On Being a Witness of the Paris Attacks

This generation is composed of some people who support peace movements not for restoration of faith in humanity but to make their online lives appear more humane in a less purposeful intent.

The world was shook after ISIS claimed terrorist attack toppled over the loveliest city in the world that is Paris and BBC, CNN and ANC supplied the rest of the globe information regarding the number of lives lost and injured during the Paris attacks. And suddenly people started typing #prayforparis and using the Safety Check Facebook feature activated for Parisians. However, non European residents began checking on this feature as if it is not redundancy since they are located everywhere BUT Paris.

Yes, we are worried. Yes, we want justice for them and yes, this heightens the already existing terror Iran spurred in us that violence is indeed transcending borders and overcoming geographical boundaries; that ruthlessness is seated within each our very own citizenry, that it is like a bomb that is just waiting to go off anytime. But are our intent genuine? Or are we just riding into the Paris attacks’ popularity just to tell the world that we are concerned? But what is sure is this: there is NOT one responsible group behind all the attacks worldwide because if we think smart enough, TERRORISM has NO race, NO religion and NO conditions because violence is not part of any religious doctrines and is also not imprinted in our DNA. Outrage that resulted in more than the Paris attacks is the product of definitive upbringing that we are unequals and only by force equality can be achieved — which, of course, is a twisted reasoning.

The Paris attacks brought forth people in power who can actually change the world and clean it and it also allowed the resurfacing of peoples who suddenly became experts who seemingly achieved Political Degrees overnight. It has also highlighted some individuals who stand for something without seeing the hypocrisy in their actions.

First, we saw rainbows in Facebook DPs in support of same sex marriage but some people who used that feature said they are against it, then we were talking about the Starbucks cup. People hated that it didn’t have Christmas design, that it is so unreligious, but they are OK with its logo containing a Pagan deity. Now, we see people lighting up to show support amidst Paris attacks but then they continue their early Christmas shopping, they post smiling or laughing photos on Instagram. They live their lives. Of course, we cannot mourn for them and there is not much we can do. Lighting up makes Parisians stronger knowing that the other side of the world is with them but then what is next? We are seeing teenagers who color their DPs but speak ill of their own country, who shout at their own parents, who misuse tools to portray seemingly perfect life. But what we can do is to rid this story of pseudo concern.

The Paris attacks is not an opportunity for some individuals to show off their rhetoric abilities nor it is a chance for people to put forth their political agenda. The Paris attacks is a wake up call for us to do more than post about our problems online, do more than talk about it in cyber space and most importantly do more than create stereotypes and misjudgements.

Europeans are not just the people hurt during the Paris attacks but so are our Muslim friends all over the world. Why is it that when there is terrorism, some of us equate it with Muslim beliefs? Are we sure that there is zero Muslim casualty? Maybe it is true that some terrorists can be Muslims, that has the same degree of probability that some other terrorists are Catholics, Buddhists or members of any other religious affiliation. Not all Muslims are terrorists similarly not all Christians practice true Christianity. Humanity has flaws and one of the oldest issues resurfaced by the Paris attacks is humanity’s practice of classifying people according to dominance.

Being a witness of the Paris attacks therefore does not solely mean seeing the physical chaos and destruction but is also tantamount to witnessing lives being shattered; that is children losing their interest in pursuing their dreams because the world gets cruel every time, women fearing the safety of their femininity because the system of the Phallus no longer stays as concept acting as an invisible force that dictates this world as man-friendly but is already taken into life in the negative forms of domestic abuse and forced labour. It is some sectors being stigmatised. It is also families worrying about food the next day or how to make it through winter’s cold. It is simply hope fading and nations falling apart. It is the idea of a country being powerless in uniting people and creating a sense of home. Basically, it is human losing the very nature by which makes us human: genuine love and wisdom.

And if being a supporter of peace ends when you finally changed your picture’s color, when you finally had hundreds of likes and when you tweet and retweet and trend #prayforparis, then we have forgotten how to be humane at all.

We make #prayforparis trend worldwide but in all honesty do we even pray for ourselves… or do we even pray at all? We are at the state of war and during these times do we have to choose who to fight for? Do we have to turn blind if a nation is not a Super Power? Do we act vengeful towards hostility? Do we spark anger and fuel it to churn out war? Do we connive and plan to annihilate a race or a faction? What do we do? What shall we do? Do we turn to our existing demons instead of weakening them? If we think that we must pay a tooth for a tooth, do we become the hero or a different type of villain?

If dominant doctrines are taught correctly and are absorbed by us, we would not be worrying about profanity anymore because regardless of what we believe in, we are all taught to find and champion peace. However, the world is at the moment when we can no longer bring balance to it. It is already filled with people too hungry for power and too greedy for money and at the verge of stealing, we hold onto our instincts which is to fight for what is ours. But then, instead of fully caring for the world, we only select what we want to see and we take sides through misguided unions. We #prayforparis but we do not care about Iran, Beirut, Kenya, Japan, Philippines and Lebanon. We temporarily carry the Parisian flag in our webpages but how about the rest of the world’s where poverty is eating off the flesh of the young and immorality gets the better of everyone?

Why is it we only we pray when we are at peril? Is it not righteous that prayer becomes so common that we no longer need to advocate for it? Do we hate people only because we think they carry the sin of their neighbours?

Now, we go back to a statement we all read but we need more to understand: terrorism is not a function of a denomination for religion does not incite rebellion and peace cannot be carried by the flags that only represent us.

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