Terrorism is complex.
Imagine the world is a street. The Middle East is a poor household under severe abuse from a tyrannical father. There are many innocent children are inside, but one escapes and runs to a neighbour.
The neighbours accept this traumatised boy but tell him they don’t have the money or means to also save his siblings, which makes him sad. “Why are you not being grateful?” they ask him, “If you don’t like it here, go back to where you came from.”
The neighbours hear that the boy’s father has attacked another family’s child, punching him cold in the middle of the street. They worry the boy might grow up to be like his father, threatening their family from within their own house. They distance themselves from the boy and openly discuss trying to send him back. The boy feels more alone than ever.
A text from the boy’s uncle comes unexpectedly. He asks the boy to return home. After all, the boy’s adoptive family have also played their part; they didn’t react to the father’s attack of the other poor children earlier this year. He owes it to the siblings he has deserted, at least. Rich families have largely turned a blind eye to the horrors and downfalls of the poverty they helped create.
Things I take from this:
- We must not confuse the abuser with the ones running away.
- We must not label a religion or region as ‘all bad’, just because a minority are vocally and bewilderingly violent.
- We do not blame children for being victims of abuse and we do not leave them to fend for themselves. We should not selectively ignore victims of terrorism.
- It is okay to believe that the world cannot save every soul who is fleeing. It is not okay to believe the best we can do is save a few. We can’t save everyone personally, so we must be actively contributing to measures and services which provide interim safety.
- There is more than one solution to fixing an abused family. On a global scale, we can not simply remove the abuser, and we cannot remove all of the abused. Stability and safety in their home should be a common goal. But recognise there is not an easy fix.
- We must stop isolating the masses and leaving them vulnerable to psychological manipulation.
- We must respond equally to all events that threaten the safety of others, no matter whom they are or where they come from.
- All perspectives on terrorism can be viewed as a logical series of thoughts if you take different perspectives in the story, but these thoughts should absolutely not translate into advising an appropriate course of action. Inflicting terror is never okay.
- We must stand together with respect and solidarity to form a stronger voice, a unified voice and a voice that breeds peaceful action.
- Finally, remember the words of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in his Statement to the Israeli Knesset that rings ever-true today; ‘Peace is not a game of calling for peace… Peace is a giant struggle against all and every ambition and whim.’
If you want to be vocal, be vocal for everyone impacted by this evil. It is the nature of humanity to support singular events with short lived passion. We need more lasting efforts.
Tl;dr We need to stand united and with active compassion against all tragedies of terror. Some tragedies are not bigger than other tragedies. Peace is a struggle and there are multiple perspectives to a complex and evolving issue. There is no single solution.