I was shocked and disturbed to hear about the shootings and bombings on Friday evening in France. However after the initial surprise, I had a long and critical thought about terrorism and Europe’s response. France in particular, had been combating terrorism long before 9/11 hit our soil. Dishearteningly, they have also been combating the issue of their citizens defecting to other countries to train in Jihadist movements for many years.
Nearly fifteen years ago, President Bush said that if we didn’t fight in their backyard, soon we would be too afraid to shop at our local farmers’ market or dine at our favorite cafe or bar for fear of terrorism.
I believe that was the sentiment on Friday evening across the globe. Well, at least the Western-half of the globe, as this is an everyday fear in many Middle Eastern and African countries.
Counter-terrorism is an interest of mine and what I contemplated doing postgraduate research; but the truth is, there is no easy answer on how to “combat terrorism”. In fact, there is no way to combat terrorism. You monitor and wait, and monitor and wait, until hopefully you get a lead and are able to foil a plan. But that takes a lot of man power…a lot of time to sift through so much intelligence.
For France, their problem is much deeper– especially for Muslims that live in France. More will need to be done (domestically) to prevent home-grown terrorism as well as combat it abroad. This is new territory for everyone, so there is no “proven solution” yet, only painstaking trials and errors. However, I feel that the answer lies outside their Comité Interministériel de Lutte Anti-Terroriste and more within their education, economic development, and social welfare departments.
I know everyone is painting their profiles red, white, and blue in solidarity with the French. Kudos to you, I’m not knocking it.
I used #Pray4Paris on my feeds too.
But tonight, I keep thinking about the other victims of terrorism in cities surrounded by the sands, living on streets –whose names are just “too foreign” to pronounce, or those who died in the schools that didn’t have running water or electricity.
I’ll pray for peace tonight, and tomorrow I’ll act for peace.
Read the latest here about the ongoing search for suspects.