Facing Terror with Defiance

I don’t usually publicly comment on news and politics as it just causes arguments but this is something that I felt the need to share. All the terrorist attacks recently have left me astonished, shocked and honestly quite scared. But as I sat watching the news in tears and wondering what if anything could do about it I realised that my fear is exactly what they want. Manchester is where I grew up; where I went out clubbing, met boys, spent my wages as soon as I got them and experienced so many things for the first time. I don’t have a great love for the city and only visit now to see people, but it still tore a piece of my heart when it was attacked if not only because there are so many people I love that call it home. Yet it is the resilience and out pouring of love from the people of Manchester that reminded me what it is I can do.

Fight hate with love

Daesh (or ISIS) want to fill the world with hate. To turn societies and communities against each other through fear, racism and anger. By attacking western cities they incite (a justifiable) anger and an inbuilt human need for justice. Would the world be a better place without Daesh? Of course! Is bombing the countries in which they have a stronghold or sending in troops the answer? On reflection, probably not.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t think peace talks or trying to reason with them is the answer; in fact I believe that would be impossible. My knee jerk reaction is that these militants need to go, but every increase in fighting only causes more pain and suffering for the everyday people living in the area they have taken over. After years of living on the breadline in fear for your life because of bombs and fighting it’s only natural that a resentment would build. That is what gives them their foothold to turn people to their cause. It recruits for them and furthers their belief that their war is justified – we are playing into their hands.

“ISIS believes that Muslims have no place in a Western society, and that the two worlds can’t coexist. They will be heartened by every sign of overreaction, of division, of fear, of racism, of xenophobia; they will be drawn to any examples of ugliness on social media.”

I don’t believe that by showing love to everyone we will overcome their threat. Common sense is still required – vet people, ask questions and report suspicions. More and more people are ‘home grown’ militants and we need to be vigilant and protect ourselves from the war they are waging, but in the same vein a blanket reaction of suspicion and hatred won’t work either. Thankfully, in the wake of the most recent atrocities I have seen more cohesion and love between the different cultures in the UK and less division and racism which has been heartening. Manchester’s One Love concert showed how strong we can be together when we choose love – something which is easy to forget in the heat of the moment.

Daesh not ISIS

Still there is one thing that continues to irritate me – popular media still uses the phrase ISIS. There are many reasons for it which I won’t go into. Rather than building them up and giving them legitimacy by using their name for themselves why not use a phrase they hate – daesh?

Daesh is an acronym for the Arabic phrase al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham, which means Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Militants do not like this word, because it’s similar to Arabic word Daes – which refers to ‘one who crushes something underfoot’.

It also resembles the word Dahes, which translates to ‘one who sows discord’.

It is seen as a refusal to see their beliefs as a legitimate Islamic practice, which of course it isn’t. I haven’t studied the Quran but from what I do know it teaches peace and love. Every religion has their own brand of fanatics that twist the scripture to suit their needs and this is all they are.

I can’t do much to fight terrorism but I can offer love and support to fellow humans and refer to these brainwashed individuals in a way that they despise.

Image Credit: BuzzFeedNews

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