Thoughts on Paris

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I will admit that I have never gone to Paris, however, with recent events, I have decided to pay homage to the City of Lights and the solidarity we have seen expressed in the past few days from Parisians and people from around the globe. Warning: This is not a travel blog, rather a disgruntled individual’s account of the aftermath of the attacks on Paris.

Throughout this blog post  I emphasize greatly for citizens to heed the following warning: xenophobic reactions towards the refugees will only benefit ISIS and help entrench their rationale of the western “imperialist” nations attempting to suppress their religion and Muslims alike. Therefore, not accepting refugees only aides ISIS in their quest for global dominance. The refugees whom do survive the perilous journey are afraid of the uncertainty of their condition as well as feeling overwhelming gratitude and happiness to have left the war behind them. Furthermore, imagine leaving your house, family members, and friends behind, or  being separated from them, not knowing where they are and whether they are safe, ask yourself how would you feel? The biggest cop out is to blame refugees for the problems of today and it grinds my gears having to read how negatively people have reacted to them in the United States and Europe. When will we learn that blaming entire groups of people for the actions of one group (and/or individual) is detrimental to all of us? This kind of rationale has been used by dictators to exclude and isolate minorities, fuel resentment, and in the worst case scenario to justify genocide. Hence, instead of excluding people we should be working twice as hard to integrate them in all aspects of the political, economic, social, and cultural spheres, while respecting their universal rights.

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Lastly,  what I have noticed is that world leaders have failed to recognize how effective of a narrative terrorist groups such as ISIS have. When appealing to youth they provide them with the assurance of “belonging” and “bonding” with fellow members, apart from classifying them in career areas they would potentially excel in. In the words of Dr.Scott Atran, ISIS’s key strategy is “finding, creating, and managing chaos.” He goes on to argue that the “Management of Savagery” is their political-military guide as Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and Carl von Clausewitz’s “On War” are to western nations, with the exception of the ‘you’re either with us or against us’ approach; there was leeway and flexibility allowed for the creation of alliances and no themes of global dominance and striking terror in all nations against all peoples whom do not follow our ideals. I have digressed from the topic at hand; ISIS’s strategy  promotes the creation of chaos, instability, baiting the western nations to commit to a full-scale war, and harnesses the power and vulnerability of the youth population. In their manifesto youth are key. Here we have an organization promoting peace, security, glory, and self-sacrifice – the ability to have an impact and influence policy in a glorious manner, and all they have to do is join the organization, where they will be welcomed and given employment as well as partnered with a spouse. What a fantastical narrative! And we wonder why so many youth are radicalized and travel to fight for ISIS. What is the narrative to counter ISIS? Unfortunately, it does not exist. Therefore, in order to prevent more youth being radicalized, what is needed to provide for them is the opposing narrative; a reason to fight against ISIS and promote the universal freedoms bestowed upon us as well as emphasizing the need for integration and solidarity with ALL peoples from ALL corners of the Earth. Give youth something to look forward to, something worth valuing and fighting for and then will we see the young demographics rising up against ISIS and refusing to be martyrs for their cause.

Lastly, since Paris has been in the media for the past few days, I would like to also note that the day before there was a deadly terrorist attack in Beirut killing more than 45 individuals, as well as the Russian plane that was brought down by a bomb killing everyone on the plane, more than 220 people. Let’s not forget that many nations have been struck by terrorism and we should stand in defiance with all of these nations and show them our support, rather than valuing one nation over another. Let’s stand up in solidarity with all of these nations and their peoples.