Culture

Can We Please Start To Look At Ourselves

THEN I FIRST HEARD WHAT ABOUT Manchester, I was still pretty out of it—I just woke up. It was 6 A.M. and I was listening to the radio while I was walking to work. The hosts were talking about security measures at stadiums, specifically during concerts and games. One of the hosts said in passing, “Well, now you can’t complain about the long lines for security because look at what happened…” And that’s a really good point. Especially at airport security.

We need to keep in mind that at all times that anyone could be carrying a bomb. Please don’t take that the wrong way either: you don’t have to be paranoid about it. You just have to love thy neighbor. Be a good person and whenever lots of people get together from now on, better security measures are going to be absolutely necessary. I don’t want to beat around the bush here. We’re at war, people! Make it a part of our psyche. Ingrain that fact into our senses. Thousands of innocent Arabic children have been killed specifically by the bombs our military is dropping on them.

Just because the remote control drones aren’t letting those explosives go off on Western soil does not mean that it isn’t a part of who we are. Fundamentally, somehow we have disconnected ourselves from the reality that our own democratic governments have been constantly attacking the Middle East for sixteen years now. It has been a nonstop slaughter.

What kind of mental state does a person dive into when they are a resident of endless war? And I mean modern war—you know, with advertisements, the news, Hollywood movies, and smartphones. People who live in places like Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. It must be unbearable. They must live in constant fear. Constant stress. That amount of suffering is almost too much to comprehend. Oh, but that you say that those Arabic kids are just “Collateral Damage”—as in, civilians. That their death was a sacrifice we had to make to get the bad guys.

That’s the usual excuse that we give to parents every week: Sorry. Can’t help ya. Call the UN. But when the European and/or North American youth gets targeted, now this petty conflict has to stop, right?

Either a single person or a terrorist group committed this crime against humanity, and like I said: Anybody could have a bomb. We’re just not safe anymore. The military and the police can’t protect us or our children from attending events, taking the subway, going to concerts and going into office buildings. That’s a part of our culture. That’s how we live and socialize. We can’t just stop living because there are terrorists out there but what we can do is stop raiding villages, mountain ranges, and schools.

I understand that having troops on the ground for sixteen years is a lot to ask. My whole family is ex-military. I know exactly what happens to families when parents are sent away “on tour” for months—sometimes years—at a time: They fall apart. This war will never stop until we really start to look at ourselves for what we really are. Please tell me how a bunch of kids going to a concert in the UK is any different from a bunch of kids in Syria playing hop-scotch next to a truck full of terrorists? How can we differentiate the savagery?

There are whole generations of kids, on whole continents, who have nothing anymore. No future to strive for. No country to live in. Nowhere else to go. We have deliberately destroyed their ability to be peaceful. For the fight against terrorism, in this 21st-century arena, has not been without its rampant racism. We all know what I’m talking about here. Arabs and Muslims being targeted as the terrorists, or just nonchalantly throwing in the words “Islamic fundamentalist”—like that really makes any difference.

This issue is not about any race. It is not about any religion. Terrorists, extremists and radicals are the enemies. They could have any skin color. Be any gender. Any religion. Any nationality. Yet today, what happened directly to kids at a teeny-bopper concert: That’s what monsters do. I want to say that my heart really does go out to anybody that was affected by this attack. This was truly a tragedy, and I can’t help but feel so scared and alone whenever I think about what those kids had gone through. And how sad it really is, how all of this had to go down. I’m not going to point any fingers because the media is doing a good enough job doing that already.

I know that we all understand what I mean when I say: This is going too far and it’s getting out of hand. We’re all people. The exact same. Few terrorist attacks really grip everyone globally. With organizations like Al-Qaeda, Daesh[ISIS], Boko Haram, and so many others committing these crimes. Their only mission is to destroy peaceful society. Even though these groups are committing heinous crimes and they are claiming responsibility for some of the attacks—we have to remember that any single person has access to the internet and materials.

How easy is it to make a bomb? I’d say not that hard if you don’t have anything else to live for. There have been thousands of terrorist bombings over the last decade. Only a handful of them are infamous. It’s difficult and subjective to make a list of them. Many people have died all around the world because of bombings and they never made it into the news.

Here’s just a short list of these attacks, starting in 2001: New York City, Bali, Casablanca, Istanbul, Madrid, London, Beirut, Paris, Major attacks between Paris and Brussels, Brussels and now Manchester. There was also a day in 2015 when multiple bombings happened on the same day. This quote was taken from the article titled: Terrorist attacks: Why you care — and why sometimes you don’t. “On 26 June 2015 attacks occurred in France, Kuwait, Syria, Somalia, and Tunisia… The day of attacks has been dubbed ‘Bloody Friday’ or ‘Ramadan Attacks’ by the international media.”

Doesn’t this all just seem to be a blind, never-ending, ideological war? How can we even protect ourselves from an enemy that we can’t see? Will the people of the west just continue to sit and watch the news? When will reality smack them in the face? When their child finally dies as Collateral Damage? Is the term terrorist really just a pawn-term for having an agenda to have an infinite demand for military expenditures.

How else could we keep making a profit off of selling weapons and death to strangers? We can’t keep ignoring what’s happening. The people of the West have got to control the government again. We have to stand up for justice. We have made everybody the potential target, we watch T.V. shows about the War in Iraq, and now we are going to be afraid and hide when the war finally comes to us? How big of a world did you think this is? tnmlittle


Header credit: Nigel Roddis/EPA

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