Terrorism is something we have become accustomed to since September 11, 2001. The war on terror has been going on for the majority of our lives with no end in sight. This war is unlike any we have seen before. We fight terrorist groups rather than nations, and it becomes difficult to distinguish innocent people from those in terrorist organizations like ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda. This is their greatest advantage, as they are able to operate discretely in independent facets, posed as peaceful members of the Islamic community.
These groups have three goals in respect to Americans. First, to kill. Not just the military or government but individuals. The second is to destroy everything America stands for – our ideals, way of life and freedom. The final goal is to incite fear. This last one has debatably been accomplished.
The attack on Paris was a reminder of the people we are dealing with. In videos of the attacks, you see frightened people dragging their injured friends through the streets and people hanging from balconies to avoid detection. The videos show what these groups are capable of and it is truly terrifying.
After the attack on November 13, the death toll hit 130 with more wounded. The attacks were a series of shootings as well as a bombing at a soccer game. A statement by ISIS says, “Let France and those who walk in its path know that they will remain on the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State.” There are many other attacks that have been claimed by ISIS, such as the recent crash of a Russian airliner, according to the New York Times.This is clearly an act of war on freedom.
ISIS may be fixed on ending western civilization, but much like the NAZI party, they want every person to follow orders under penalty of death. According to the New York Times, an estimated 200,000 Syrian citizens have been killed in the past four and a half years, with around four million refugees fleeing the country. The terror they inflict on their own people pales in comparison to the terror they inflict on other countries. To see the horrors taking place in Syria, search ISIS on YouTube and you will see people digging their own graves as they are shot in the back. There is even a video where they show ISIS members gunning down children with the sound of gunfire and screams of “Allahu Akbar” in the background.
These terrorists have demonstrated their capabilities to infiltrate a country’s defenses and to bring fear to the ordinary lives of citizens. We know they will try again–not necessarily in Paris, but maybe New York, London or anywhere that supports ideas like religious freedom, women’s rights or goes against their radical views of Sharia Law.
When reading this you might think, what is the point of this article, to scare me? No, not to frighten, but to inform. It is easy to forget about important issues when we have tests and papers due, internships to apply for and winter break coming up. Yet every day, unspeakable evil is happening. I encourage you to learn about the terror in the Middle East and how it affects our lives. Knowledge and understanding can keep you safe and also help society as a whole decide how to take action.
So how do we protect this country, our people and this way of life?