In the last couple of days we have witnessed two major terror attacks which have shaken social media and were widely reported on by media outlets across the board. One in Beirut, where we witnessed the capital’s most lethal bombing since the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990 and where an estimated 44 were killed in two separate explosions. The first concealed in a parked motor bike and the second being a suicide bomber. The explosives were detonated in a predominately Shia suburb south of the capital. As well as killing over 40, the bombs injured hundreds putting emergency facilities on high alert and who had to put out a call to residents to donate blood. More than 200 people were wounded – many of them seriously, Health Minister Wael Abou Faour said when speaking to the BBC. These attacks rocked the country reigniting age old tensions between the various communities that cohabitant the region. Beirut was targeted due to there being a Hezbollah stronghold in the region, a controversial unit currently opposing ISIS and fighting them through out the middle east. Hezbollah vowed to continue its fight against “terrorists”, warning of a “long war” against its enemies.
The second attack came in Paris and happened between the late hours of November the 13th and now (14th) with attackers claiming the lives of 127 victims. It is still unclear and currently being reported on as I write but, what I can piece together is several gun men stormed Paris and took several hostages as well as opening fire into crowds. Reporters on the ground claimed they could see bodies in the streets and were unable to confirm whether they were dead or wounded. It was too dangerous for reporters to get any closer making reports slightly scattered and incoherent. From my understanding gun men held 100 music fans hostage in the Bataclan concert venue, 50 boulevard Voltaire in the 11th district. As police arrived on scene and began to approach, explosions could be heard, some outlets claiming attackers throw explosives at the hostages within the building. It should come to no surprise who the group claiming to be behind the attacks is. Yes, you guessed it, ISIS/ISIL (Islamic State), the death cult currently rampaging throughout the middle east and today’s bogeyman for the western world to fight. Saying this, the outlets I had been following when writing, could not independently confirm this. However, with a little bit of research, what we do know is that ISIS supporters and possible members (as we know their soldiers use media for online promotion and social engineering), took to twitter praising the attacks under the # ParisIsBurning (some refered to these men as ‘lone wolves’ suggesting this may of not be a commanded attack). This attack comes straight after western politicians were celebrating the death of Emwazi Muhammad (“jihadi John”) a former UK citizen turned extremist who left to join ISIS in 2013. This odd ceremony of rejoicing in the death of a young man (despite his crimes), seemed very much as a quick fix, knee jerk response to reinforce the ideology that we have moral superiority over “The Savages”. The irony being that it is this same self righteous neo-liberal delusion that created the very thing we are praising the destruction of.
Stating the obvious, these attacks were senseless, barbaric and inhuman but, I think it is important that we remember that these tragic events are a clear symptom of the masquerade that is ‘The War on Terror’ and our NATO actions within the middle east. Our current military actions abroad are directly linked to this new wave of fundamentalism. British media report that the attackers in the Paris had shouted “it’s for Syria”, before murdering the people within the music hall. Syria is currently being torn apart, not only by a bloody civil war between its brutal regime and various factions but, by our NATO allies US and Russia, who have been fighting over the land and bombing the nation in a pseudo-proxy war backed by a western coalition of military power. It is the constant destabilization that western powers insist on instilling that is breeding such creatures like ISIS. Yet, which is equally damaging is our justification and mantra that accompany our war-mongering in Islamic countries. I’m sure we will have plenty of political leaders who will come out and have various scripted speeches on the horrors of this event, but few who will address the neo-colonial ideals that led us here. It is this very denial & western exceptionalism, that has given birth to the misapprehension that our instigation of war surpasses ethical or moral judgement. Believing our conflicts are right and justified only reinforces the anti-muslim/Arab rhetoric that has been stemming out Europe since the early 2000’s. This stigma attached to Muslim and Islam itself is born out of ignorance and engrained fear of the “other”. I could poetically put it that terrorism has no religion however, I don think this justifies my point. Most of those killed by ISIS and most of those fighting ISIS are Muslims. Lebanon is 54% Muslim and 8 million Muslims live in France, each one a citizen.
“Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way, stop participating in it” – Noam Chomsky