For those of you who don’t know, Paris was unfortunate to be attacked by terrorist from the extremist group called ISIS. These attacks occurred in highly populated areas such as the Bataclan (a popular music venue) at about 9pm on 13th November 2015. Currently the death toll has gone up to 127 with 180 people injured – 80 of which are in a critical state however these numbers could sadly rise over the next couple of day as France mourns over this tragedy.
If there is anything that I hate most, its having to write about the loss of many innocent lives. To think people were enjoying their Friday night off from school or work and then the next minute their night is ruined by suicidal bombers and merciless shooters. I find it hard to say anything because yet again people have died as a result of those who don’t believe in principles such as the freedom of speech, equality for women and education for all. This is what drives me mad because I fail to understand why they oppose such values.
This attack simply illustrates the on going war we are fighting. The war of terror. Sadly, not enough people understand that combating terrorism is becoming increasingly more difficult especially as we are seeing an increase in attacks on the West. Some of the most known are 9/11 in the USA, 7/7 in the UK and now 13/11 in France. With the growth of technology, ISIS networks have become even more encrypted and harder to decode. Now they are even recruiting an army of people to go over and join them e.g. the 3 school girls from Bethnal Green. They are raising an army to spread their radical views and impose them regardless of the impact. ISIS are striking and they are striking hard. Terrorist are no longer people hiding in the shadows, they are coming out into the limelight and making sure their voices are heard e.g. through the use of social media they have been able to leak videos of innocent civilians being beheaded. We are in a war of terror!
However, how can we solve this problem? What can we do? I can start by telling you what we shouldn’t do… retaliate with force. In my opinion, the war of terror really began to take shape after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The west (predominantly the UK – Tony Blair & USA – George W Bush) decided to invade “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people”. However, until this day we are still suffering from the after effects of that decision. Terrorism has escalated to a record high and after 12 years, we have seen events such as the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the execution of Muammar Gaddafi, the refuge crisis and some ‘sort of’ apology from Tony Blair for the Iraq war. In some cases we have come a long way, but in others we haven’t made as much progress as expected. Fighting fire with fire only creates a bigger fire so retaliating with force isn’t going to help at all, it will actually make things worse. Why haven’t the leaders of today learnt from our mistakes in the past with WWI (which we just recently remembered), WWII and the Cold War. This isn’t a time where we should be allocating funds towards nuclear weapons such as trident because we don’t need more nuclear weapons in this world. By choosing to make more of these dangerous and destructive weapons, we are simply giving countries such as North Korea and other middle – eastern countries such as Israel, Pakistan and possible Iran a reason to make/ start to making more weapons.
Diplomacy, rationality and discussion is the way forward to conquering such issues. I’m not saying we should sit around playing ‘peace keeper’ every time but I don’t think we should always rely on the answer of implementing force and producing more weapons because that is what got us in this mess in the first place.
We can also learn to stop being so discriminatory towards Muslims/ Islamophobic because that is where we add the fuel to the fire. Muslims are an innocent group of people who worship the religion called Islam which means peace. They are no different than any other person out there and they are not the threat. I am not the threat. It is extremist which are the threat. They are the people who believe that they are doing the right thing ‘in the name of God’ but honestly don’t understand the faith at all since they carry out such atrocities.
The increase of hate crimes for Muslims have also increased with the rise of terrorism and now it becomes increasingly difficult (for women especially) to actively worship their religion e.g. by wearing the burka, hijab or niqab without facing discriminatory assaults. We live in a country where everyone is entitled to the freedom of expression and the freedom to worship any religion, so why am I or other Muslims in the world being denied this. Yes, ISIS are mainly responsible for ‘converting’ people into believing their radical ideas but to some extent the local community here in the UK and other western countries are responsible for causing people to join ISIS. If you keep telling people to go back to their country, if you keep discriminating against Muslims and if you keep verbally or physically assaulting them, they will listen and they will channel that hurt into anger which ISIS likes to manipulate. Then more people join the army fighting against the west and the vicious cycle keeps on going. This is like bullying,(in some cases) if you keep harming the victim, they will believe what you say and take action into their own hands by committing suicide or loosing confidence in themselves (disclaimer: this example is only for some cases not all).
However, instead of thinking about what ISIS has ‘achieved’, we should mourn with the families of those in Paris. We should pray for those in Paris and all the innocent people who have lost their lives. We should raise awareness of what has happened by using our social media platforms as a voice for good e.g. use the hashtag #PrayForParis on Instagram and Twitter or changing your Facebook profile picture to the French flag. We need to show people that what is happening is wrong and we don’t condone it! If you disagree with the decision of any government… Speak up! Voice your opinions, tell them if you disagree with the implementation of force, for example. I am not a huge fan of the David Cameron, but I do sympathise with him when he has to make big decisions about these things.
Don’t stay quiet and watch your world be destroyed by terror… open your voices and speak because the biggest threat to ISIS is humanity standing against terrorism!
– Haddy Jeng