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November 16, 2015

ISIS: Where Media Goes Wrong.

The definition of terrorism is the murder of innocents. Let us not return fire with fire–let us strike at the aggressors, but never accept civilian “collateral damage.” That is what they want: hate to compound hate. That’s how terrorism wins. How does it lose? When a free society refuses to give up its values of pluralism and #liberteegalitefraternite. ~ @waylonlewis <> #mayitbeofbenefit <> “Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong. We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberté, egalité, fraternité, are not just the values French people share, but we share… It’s an attack not just on the people of France. But this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share. We’re going to do whatever it takes to work with the French people and with nations around the world to bring these terrorists to justice and to go after any terrorist networks that go after our people.” ~ President Obama #presidentobama #prayforparis

A photo posted by Elephant Journal (@elephantjournal) on

 

My heart is with the people of Paris. It is also with the people in Syria, those who are in Egypt and every other country that conflict, violence and terrorism is touching or has touched.

Unfortunately all across the world there are many conflicts “hidden” from the front pages of our newspaper or failing to show up on our social media pages.

For those who know the trauma of war, for those who have to witness and endure the destruction of their infrastructure and the death of their people relentlessly and systematically, my thoughts are with you.

Some might say our thoughts aren’t enough. That we need to do more.

Some might say we need to fight the people who are fighting us and destroy them so that they can’t destroy us.

Where does it end? Where does it begin?

Martin Luther King Jr. believed, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

I too believe in those words. I believe that creating more hate will never win a war. It will just keep creating more of the same and spreading like a disease. There will be more victims, more casualties, more people grieving, more people terrified and more people without mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, sons and daughters. It will never end.

War has continuously battled its way throughout history. And there is no closure in sight.

I don’t believe that we should do nothing. I don’t think that is the answer at all. We have to do something. I just think that declaring that we are going to continue fighting the way we have with military forces and the explosive media exposure that goes on is not calming or harmonising our world. It is playing into the hands of those who want devastation and separation and it is adding fuel to an already raging fire. However, terrorism should not be tolerated, it needs eradicated.

Another avenue might seem idealistic, but change has to begin somewhere.

Our generations have been gifted with social media. We can reach out to one another across the world and show solidarity, support, love and friendship with the click of a button. Most of all we can show one another allowance and acceptance of one another’s individuality, culture, belief system and faith wherever we are on the planet.

We can celebrate our differences and how diverse we are and learn from one another and open up our minds to how incredibly vast and also close and related our existence on planet Earth is. We are all interconnected. There is no separation. We share the same planet, we are all so alike, yet every single one of us so completely different.

And yes, there is darkness. However, the light shines too.

There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. The majority of Muslims want peace. If they didn’t want peace and wanted to create countless wars, destruction and inflict terror on every town, city and village, I’m quite sure the world as we know it today would be a very different place. Clearly, the number of terrorists who claim to be Muslims are in the minority.

For those of us who have friends, colleagues or neighbors who are Muslim, we know how utterly absurd it is to group all Muslims into the same category and point a questionable finger of “terrorist” towards them.

There are approximately 2.2 billion Christians in this world and some of these people who class themselves as Christians have committed terrible atrocities throughout history and have been responsible for many acts of terror or war. Are we afraid of all Christians? Again, absolutely not, the very idea of it is ridiculous.

Every time there is an act of terrorism the word “Muslim” ricochets across the world. It bounces from minds to keyboards to the spoken word and it often ends in aggression, exclusion and often violence. And fear is the cause.

Many of us have been conditioned to be afraid of Muslims, as we constantly hear that terrorists are Muslim. And as we do not understand the Muslim faith we are afraid, simply because we are fearful of what we do not understand.

However, acts of terrorism are no reflection of the Muslim faith.

The Muslim Council of Britain regularly has to speak out to defend the reputation of Muslims whenever there is another terrorist attack. The Council voices the same words that are echoed by other Muslims all over the world:

“This attack is being claimed by the group calling themselves ‘Islamic State.’ There is nothing Islamic about such people and their actions are evil, and outside the boundaries set by our faith.”

I find it heartbreaking that millions of Muslims have to raise their voice to show they have no link, unity or association with terrorism.

The Council also goes on to say that by showcasing ISIS’s actions all over the media we are feeding their game as, “They [ISIS] seek to glamorise their violence, and unfortunately, the media has a part to play in adding to that glamour.” They also say each day ISIS seeks to carry out an act more barbarous than the day before, craving the oxygen of publicity to give credibility to their heinous acts. We urge the media in refraining from giving them any further undue exposure beyond conventional reporting.”

Many of the Arab states regularly speak out to condemn terrorism with Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian President, announcing in a statement, “Such terrorist attacks will not weaken the will of peace-loving countries.”

Although we are often led to believe that these terrorist attacks are against non-Muslims the opposite is true. A U.S. Department of State report found that in the last five years between 82 and 97 percent of the victims of racially motivated terrorist attacks were actually Muslims.

One of ISIS’s goals is to end the “grayzone.” According to the article in Daziq magazine, “Eliminating the Greyzone,” ISIS do not want Muslims and Non-Muslims to coexist, they want The Camp of Islam (represented by ISIS) and The Camp of the West and they expect people to choose which camp they belong to. So, the more unrest that is created, the more likely people are going to align with one or the other.

When terrorist attacks happen our unity is shaken and we can easily become further segregated from one another and fearful of wars, cultures or religions that we do not understand. Therefore, we take to social media to express our concern.

Rather than giving more coverage and exposure to these terrorist acts by taking to social media to express anger, outrage and thoughts of revenge, I believe we should show responses of unity, peace and love. Rather than sharing clips of stories and images and second-guessing the motive and reason behind the attacks we should all speak up for equality, for compassion and with an open mind. And rather than believing what our newspapers, governments and families and friends are telling us, we should read and research the widely available information available so that we can gain a more balanced perspective.

I agree that we should show support for the victims by changing our profile pictures to one’s that unite against terrorism, although, we should do this for all terrorist attacks, not just the ones that we perceive to be more important than another. Just because attacks happen in peaceful areas and not in areas that are constantly subjected to violence doesn’t make one attack more acceptable than the other.

All violence is wrong. Any life that has been altered or ended by terrorism is wrong.

We have a long way to go before we gain peace on earth and unfortunately no one has all the answers.

I just believe that if we allowed the media to respectfully report on events without all the speculation and blame about the origin of the cause we might stand a better chance of gaining access to the truth. And in the process we can end the showcasing of the atrocious acts as it unfortunately becomes glorification and much needed attention and propaganda for those seeking violence, unrest and ultimately separation.

If everyone who seeks peace united as one we will clearly see that these acts against humanity are essentially acts intending to destabilize. Rather than arguing between ourselves and creating more disconnect we can work to achieve the opposite of what these groups want to achieve and we can all strengthen the plight for peace and firmly bond together as one.

The world needs more love, not more hate, violence and war.

 

Relephant Favorite:

The World is Falling Apart: What Can I Do?

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Author: Alex Myles

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Elephant Instagram

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Alex Myles  |  Contribution: 81,560