any progress can be made. Maybe if we started spreading serious awareness about terrorist attacks that also happen in Muslim countries, it might bring people together and unite them against the real problem.
These attacks are going to further increase the Islamophobic atmosphere that already exists, and that is exactly what ISIS wants. It is their ultimate goal to divide the world into two factions: the “Believers” and “Non-Believers”. By allowing Islamophobia to grow, we are allowing the world to polarise itself further, which is not helping anyone but them.
But by reacting with love and peace and standing together, we are making it very difficult for them to achieve their goals. We give them less material and propaganda to use to further rally themselves. If they see that the world is united, they will find it incredibly hard to grow and strengthen themselves, and ultimately they will fall. ISIS want people to fear and hate Muslims. By giving into that, you are letting them win.
The Paris attacks have shown yet again that there exists a very worrying attitude towards Muslims. The use of the word ‘terrorist’ has become associated with Islamic extremism and Muslims in the media, and it seems that recent events won’t be exempted from that association.
As the prime minister announced that the French borders would be closed, it became clear that it had certain implications. After 9/11, the U.S government acted on the same policy out of fear that certain unwanted outsiders may enter the country. France are underhandedly implying that they do not want any foreigners entering the country, specifically Muslims. At this point no one has been informed who the terrorists are, yet there seems to be clear assumptions already made.
However likely it is that they are Islamic terrorists, I believe it is harmful to imply any sort of prejudice towards Muslims in general. The border policy is also very unfortunate for any refugees who were hoping to get to France, as their chances of getting anywhere near that country are going to be made significantly harder, but whatever, I mean, refugees shouldn’t really have a choice where they get to stay anyway, they should just tough it out, right?
I am becoming increasingly concerned for the future of our world. I realise how vague and larger-than-life that sounds, but I think we are in for a pretty tough ride. The Paris attack today was another chilling reminder of how close to home this situation is becoming. It is unnerving to think that young people our age, who were out for dinner in a restaurant, or at a rock concert tonight, suffered at the hands of disillusioned violent bullies.
This injustice is ongoing and will not reach an end unless something changes. I don’t know what. I am only a kid. But something has to be done. Let’s focus on that.