Hundreds of people murdered or injured while practising their faith. Thousands lost a loved one. Millions affected.
My immediate response is resonant to a couple of weeks ago in Christchurch. Horrified and Devastated.
Helpless victims. On a day of great joy and hope, that was brutally robbed from those people.
It raises the question once again, how can we respond rationally to an utterly irrational circumstance? There is nothing rational about blowing yourself up in front of peaceful, helpless victims practising their religion. Yet, the act demands a response from us; otherwise, nothing changes.
The attack continues an alarming trend playing out within the world:
The freedom and right to worship peacefully. Whether Muslim, Christian or any other religion, the terror against religion is increasing rapidly, with detrimental effects.
Christchurch: 50 religious people murdered at the hands of a terrorist
Nigeria: 280 religious people murdered in February and March, including women and children
Sri Lanka: At least 200 religious people murdered and at least 400 injured
Why are these attacks happening?
Simply, the answer is POWER. In each situation, we see a group of people (terrorists) targeting and using a minority as a scapegoat for issues happening in each country respectively. Sometimes they aren’t even issues in their country, but the feeling of suppression giving rise to blaming another section of society. Moreover, these groups contain beliefs consistent with many people within their nation, aiding their pursuit of power.
In Christchurch, the terrorist targeted the Muslim community as the reason for decreased security
In Nigeria, Christians have the power of difference. Driven by power, terrorist groups target the Christian communities to extend their power and control
And now in Sri Lanka, the Christian community, a minority within the nation and used as a scapegoat.
Because that’s what’s easy.
COWARDICE is easy.
There is no guarantee that similar attacks won’t happen again. In fact, it is highly likely that another attack could occur. The irrational, impulsive, random nature of these events makes them almost impossible to defend. Counter-terrorism is vital through the possibility of stopping a few situations in the planning process, but often it is impossible.
Another interesting trend after these attacks is a headline often stating:
“Officials new of impending attack 10 days prior.”
I don’t know why officials don’t try to step in earlier if they know that an attack could occur any minute. Is it ignorance? Maybe in some cases, it is. I think in other situations it is impossible to prevent. Officials may be aware that a suicide bomber attack could take place within the next week, but, “where?”, “who?”, why?”, are questions difficult to answer in preventing random attacks.
The media too falls into the trap of blaming others for these attacks. Trying to blame a specific group, the government or agency in the times after the attack instead of focusing on the victims and their families.
So, what should our response be?
UNDERSTANDING and UNITY
Understanding of the situation. Understanding why these attacks occur and what the goal of the terrorists are. Understanding of the trauma faced by victims, families and supporting them.
Unity as a group of people. It is in times like this that we MUST join together. We must condemn these actions and speak against their motives.
Theresa May stated, “we must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear”. A message so pertinent after these attacks. Unity deprives the terrorist’s goal of fear, because through combining together we stand firm, not fearfully.
Through understanding and unity, we find the terrorists Achilles heel.
Cowards target minorities and utilise them as a scapegoat for the reasons they feel suppressed.
But if we join together, we become a majority. We deprive the terrorists of their greatest weapon and slowly strangle their control.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby stated, “Let us stand with the people of Sri Lanka in prayer, condolence and solidarity as we reject all violence, all hatred and all division”.
Through understanding and unity, we can have a rational response to an irrational attack.
For together, we do not fear.