Terrorism The systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. [Encyclopaedia Britannica]
The terrible events occurred on Friday 13th November 2015 and the consequent relentless media coverage, make it difficult to think straight. The terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe are difficult to process while ignoring the deaths in Beirut seems to be much easier: they are Muslims and far from us, it is almost a relief. Also the daily massacres in less important countries such as Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Libya, Palestine etc. do not deserve mourning, flags, candles and prayers.
Not even death unites us and makes us feel equal. Not even death teaches us silence. Not even death shuts our mouths and makes us think. The corpses are still warm while speculation starts: reasons, condemnations, solutions and predictions. We didn’t even have the time to count the deaths when the political campaigns started disguised as crusades against the Islamic murderers. After that, as a self-come-true prophecy, the much acclaimed French bombs started dropping. Not satisfied yet with the colonial bloodshed, the massacres continue today.
In the meantime, while most people think they know it all, I stare at the ceiling and know nothing. I wonder whether I would be brave enough to blow myself up. No, I wouldn’t.
It’s Friday night: the attackers are very young and while their peers born in the right side of the world are getting ready to hang out or go clubbing with friends, they take arms and prepare to kill and die. I wonder how we could let it happen. Where did we go wrong? How can we tolerate that a creature of this world chooses death over this life? In the neglected suburbs clumped with the leftovers of our (vane) colonial glories and lootings, the creatures that we reject harbour hate and anger. We have abandoned them with their existential uncertainty as migrants; they’re vulnerable targets for unscrupulous puppeteers offering easy consolations and, above all, a sense of belonging. That very sense of belonging that WE deny them.
WE cause terrorism. We are all accomplices. Because of our comfortable and selfish lives. Because we have given up trying to understand and comprehend. Because we have accepted easy slogans and quick solutions. WE have ALL turned into terrorists.
*He could be your baby, your brother, your friend’s child. But he is none of these, he is simply a child of our bombs. F.Malavolta – — in Mytilene, Greece*
When we point our finger without knowing. When we hide the truth and choose our quiet life over justice. When we submit to the lexical barbarity presumptuously differentiating between refugees and economic migrants. When we forget about the inalienable right of each individual to build a better life. When WE ourselves protest for our rights, for our security and safety, those very same rights that we deny to others. When we are outraged by the Reception Centres’ guests protesting against the low quality food offered, when we value them less than our pets. When we don’t build peace but walls and prejudice. When we call “heroes” those who take arms against their own good judgement and “violent” those students who fight for the right to free and quality education.
So, maybe I am guilty too. When I am too tired to call Y. after a long day at work, even if I am fully aware of the difference that it would make to him. When I do not speak about M.’s real situation whom, after months spent in a dirty centre and being fed expired food, has been transferred for the umpteenth time in a place where “there are small black animals that when I sleep at night bite me.” When I don’t say that most of these guys went to the dentist for the very first time in their life with me. When I don’t speak about my family in Sicily and how happy and proud they are of our new friends, I feel it every time they invite them over for coffees so that I can see them on Skype. When I don’t tear apart the lies soaked in ignorance of those who speak about “illegal immigrants” staying in 5 stars hotels.
While many knew everything and presented warlike convincing strategies, I wrote to my friends whose ONLY crimes are having survived the journey on the dinghy, believing in a religion that ignorant people label as «terrorist» and wanting to live. I feel incredibly ashamed simply because I am part of this sick humanity.
Let us stop finding shortcuts and start thinking honestly about OUR faults and errors. Let us put aside arrogance and haughtiness and open our doors instead, we must leave our caves and finally free ourselves from those chains that hold us back and that we don’t even notice anymore.
Let us choose tenderness and create a world where each Life is a treasure. We have to be free citizens in charge of our destiny, asking ourselves what WE, each one of US, can do to make the world a better place. Let us reject the decisions, especially political ones, taken by others: these sharks can smell the blood and are ready to bite into our fears. Let us focus, let us stay human!
by Maria Grazia Patania
Both the pictures and the comment under the first image are by Francesco Malavolta. We met him in this article (in Italian) and I strongly recommend you visit his website. I choose his pictures because ignoring the reality represented in his works means ignoring the pain of thousands of innocent people. Our humanity is at stake, our lives are all at stake. His work represents a constant reminder for us.
A wise person once told me: “I keep quiet because I understand that what we know is actually only the tip of the iceberg, that this is a game between (bully) superpowers, the victims are all the others: catholic Parisians, Muslim Lebanese, atheist Romans. I actually wonder: what are we playing at? And what are we trying to achieve?”
by Maria Grazia Patania
Post originale in italiano qui
Translator Francesca Colantuoni
Proofreader Maria Grazia Patania