I saw yet another politician in the past week state that attacks on the West are because Daesh/Al-Qaeda and other suchlike groups are deeply envious of Western ways of life.
I really roll my eyes when I see this sort of smug, self-satisfied, superficial and silly comment which is trying to pander to a domestic audience with superficial platitudes.
Because in essence it’s dangerous and misleading.
It totally ignores the real reasons behind terrorist attacks in Britain, the US and Europe which is that people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and so on are fed up to the back teeth with getting the shit bombed out them and, when ordinary people get blown apart or their homes destroyed, hearing that they are “collateral damage”.
When that happens, is it any wonder that people get radicalised and want to retaliate? Don’t we in the West start spouting “search and destroy” when atrocities happen?
And no, I’m not condoning mass murders wherever they occur. I am suggesting that, until we start to try to understand the roots of the massacres which are happening so often in so many European cities, those bombings and shootings will continue.
Look at the situation last week. In Munich, nine people were shot to death. The papers are full of outrage about these murders.
Yes, they are terrible. But what we are suffering in the West is nothing like the slaughter happening in other countries.
At the same time as the mainstream media in the West were filling page upon page with photos and comment about the Munich deaths, 80 Shia Muslims were killed by a Daesh suicide bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan. Muslim deaths merited small mention in the media, perhaps the odd paragraph in the international news section, reinforcing to those alienated by Western interference in their countries that Western lives matter a whole lot more than those who are dying in far great numbers due to the catastrophe unleashed by the illegal invasion of Iraq.
I know it’s hard to know what to do when the world looks in chaos. But it does seem to me that we ordinary folk, people on the street, can take small steps to build solidarity with our friends in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia by posting our sympathy and regrets on social media when atrocities happen in their nation to let them know that we stand in solidarity with them, they are not forgotten.
We need to stop automatically rushing to judgement and blaming Muslims for attacks by organisations like Daesh because they don’t represent Islam. In much the same way as we don’t blame all Christians for the actions of Blair and Bush who claim to be Christians and whose actions have led to the deaths of tens of thousands. We can support organisations which are helping shattered communities rebuild their lives. Or give a helping hand to refugees and asylum seekers – make sure your know the facts and stand up to those who try to spread ignorance, racism and hatred towards people driven out of their homeland by war, poverty, drought, repression, and so on.
And of course, we need to oppose war and fight for peace at every opportunity. Each of us, as individuals, needs to step up to the plate to take responsibility for what happens in our world. You can join organisations like AVAAZ, SumOfUs, Amnesty International, make donations to help causes which offer support for refugees and asylum seekers, support anti-war organisations, let politicians know what you feel and ensure they in turn know their actions are being monitored out in the community.
When we stand silent, we support the status quo and that status quo is in the process of falling apart.
When we speak up, we can make a difference to that status quo and contribute to a world where every life matters.