You know, I spent the first half of my life being told by the media that my life was at risk from terrorists? There were IRA bombings all over the news, yet Unionist actions were played down or just unreported. Rubbish bins were removed from railway stations just in case anyone thought that bombing Knebworth would lead to Irish reunification. Any Ulster accent on the news was always shown to be aggressive and militaristic, yet I knew this was untrue because my Grandfather, my aunts and uncles, all had that same accent and they were gentle, peaceful people.
Now Muslims are the media’s favourite bogeymen. I grew up under the threat of ‘Christian’ Terrorists, now we live under a threat of ‘Islamic’ Terrorists. Terrorism has no borders, no nation and no faith, but it uses faith and fear to recruit. It turns people against their neighbours, sows mistrust and fuels the fire of xenophobia. It turns people against those it would seek to recruit, so that they may see an extreme ideology as an answer to their oppression.
If we turn against those that this small group of extremists want to recruit then we do their job for them. We become the recruiting tools of terrorism. They cease needing to drag people into their clutches because we will push them that way.
If we turn our backs on those fleeing from these people, then we lose our humanity and our sense of human decency. If we cannot look at someone in a different outfit, or with a different skin colour and not feel afraid of them, then that Terror that we are supposed to be fighting against has won.
The goal of terrorism is to sow terror and right now they are winning, with our political right and our media helping the process along.
I have been so proud of all my friends who have reacted to the events in Paris with compassion and decency, with a strong sense of charity and friendship to all who have, and are suffering. I am also proud of how many friends have taken the time to speak out in the perspective of a broader view of the situation and declare their support for the 99.9999% of Muslims who aren’t trying to kill you, but are going to cop a load of shit over this regardless.
Conversely, I have been appalled at the reactions of some, calling for the closing of our borders to those most in need of food and shelter; those who suffer at the same hands of our enemy. If you are urged to draw your curtains, climb under your bed and shit yourself every time there is a loud noise outside, that is down to you, but to try and bargain away the lives of the innocent just so you can sleep a little easier at night makes you the worst kind of coward; a despicable, insidious traitor to all the values that we pride ourselves as possessing. I do not care if you are an acquaintance, friend, family member or stranger, you bring shame upon us all, and you dishonour the innocent dead and wounded by hijacking their suffering to reinforce your prejudices.
Standing defiant defeats terrorism, not caving into its goals.