The World Was Always at War: From Beirut to Paris

The Paris attacks happened three days ago. In the span of that time the world was shocked, grieving, and now angry. Very angry.

The world is uniting once more under the banner “never forget.” Bombs are being dropped, intelligence is being gathered, and troops are being massed. All with the raging scream, “we will not forget.”

I’ll admit, I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I see the news and feel the pain. But I’ve been angry long before the Paris attacks. I was angry when a white boy prayed with a black church and murdered nine people. I was angry when I heard the stories of Garissa University and the gunmen who lined students up only to shoot them in the head. I was even angry back when the Islamic State was called the Islamic State of Iraq and knew friends who were shot in the streets.

I’ve been angry and frustrated for a long time.

The Paris attacks, as well as the Beirut bombings are a terrible tragedy. Innocent lives were brutally ended. I understand those who call for revenge and for the obliteration of those who caused this. I want to see every person who has committed atrocities tried for their crimes. But to only send bombs and troops to a place that is already destroyed by conflict and intervention is not only naive, it’s a disaster. That makes it seem like this is an anomaly committed by psychopaths for no reason other than it serves their global jihad. It’s just not the truth. It wasn’t an anomaly, it was inevitable.

The storm around Daesh has been raging for several years. It stems from colonial powers and grew during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. There’s a lot to this story and background but I don’t feel like writing about it right now. Let me know if you’d like to talk about it, I enjoy a good conversation. Essentially they are a product of their environment and grew through popular support and a vacuum of a failed state. Its ideology is based in security through extremism.

It’s no particularly unique story though. Each generation has had a conflict with similar roots. Some countries strong arm other countries. Some try to dominate them. It’s how states operate. This leads to repression in one way or another. The people in those countries don’t like it. They rebel. It goes back to the very beginning when one group of people tried to take resources from another group.

I think that’s what scares people the most. There is so much conflict and pain in the world that they want to be removed from it. Especially in the western world we want to believe this kind of violence doesn’t happen. Except it does happen, both domestic and foreign. There are mass shootings everyday and structural violence is just an everyday thing. We have built whole societies into fortresses from the rest of the world. We have had a huge part in creating the rest of the world. The western world has molded much the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and some of Asia. But it’s not possible to create barriers from the rest of the world while simultaneously using it. We are all connected in this world. Violence is a byproduct of how our societies are functioning. You can’t have the shining city upon a hill without keeping the floodgates at bay. We reap what we sow. We are linked to our actions.

I’m not saying this is a world engulfed in chaos and destruction. I’m also not saying that France deserved to have over 120 innocent people murdered or that the Beirut bombings are just the price of society.

What I am saying is that we should not be surprised that they happened. The world was always at war. France, the US, and the rest of the coalition have been on daily bombing campaigns. Whole armies are fighting in places from Yemen to Rwanda. There is racism and prejudice that kills scores every day. Poverty overthrows states. There is oppression in all corners of the world. Remember, two of the attackers were French.

My message is that violence does not cure violence. Extremism does not cure extremism. It creates it. It perpetuates it. If you want to stop another mass shooting you don’t call for extermination. You look at why it happened. You look at what drove someone to kill another human being in cold blood. No one comes out of the womb intent to end someone else’s life. To hold a pistol to their forehead and pull the trigger. They want exactly what you want; basic human dignity and a decent livelihood. That’s something not many people have anymore. If you want to stop Daesh stop their support. Improve their society.

That’s why I’m angry and frustrated.

“If you believe that the killing of innocent people is right, then you are not part of my future.” – King Abdullah II


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