PARIS | Friday night: Europe’s brightest city falls into terror’s darkness. More than 120 people unjustifiably lose their lives. They were out: watching a game, attending a concert, eating at their favourite restaurant, proposing to their future partner. They lost their lives at the hands of hateful religious extremists with warped ideas about the world.
What happened? Why attack Paris? We can’t quite make sense of it. It shocks us. How something so cruel could occur in Paname. We can’t understand it. We want to deny it. It’s an intricate situation, spanning from continent to continent, exploiting faith, political beliefs, ideas – entwined with global politics and tensioned international relations. France in an alarmed state. The Paris of the East, Beirut, Lebanon is hit by bombings. In 2015 alone ISIS has carried out attacks and inspired attacks in, at least: Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan.
Paris, the European city, gets centre stage. The world rallies with France. France closes its borders. Lebanon feels left behind. Unfortunately, this creates an idea of the “wealthy west” caring about itself. It divides us. All of us, humans, relate to what’s nearer us. But it’s picked up and exploited. In the States, Donald Trump, a presidential hopeful says the Parisians should have been armed, in Europe the far-right blames open borders and the refugee crisis, some criticise the European Union. We quarrel about #PrayforParis, #PrayfortheWorld and about which attack received more attention by the media.
It’s exactly what the aggressors want, to cause confusion within these confusing world events, to create a sense of constant panic, to promote mistrust, to spread terror. To divide us. Wherever you come from, wherever you live. That is how terrorism works. Because terrorism runs on fear.
It’s that fear they will use to lead you to become afraid of people who don’t share the same faith as you, the fear that will make you doubt the man walking past you, that can make you xenophobic, racist, that can lead to your decision to vote for harsher immigration controls, that will oppress minority groups… A domino effect they are relying on to recruit more people to their cause and grow support.
To divide us, while we are still struggling to unite within our own fights against: racism, the after-effects of World War II, homophobia, our own wealth-based divisions (within our borders, and between countries), anti-Zionism, within a growing tide of mistrust towards our governments and the shifts in global economic power.
We will not forget Paris. We will not forget Beirut. We will not forget the innocents that lost their lives in any of our cities, in France, Lebanon or Egypt. But what will we do about it? We must choose to unite and face this global threat, united, together. We must honour the lives that were lost by letting justice, reason and our civilised ideals rise to the occasion.
We will not forget.