There’s been so much coverage of the Paris Attacks everywhere, on social media, on local news television broadcasts. And with a worldwide tragedy and show of violence like this, there is also an abundance of opinions everywhere being displayed on twitter, on facebook, on editorials. People are instagramming their thoughts as captions, people are putting what they think in less than 140 characters, survivors are sharing their chilling stories on facebook. I have some thoughts of my own too where the urge to write them all down into coherent sentences is real, and I feel a blogpost does the trick.
I don’t need to recap the chilling and horrific events that took place, I’ll leave that to the likes of BBC, The Economist, CNN, Channel NewsAsia and all the other news companies.
I am equally horrified and appalled by the developments that took place, I am still trying to comprehend how one Friday night could transform a peaceful, somewhat mundane city into that under a siege, into a war-zone with soldiers wearing their full gear and forensic investigators everywhere, into a city which is being forced to close off all its borders. And most importantly, I am praying for all those who are affected by the violence and tragedy; no innocent human being deserves to be ruthlessly killed by an extremist in cold-blood.
However, this tragedy just reveals to me how hard it is to eradicate terrorism, and how hard it is to get rid of the stereotypes and prejudices of religions. Horrific acts such as these may never truly end as these acts of terrorism demonstrate how terrorists can easily adapt, can easily increase their intelligence, and extremist ideologies continue to attract lone wolves. The wars between states may have ended; but a new form of wars is emerging; a new type of war is forming. One that involves fundamentalism; radicalism; extremism. I still don’t understand how one can be so easily manipulated by the doctrines of extremism. They only preach violence and horror, masked behind twisted religious doctrines.
And the stereotypes of Islam will continue. Yes, I’ve read thousands of tweets imploring one to separate extremism and Islam, to not associate one with the another, and that if you think both are the same thing, you ought to think hard about yourself. It is true; Islam and extremism – they are not the same thing. Islam does not preach killings, does not preach the things terrorists do. They are only using the religion as a convenient tool to attract people of the faith to their cause. While most have successfully made that distinction, alas there are many others who have not. And these acts of terror will continue to fuel Islamophobia, they will continue to strengthen the anti-Muslim sentiments that are buried deep in the hearts of Europeans. And then, it’ll truly become a war between Islam and the West. The extremists’ rhetoric of uniting individuals of common faith to fight against the West – the “enemy” – will be strengthened.
Sooner or later, the Islamophobia in them will lead them to blame it all on the refugees who are flooding Europe. But the thing is, these refugees are trying to escape from the very same thing terrorizing them. They are innocent victims too, trapped in a world where extremists have taken over their hometown. I guess deep down, these Westerners know that refugees are not to be blamed, but for now it gives them an outlet to express their anger, their feeling of helplessness.
These are acts of terror and it is so heartbreaking to read about them. It is hard to totally get rid of them, they are making use of the phenomenons of the 21st century to their advantage, and they are making use of these acts of terror to polarize nations and to break, rather than unite city states. However, I feel that to truly combat terrorism, we should not let these tragedies divide us; polarize us; break us. This is exactly what they want, this will fuel them, embolden them. Instead of pointing fingers, figuring out who to blame, we need to all unite together, to look forward and present a strong front to break terrorism so that such mindless acts don’t happen to our future generations, so that our world becomes a safer place for us to live in.
It may be difficult, it is definitely easier to blame it all on Islam and the refugees and to maintain hostile relations with Muslims, but we must try. We need to unite together in these times of tragedy, for now the world is deeply polarized.
My heart goes out to all those affected in Paris, in Palestine, in Beirut, in Syria. I dunno, I might not be in the best position to offer any analysis or whatsoever, but I just feel like writing down my thoughts into concrete sentences to comprehend what’s going on in the world today. You may not agree with it, but that’s ok because this is totally my opinion, and opinions differ. But in this way, my mind becomes clearer.