“ISIS Did This To You”

ISIS, OH MY GOD ISIS. Did I just name the group that shouldn’t be named? ISIS, the dreaded Voldemort! (Two evils in one sentence, what have I done?)

What are the first things that pop into people’s heads when they hear ISIS?

  • PAIN
  • FEAR

But why are these thing the first things we think of? Why do we find ourselves having a sick feeling in our stomach when we think of the group?

Terrorism. That’s why. Why do people revert to terrorism? What is the point of it? According to good ‘ole Merriam Webster: “the systematic terror of especially as a means of coercion.” Or in simpler terms, “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” So is what they’re doing working?

A couple of weekends ago I had a planned trip to Paris, France, not the best timing considering the attacks had happened the week before on November 13. I was planning to go even with what happened, but a personal issue came up and I was unable to go. Keyword: personal, not because of some sort of fear of ISIS. What I’m trying to say is: ISIS didn’t scare me from living my life and going to Paris. What do terrorists want? To paralyze you from living your life that you have to do what they want, so you feel like you can start living again. The minute you let them affect your life, you give them that power.

As I am living in Florence, Italy, with other American students, we’ve all tried to support each other and not be affected by what’s currently going on in Europe with terrorist attacks. However, there are some students who have left early and are not finishing their semester in Italy. To me, I find this pointless, as there are only two weeks of the semester. Nothing has happened yet, why should it happen within these next two weeks? There are threats of terrorist attacks all over Italy, and something has yet to happen (really hoping I don’t jinx it). For me, it was disappointing to here that people felt the need to leave because they let ISIS directly affect them and have power over them. If you don’t feel threatened by them, can they really harm you?

I had someone who was supposed to visit me in Europe and was upset that she no longer wanted to come after the attacks in Paris, but mainly because it was out of fear rather than a serious threat of danger. When I expressed my frustration with her reasoning she explained that “ISIS did this to you.” I recently read an interesting quote: “You must realize, that fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice.” ISIS didn’t do anything to me, they did something to the families to those who lost their loved ones, and attempted to gain power in the Western world through terror, but they didn’t do anything to me. And the more I, or anyone, lets them affect them, the more power they will gain.

Of course, it isn’t easy to ignore what they’re doing. They are killing people, maybe even people you know and love. But giving them any sort of acknowledgement just encourages their actions. If your reaction is: “OH MY GOD THESE FU**ING TERRORISTS I WANT TO KILL ALL OF THEM HOW CAN THEY DO THIS TO MY PEOPLE AND MY BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, HOW WILL I LIVE MY LIFE WITHOUT FEAR OF THEM HARMING ME AND MY FAMILY? WE MUST KILL THEM!” you’re telling them what they’re doing is working. It’s the same thing that your parents tell you about bullies: the more you talk back, punch back, cry, yell, fight, the harder it gets. If you add oil to the fire, it’ll just continue to blaze and if anything, the fire will grow. How did your parents tell you to deal with a bully? Ignore them. Are they telling your ugly? Ignore them, go about your day with a smile on your face.

I know this is easier said than done, but we have to at least try. Some believe that the first place to start is by putting ISIS down. Below is a video on changing the name of ISIS to Daesh.

What is the significance of doing this? As said in the video, Daesh basically signifies that the group is a creator of chaos. Which of course is true, but if we insult the bully, won’t that just make them angrier?

I don’t have much experience with dealing with terrorist groups and how to stop them from gaining too much power, but what I do know is what we’re doing clearly isn’t working. Maybe this means it is partially our fault?

Why do ISIS and other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda do what they do? Why kill innocent people in order to make a political statement? Well first off, it’s working. And secondly, no one is listening to them in any way shape or form. The Western world has a tendency to do what it wants without thinking about how they will affect other countries. Why are so many people fed up with the US in the Middle East? Because the US is realistically only present in the Middle East for oil, and to “civilize” a people, who didn’t ask for anyone to come in and attempt to change their culture.

If we listened and asked the people of the Middle East what they wanted before terrorist groups became too powerful, would we have the issues we have with ISIS? Probably not. As my mom always reminds me: it takes two to tango, and we are just as much at fault as ISIS.

Has the US killed innocent people? Yes.

Do we stick our nose in places where people don’t want us? Yes.

Is it possible that parts of the Middle East view us as a type of imperial terrorist? Yes.

What am I saying? Terrorism: we did it to ourselves. We gave the groups reason and power. So what’s our next step? Listen to them.

No, I’m not saying become a radical Islamist, but western countries need to leave the Middle East and let the different people, states, cultures, and religions figure out for themselves what they want. Western countries were given the opportunity to grow on their own, the Middle East should be given the same opportunity. Unless there are people directly asking countries like the U.S. to change the political situation in the Middle East, STAY OUT.

Am I wrong? Am I right? Who knows. But will it hurt to try?