Terrorism comes at us relentlessly. To say it will never end sounds pretty pessimistic. Unfortunately, it’s reality.
Terrorism has been part of society for as long as there has been people opposed to the status quo. It will continue for the same reason.
More Terrorist Attacks During the 70s & 80s
Believe it or not, there were more terrorists attacks in the west during the seventies and eighties than since 9/11. They have become more deadly in recent times, but not more frequent.
The biggest difference between the attacks of recent times and back then is, rather than the perpetrators being from various radical groups, they are a common enemy — radical jihadists.
Majority of Recent Deaths in Middle East
In the last few weeks over 500 people around the world have died as the result of terrorist attacks. The majority of those deaths took place in the middle east.
Radical Muslims killing Muslims.
Yet, how often I see the lament the west is under attack.
When an attack on a western target takes place, it’s splashed across the media, social media and landmarks get lit up with special lighting in solidarity with what ever country has been hit.
When it occurs in the Middle East, we sigh and move on.
The Jihadist Target is Anyone Who is Not Them.
Radical Islam targets anyone who doesn’t embrace their interpretation of Islam. That includes fellow Muslims.
To them, anyone who doesn’t embrace their interpretation of Islam are infidels.
When you think about it, ISIS has to name the west and everything we stand for as their target. Could you imagine them trying to radicalize disaffected young Muslims by telling them they need to wage jihad on their own faith members?
Recruiting would be much harder. But name the west and the differences between the two worlds, that can sell.
Sadly, not only to young Muslims, but even others who apparently don’t feel they belong in their own society.
Jihadists Are Not Alone In Their Dogmatic Views
They are not unlike some within both the Jewish and Christian faiths.
Personally, those who take narrow views of faith and believe they have the right to attempt to impose their views on others, are no longer part of that faith.
That is probably a narrow-minded view of my own. It’s one I’ll gladly own, thank you.
I have the right to embrace my faith. I have the right to follow that faith. I even have the right to share that faith with others willing to hear.
I do not have the right to attempt to impose my faith on others.
Authoritarianism vs Democracy
Democracy is messy. It means we have to be willing and able to grant freedoms to our fellow citizens.
Those freedoms include the right to personal privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and movement within our country. It means we elect governments, voting some in, others out.
Increasingly, in response to terrorism, we see people wanting, almost demanding those freedoms be limited or even removed. It’s a response based on fear. On the belief that allowing, even expecting our governments to become more authoritarian, we can be safer.
Authoritarianism is False Illusion of Safety
It’s a false feeling. But, it gives rise to people like Donald Trump in the US and far-right parties in places like France. It’s allowed the French government to pass and impose laws limiting people’s rights and allowing the state a broad range of rights of arrest and detention without recourse.
Over the last year, France has suffered three major attacks. Turkey with an entrenched authoritarian government has had sixteen terror attacks in the last year. Last night the government barely survived an attempt by part of the military to overthrow it.
Society Will Be Vulnerable
Short of being able to read the hearts and minds of those around us, we are vulnerable.
All we can do is hope that the security services are doing their best to thwart any attack they can.
If an attack comes, the response is the best it can be and we can move on as soon as possible.
We can’t avoid being vulnerable. We can’t live in fear. We can’t surrender our freedom.
We may not be able to stop terrorism. We can deny terrorists victory.