Monday, November 16, 2015


I've taken a while to post anything about the attack in Paris on Friday for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I was out of town Friday-Sunday and couldn't really take the time/have the equipment to express my feelings. Secondly, My feelings on this are complicated and jumbled. Actually, my feelings on the reaction to the attack is what has my feelings all mixed up. I'm heart-broken that extremists killed scores in Paris. Those who died had nothing to do with French intervention in Syria.

I'm frustrated by the overwhelming response the (first) world has had to the attack. ISIS is attempting genocide against religious minorities in the Middle East. ISIS has committed acts of terror in the Middle East that rival and surpass what was done in Paris. Assad attacked his own people with chemical weapons. Boko Haram has been doing terrible things in Africa.

It's not that the Paris attacks weren't horrible. So many who are going down this line of reasoning seem to want to downplay the attacks in Paris. The response to the murder that took place Friday night in Paris is right. The lack of response to everything else is what's wrong. The evil is just as real in places were there isn't wealth or white people. It should be confronted and acknowledged in the same way.

The backlash of an act of Islamic Extremists that is this widely publicized in the west is profound and frightening. The islamophobia and xenophobia is, aside from being racist, is exactly what a group like ISIS wants. It protects their narrative of a religious war between Muslims and the west. The prejudice shown to young muslims in France or England or the United States is more likely to make them sympathetic to ISIS.

Failing to recognize the root of the problem has been an issue since forever. The problem isn't so much that people are terrorists; it's why people are choosing to become involved in terrorism. We can bomb and bomb and kill loads of people who are in ISIS and probably even defeat ISIS militarily, but the conditions that made ISIS take hold will still remain. Poverty, discrimination & lack of economic opportunities and social options is what breeds the rise of terrible groups. A young person from Syria may join ISIS because his only other option is to become a refugee or dying due to the warfare. A woman from England might join ISIS because she has faced prejudice her entire life and is treated as a second-class citizen.

A person who grows up in a household that is well enough off to avoid ever being wanting probably isn't going to join a terrorist group. A person whose life hasn't been destroyed by a civil war probably isn't going to resort to extremism. A person who is treated with respect by everyone and her government regardless of race, heritage, religion or origin isn't going to run off to ISIS.

I'm frightened by the nature of attacks in Paris, which I realize is what they're going for. They were suicide bombings and mass shootings at soft targets. Al Qaeda was (is) always going for the spectacular attack. Flying planes into buildings, big bombs, stuff like that, which while still scary I don't find nearly as terrifying as what happened in Paris a few days ago.

The last thing I want to write about has already been mentioned in this post in a way. The fear and hatred of immigrants fleeing the terrible conditions in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, etc isn't exactly new, but seems to have reached a new pitch after that Paris attack. The hardline right in Europe is already growing in popularity. Republicans are falling over themselves today to tell us how much they don't want Syrian immigrants in their state. ISIS is happy about it too. They need people to rule. They need an enemy to frighten their people. The governments of the world cannot condemn other humans to life in horrible conditions or death for the tiniest risk that you might let in someone dangerous.

There are plenty of dangerous people here already anyway.


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