After each terrorist attack, there is a social media and communication battle between factions of our societies that is disturbingly violent. On one side you can find those who advocate for new tougher and discriminating laws against the Muslim community, identifying them as responsible for an attack they shouldn’t even feel the need to apologize for as it is not their faults at all. On the other side, those who believe this cannot be solved in any way and that we have to keep enduring these horrors, and live with them.
Let us make something very clear: we can have the will to fight terrorists and yet not be a disturbingly racist individual, it’s called dignity. Whenever extremists attack us, we can see numerous people advocating violations of human rights, arguing that the terrorists do not grant us these rights, why should we? This kind of rhetoric translates the desire for revenge many of us may feel when something so terrible happens. But it is wrong on every level. Reacting like that would prove one thing and one thing only: that we are no better than them. Not only would we start discriminating people based on their religious beliefs, but we would also open wide the gates of hate, sending a clear signal to many that being an extremism is alright.
Whether you are a so called Islamic extremist or an alt-right extremist, you still are an extremist, and the only difference between the two is that you are convinced you should be violent while imposing your divergent views and opinions on others. The ideology of terrorism would be the same.
Do we really want to become an extremist society?
Do we really want to let the President of the United States commit war crimes like he advocated, when he said that we should kill the families of terrorists as well?
Do we really want to resort to torture, and to let our societies get more extreme?
This is exactly what the terrorists want. If we become more extreme, then our societies will be more polarized, causing gaps to widen between us all, based on our religious beliefs and the color of our skin, or even our sexual orientation. It will only give them more recruits to fight against us. We have to live these attacks like if it was a time of peace, and fight the terrorists like if it was war time.
In the meantime, the same people advocating a tougher and immoral not to mention illegal answer against communities in our societies, can spread their hate online. This has to be fought with every fiber of our beings, just like we fight the ideology carried by the Islamic State terrorist organization and its partners. According to these people, when a Neo-nazi drives a car into a crowd of pacifists, they deserved it. But when a jihadist does the same, it seems like the entire Muslim community should suffer for it. We understand how these extremists can speak so loudly and make so much noise, when the Donald Trump advocates as a great counterterrorism measure to shoot muslims with bullets dipped into pigs’ blood. In 2017. We are facing a true crisis of leadership that fuels hatred and extremism, on both sides.
And then you have those who believe we have to live with this situation. We have to get used to attacks, to the breaking news and the posts on Twitter and Facebook. Get used to these terrible pictures of families learning of the death of their loved one(s). Get used to the days of mourning, and to the coffins covered in our nations flags.
We don’t accept that.
We are resilient, and we'll probably suffer more losses, and we won’t give into this state of mind. We advocate for action, more tolerance, more dialogue. We believe expressing yourself and get challenged on your beliefs is the best weapon our societies have to defend what and who is dear to us. If we allow ourselves to be challenged on our opinions, we allow others to engage with us, and we open ourselves to their ideas, their opinions. If we do so, we open our minds and create more tolerance. All of this thanks to something we use every single day without even understand the extent of the power we hold with it: dialogue.
What happened in Spain and just recently in Finland is a tragedy. We have again lost incredible and innocent people to an ideology that goes against every single thing we stand for. We will keep fighting against ideologies that have no place in our societies.
We believe in our ability and our power to make the world a better place, because we believe in civil society when we come together as one. This is why we will defeat them, because we are stronger and more resilient than they could ever imagine, and we won’t let ourselves go down and bow down to their sick ideologies.
We are Stronger Together.