Since the tragedy in Paris I’ve been feeling three emotions: sadness, warmth and confusion. I’m saddened by what has happened and events proceeding it in the Islamic world. I’m uplifted by people’s immediate responses and shows of support for those caught up in the terror in Paris. I’m confused by the knee-jerk reactions of people on social media to how to deal with the events.
I urge those reacting, angry people to find out: what is terrorism?
To save them googling, this is the Internet definition of terrorism: the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.
Here are ten not-so-weird thoughts that have come to my mind this weekend:
- Anyone can be a terrorist (the top ten of terrorists of all time include an Italian, a Belgian, Genghis Khan, a Ugandan, an Iraqian, Mao Tse Tung and a German – no guesses who that was).
- Terrorism is not limited to any single race, religion and ethnicity, it is part of what makes us human (however much we don’t want it to be a part of us).
- Two wrongs do not make a right.
- Anger cannot be defeated with anger.
- Hatred cannot be stamped out with hatred.
- Not all Muslims are Islamic Terrorists, in fact hardly any of them are, just as not all Irish Catholics were IRA Terrorists.
- Syrian Refugees are not terrorists. They are fleeing from terror.
- Closing borders will make no difference to the ability of terrorists to strike. If someone wants to blow themselves up, they will find a way. Chances are they will be already living in the place they want to blow up and they may even have been born there.
- Refugees need our help more than ever now. See seventh point above.
- The best way to deal with terrorist attacks is to stay optimistic and help those that need help and be alert yet positive, not negative.
People the world over have used terrorism to try to further their aims and beliefs: Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Any human can become a terrorist. All terrorists start off as cute babies. It has been argued that it is innate in human nature (of course we don’t all terrorists and the vast majority won’t).
The opposite to extremism isn’t the other extremism. Please be nice, people. Don’t let emotions rule over common sense. Don’t stoop to their level. Rise above.