No one is any less or more than the next - Remember that

No one is any less or more than the next–remember that.

Now that the dust has settled somewhat and the entire country isn’t up in arms about the most recent terrorist attacks that happened in Paris, or the impending refugee crisis, I feel it is time I speak my mind.

By now everyone is aware of the tragedy Paris suffered recently, at yet another devastating terrorist attack performed by the Islamic State, better known as ISIS. On the evening of November 13, 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in the capital of France were carried out, killing and injuring many innocent citizens. France, and the rest of the world were utterly shaken by these attacks, as they rightfully should be.

ISIS by all means has proven time and time again they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal of instituting a Caliphate, a king if you will, into the Middle Eastern region. ISIS continuously operates out of creating fear, as they anonymously posts gruesome videos to the Internet of horrendous acts of violence that they perform as a way of instigating the western world.

And they have succeeded thus far in instigating the west. This terrorist movement in all aspects is quite small, but is rapidly growing, due in part to their propaganda that they use. This propaganda works, due to the fact that after they have successfully provoked the United States and others, they essentially point the finger at us claiming we are oppressing them, drawing more support. This instigation we as a nation fall so blindly into is only helping them grow, something must be done, but on our terms not theirs.

Back to France, I loved how much support was shown to France in their time of tragedy by many people around the world. Facebook even took to adding a feature where people could change their profile pictures to the French flag. This in itself is a great thing done by Facebook to help show support, and get everyone involved.

However, I took this act with a grain of salt. So many people know nothing about the war being waged all over the Middle Eastern region, and yet just because all their friends changed their profiles and the news blew up the story, they changed theirs profile pictures and posted statuses about not letting Syrian refugees in. Whether this was blind support or an innocent act of support due to everyone else doing it, I find it in bad taste. Blind support of anything, even of your own country is very bad news, and I think if Americans want to be in the political conversation of the world and not just blindly follow, then I think it is time we become more informed.

Now I in no way am advocating for terrorism or ISIS by saying this, the act of terrorism is a true show of cowardice at its roots. And I truly do love the way people come together time and time again in times of tragedy. What I am saying is that this patriotic comradery should exist everyday, if it is true comradery.

If people can not take the initiative themselves to be educated about what is happening in our world everyday, to know why wars are fought, to know who is fighting them, why many young Americans are sacrificing their lives, and why terrorist attacks happen, then do not show blind support for something just to do it.

It was not very long ago that I was forced to no longer eat French Fries or French Toast but instead was made to eat Freedom Fries, all due to the fact that France refused to go into the Middle East to fight alongside the United States. How many of you who changed your profile pictures remembered that?

However, now that it serves the United States needs of sparking patriotism, we are back to loving France. This misuse of media and nationalism is horrible in the face of such a tragedy.

Everyday terrorist attacks happen all around the world, these attacks cause widespread death to many innocent people. Yet only some get covered by the media, and some just get brushed aside. A mere day before the French attacks, Baghdad suffered a terrorist attack that caused the death of 19 people and 33 more wounded, ISIS claimed this attack as their own. This simple example should be able to portray a picture that innocent citizens live everywhere in the world, not just in Paris.

So I ask you, what makes one terrorist attack in one country any less or more significant than a different one in a different country?

I would like everyone to read this poem, which was written shortly after the attacks in Paris on November 13th, by a young Indian woman named Karuna Ezara Parikh, it is truly insightful and more people should start to think like her if the world even hopes to have a future.

“It is not Paris we should pray for. It is the world. It is a world in which Beirut, reeling from bombings two days before Paris, is not covered in the press. A world in which a bomb goes off in Baghdad and not one person’s status update says “Baghdad”, because not one white person died in that fire. Pray for the world that blames a refugee crisis for a terrorist attack. That does not pause to differentiate between the attacker and the person running from the very same thing you are. Pray for a world where people walking across countries for months, their only belongings upon their backs, are told they have no place to go. Say a prayer for Paris by all means, but pay for more, for the world that does not have a prayer for those who no longer have a home to defend. For a world that is falling apart in all corners, and not simply in the towers and cafes we find so familiar.”

In the wake of the attacks in Paris, many people across the United States and even here in Norwich, were calling for the United States to close their borders to any and all refugees, specifically from Syria, which is where most of the heavy fighting with ISIS is currently taking place. The suspicion was that the attackers in Paris posed as refugees from Syria, were taken in by France, and that is how they were able to infiltrate the country and eventually perform such acts.

But this call to close the borders seems rather closed minded to me, as the United States has put itself out their as the policemen of the world. Now this has won our country many enemies over the years, including ISIS.

However, it is the path our country has chosen thus far and as far as I know a policeman is there to protect the public, not just get the bad guy. Much like the poem says, why should we sit in our houses, essentially safe and sound, and support a cause openly online, but when faced with helping others suffering from the same problem, we simply turn them away.

All in all, America does not belong in the Middle East. I cannot say it enough that ISIS is very bad news, but in reality our ability as a culture to play this policeman role over the world needs to stop.

The United States has sent too many young men and women overseas into a war that never ends, because there is a new enemy every few years or so. Domestically, America has enough problems that we as a culture need to address. The veterans who bravely defended our great country deserve to be correctly honored and compensated for their service, rather than just creating more veterans, maybe we should look inward at that first. The money spent yearly on wars and weapons by the United States, if it weren’t spent on that, we wouldn’t even have a veteran problem.

It is sad to see a country so great, turn away refugees out of fear. To think, weren’t we Americans once refugees just a few hundred years ago running from the oppression and tyranny of Great Britain.

Simply put, it is time America realized that we do not belong in the Middle East at all. Our influence there may have done some good to an unstable region of the world, but it has also caused just the same amount of hate and more instability to be created as well.

Until we as a culture realize this, then we must fight the good fight, not the easy one as we so often do. The men who fought in WWII would not be very proud of our culture, I would even go far enough to say they would be ashamed. It is my belief that those men would probably welcome the Syrian refugees, and any others, just like many did with the Jewish refugees fleeing the NAZI’s so many years ago, and not simply shut the door out of Islamiphobia fear.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Paris and Baghdad, as well all others in the world that have been impacted by terrorism.

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