Kyus Agu Lionel
Sub Editor of Naked Politics
“…when the castles were built, they filled them up with devils and wicked men. By night and by day they seized those whom they believed to have any wealth, whether they were men or women; and in order to get their gold and silver, they put them into prison and tortured them with unspeakable tortures… and men said openly that Christ and His saints slept…”
Excerpt from the Anglo Saxon Chronicle dating from the 9th century.
Recent terrorist outrages by ISIS and affiliated groups in Paris, Lebanon and Nigeria have shocked the world, and rightly so. ISIS has also killed people in Denmark, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Turkey this year alone. Death has touched so many and it seems that for the moment, the west is powerless to stop it.
Europe has sold itself to the rest of the world as a heaven, a promised land, the perfect model for society and democracy. Yet with these recent events, we have been shown again that this is not true, and that here in this so-called ideal society, men, women and children can be slaughtered too.
Many people in Britain in the wake of the killings have said that they’re not going to shopping centres, concerts, sports games, even into London at all, because they’re scared of more attacks.
To this I say: if you do this, we have lost.
ISIS wants three things:
1) To assert their supremacy and might. The message they want to send is: “you powerful countries: France, the US, Great Britain etc. We can reach into your country and we can kill your people and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.”
2) In response to this, government policies and public opinion swing to become increasingly draconian and Islamophobic. This isolates Muslims who were previously living regular lives as valuable parts of a nation’s fabric. This feeling of isolation and oppression pushes them into the arms of extremists and thereby ISIS reaps the benefits by gaining more recruits.
3) To scare us. If we become so nervous of going out and living our lives then they have won, whatever else happens, because extremists look at our way of life in countries such as Britain and want to destroy it.
Sure, Britain has flaws. ‘Freedom of speech’ only seems to apply when it’s white people who want to say horrible things about people of colour. The gap between rich and poor is widening with each year that goes by, and the media reports what it likes, depending on the agenda of the press barons and their government cronies.
But broadly the UK is a great place where we can live how we want. We are not bound by rules which restrict who we can love, what our religion should be, who we are friends with, what we wear, or what we read or listen to. This is the kind of society that groups such as ISIS want to extinguish. If we change our way of life to suit them, it’s the death of this, and they win.
In any case, you are far more likely to be killed crossing the road than you are to die in a terrorist attack. Yet we don’t lock ourselves into our houses. Those who would cancel planned trips into London should take a rational look at the situation and choose. One of the most powerful messages that we can send is if we stand up and say no. We are not afraid. You will not prevent us from living our lives.
The choice is between fear and isolation, or living a normal and positive life. Which one will you choose?