It’s a sad reality that I named this article as such, why must attacks occur anyway? Sure, the perpetrators have political or religious motives, but removing lives from others isn’t the way to portray that message. Yes, they get publicity, and yes they make a statement, but for all the wrong reasons. Rather than portraying their intended message, they create fear, they create racial tension, they create chaos and they create scarred lives for many.
This new attack, undertaken ironically on Friday the 13th 2015, is the second ‘terrorist’ attack of the year to happen to Paris. As of writing this, reports of 60 people are dead, over 100 hostages being taken and many have been injured.
So let’s try and turn this from a news report and onto a young persons perspective.
I’m now 17 years old and live in a world where terrorist attacks are not only expected, but anticipated. Terrorists are almost a normalized part of any society, more so now than ever. The post-9/11 world is a weird one, one of intense security, intense racism and intense fear. This past year alone, I’ve followed countless stories of terrorism; from the events of Charlie Hebdo to the beach attacks on Tunisia. Now this.
Terrorism is a weird concept for me, mainly because I’ve never personally experienced it (thankfully). What I struggle to understand is exactly why terrorists do what they do, especially when trying to portray a message such as that associated with the Hebdo attacks earlier this year. As mentioned above, yes it creates awareness and yes it creates a buzz, but it’s for all the wrong reasons. It’s the same as trying to teach a child something new; if you gently and encouragingly teach the child the new thing, they will remember it and adopt it. If you adopt violence and threatening behavior, you will scar the child and change their life. They won’t remember the story, but they’ll remember the abuse. This is what I think terrorism does, it creates a scar and makes the ‘message’ devoid of meaning.
As I type this, hearing of over 100 people held hostage, I cannot but feel such despair for those affected. Those who have sadly parted, those who battle with their lives, those scarred by the burning images and those still living the hell right now. My heart really goes out to them, but they need to know that, like the Hebdo attacks, like the Tunisian beach attacks and like the numerous ISIS murders, the world is with you.
As a 17 year old living comfortably in the United Kingdom, ‘safe’ from the threat of guns and generally from terrorism, it is a scary thought to think that other countries expect terrorism – even on a daily basis. Like racism and like domestic abuse and so many other crimes, I’m sure this issue will never go, but I hope it’s improved. I want the world for my children and theirs to be safe and enjoyable, one where the post-9/11 changes are beneficial for them and that they remember all those lost around the world to terrorism. I hope that events like this tonight are few and far between (none at all would be ideal, but we know that is impossible) and that the world unites to stand with those affected and against those who claim responsibility.
Here’s something very odd, but I feel it’s needed. If you’re a terrorist, or wish harm upon someone else, don’t do it. It seems a stupid thing to say, considering the main aim of terrorism is to incite terror, but your efforts won’t work. You will be forgotten, and those you harm will be remembered. Your message will hold no meaning in decades to come, and you will go down in history as a martyr for the damned, for the selfish and for the hopeless. Terrorism isn’t smart and you only make those you harm stronger.
Rest in peace to those lost, good luck to those held hostage, and speedy recovery to those injured. You won’t be forgotten, but the attackers will.
-Benjamin John Wareing