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What Needs To Be Acknowledged About Terrorism

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A good way to estimate how many times a news cycle has repeated itself is gauging how self-aware its accompanying online response has become. Whether through a developing meme culture, stale talking points or even online parody accounts milking the incident for attention, terrorist attacks and the online response to them are not unknown to many by now.

The online response to recent attacks in France, Britain or the U.S. — skipping through, interestingly enough, countries where multiple-death attacks are glossed over in most media — has devolved into a parody of itself, with trolls sarcastically posting “Religion of Peace”, “This has nothing to do with Islam”, or “[Insert Politician Name] wants to open us to MORE immigration!” Often, one can see soberer social media users calling for patience, tolerance, and unity in wait for more details. Chances are these people too have a sinking feeling in their hearts, already anticipating the confirmation that the most recent event in question was indeed one of terror.  

The vast majority of those reacting on Twitter can agree on one thing: the attacks are tragic. The innocents involved did not deserve to die. That is where the two parties diverge in thought, with the one on the offensive and the other on the defensive.

Unsurprisingly to the cynics of social media and, well, Muslims, this offensive is on, yes, Muslims. Recent refugees, immigrants or citizens since birth, the offensive after every attack goes after all of them. Hashtags such as #BanIslam and #IslamIsTheProblem see spikes in use and activity. No one is spared of seeing at least one erratic call for action against a community already terrorized by their neighbours. 

There are also, of course, the token politician tweets that ooze with alarm and compassion. Justin Trudeau sent his best on behalf of Canadians. Trump did too, only after politicizing the attack by pushing his xenophobic ban. That’s another thing that oozes out of these attacks like cyst: fear. Not to say that fear shouldn’t be a reaction. It’s a perfectly rational, logical and just reaction. This being said, the fear could not be more tragically misdirected. While it’s been repeated often, it needs further repetition after the June 3 attacks in London: the vast majority of Muslims don’t share the ideology of those who commit these acts. The vast majority of Muslims are unfortunately being mischaracterized because of the actions of the few. 

We fail to realize that the ideology pushing these attacks resulting in dozens of innocent deaths has to come from somewhere. It springs from a sick, twisted, repressed, backward ideology. An ideology can’t ever be killed — as a resurgence of neo-nazism onto the mainstream has proved — but it can be crippled into irrelevance. With most of the Western powers bombing ISIS and supporting offensives against them on the ground, the ideology shouldn’t be in existence anymore. Yet it is. Like anything in this world, it survives on money. Money for weapons and media: to fight and to spread their message. Saudi Arabia, coincidentally, has both an obscene abundance of money and is ruled by the same ideology. Saudi Arabia has also been aptly described as “a Daesh that has made it.”

After every recent terrorist attack, a strange, bitter taste is left in the mouth of those who know more than their governments would like them to; that of hypocrisy. The hypocrisy of those politicians sending their thoughts and prayers for the victims of a Wahhabist terrorism while almost simultaneously cooperating with its sources. The hypocrisy of Donald Trump denouncing the terrorist attacks of Manchester and London days after meeting with the theocratic, despotic, terrorism-sponsoring Saudi monarchy and dozens of its officials and selling them 110 billion dollars worth of weapons. The hypocrisy of Justin Trudeau condemning these attacks knowing full well his government approved another multi-billion dollar arms to the Saudis deal negotiated under the Harper government. The hypocrisy of Theresa May slandering Corbyn with accusations of terrorist sympathy and collaboration, while she aided Saudi bombing of Yemen, a country on the brink of a full-on starvation.

Besides the public torture and execution of homosexuals, atheists, political activists, religious minorities, and a systematic repression of women, Saudi Arabia also boasts funding of extremists groups on terrorism watch lists. Let alone that the two worst humanitarian catastrophes in the Middle East, Syria and Yemen, are being exacerbated by Saudi Arabia’s block of similar-minded nations and their Western backers. Whether it be the funding of groups on the ground, the recycling of jihadist fighters by facilitation of movement or the pursuit of regime changes that destabilize any opposition to the Saudi monarchy, the governments scrambling to mitigate the damage of these terrible attacks have the blood of their own civilians on their hands.

Mourn the innocent victims, their families, and their communities. Have no sympathetic thought for Theresa May or any western leader, for they tried playing a scorpion as a card and were surprised when it stung their hand.

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Pablo Mhanna
Written By

Pablo is a 17-year-old high school student from Ottawa, Canada. Passionate about international affairs and Canadian politics, he spends his free time reading, writing and commenting Canadian foreign policy.

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