We stand in bafflement as the death toll increments. What shocks me, and as I’m sure a lot of you, is not just the sheer count of unfortunate victims, but also how, almost effortlessly, a coordinated terrorist attack took place in the most unlikeliest of places. And the latter does put things into perspective – especially for those who feel safe under an umbrella free of imminent danger.
I shall not be recounting everything as it happened (everything you are already aware of). Rather, I simply wish to give my two cents on a catastrophe that demands it.
Let’s start with the cause. It is very easy for our ‘confirmation bias’ to lead many of us to believe this act had no real incentive, and that this was a mere mockery of an act. But people don’t blow themselves up for fun. As quoted by The Economist, “In a statement, the group said it had carried out the “blessed attacks” in retaliation for France’s involvement in allied air strikes against IS.” It is the gruesome equivalent of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ so to speak.
Are their acts any less horrific now? Absolutely not. But we can draw a few conclusions from this. First, with Farncois Hollande, the French President, declaring a merciless response to the attack, I can only imagine the likelihood of a merciless counter-response from the barbarians. Second, if retaliation was the true basis for these attacks, then these attacks were not motivated by religion. The IS uses religion as deceptive cover to hide their true motives and to justify malfeasance. Religion is also used to disillusion the vulnerable into committing heinous acts. It is, in a sense, a weapon of war. The IS does not promote Islam; they promote fear.
But why do so many people still associate it with Islam?
That’s because the IS’ extremist ideologies have been derived from Sunni Islam. But they have been derived as misguided interpretations that only feed a despicable political agenda.
Why not any other religion though? Why does it always have to be derived from Islam? Why are all terrorists muslim? Shouldn’t that be indicative of a problem with the religion? Why is Islam so susceptible to producing terrorists?
This is because of the focusing illusion! Most terrorist attacks aren’t even conducted by people who claim to be Muslims! The other attacks simply receive less spotlight. Allow research to do the talking. Quoting The Daily Beast, “In 2013, there were 152 terror attacks in Europe. Only two of them were “religiously motivated,” while 84 were predicated upon ethno-nationalist or separatist beliefs.” You can find countless such reports that support this.
And, just for further clarification, let’s reverse the roles now. What about the victims of these “Islamic” terror attacks. Non-Muslims…right? Wrong!
Erin Miller, a member of Global Terrorism Database (GTD), points out that between 2004 and 2013 about half of all terrorist attacks, and 60% of fatalities due to terrorist attacks, took place in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – all of which have a mostly Muslim population.
Coming to the people who cite the incident in Paris to be insignificant to those happening in Gaza, Syria and so on. Yes, the events happening in Gaza and Syria are just as horrific. But the reason why Paris has received so much media attention is because terrorist attacks are not as commonplace there. This incident reflects how terrorism is now a truly universal concept.
So now I come to the conclusion of all this. What’s in store next?
Whatever France or anyone fighting the IS does henceforth, the IS will stop at nothing to fulfill its prime mission – to create an Islamic Empire through brute and violence. So invariably, the fight against IS will continue.
France will now put the influx of refugees under a blanket of heavy scrutiny to preclude any kind of risk. The morality of the former decision will matter less to France than its own national security. I fear a domino effect will take place with every European country following France’s example with the same motive. I doubt France will double up on its already robust security. Because it’s not the man power that matters, it is the timely response, and you cannot ensure a timely response for all nooks and crannies in a city that is so expansive.
I don’t have a clear idea on what will happen next. But as long as we stand in solidarity against a common enemy, the sacrifices that have been made will bloom into a brighter future.
My condolences to the families of the innocent victims.