People who react to the Paris terrorist acts by peddling fear and urging a halt on Syrian refugees coming to Australia have got it badly wrong. The fundamental problem with their analysis is that this kind of horror is what refugees are fleeing from. They also forget that refugees do not leave their homelands and families lightly or easily.
What is terrorism? Terrorism is a tactic in which the primary objective is to produce fear, rather than direct harm. Terrorist attacks are, first and foremost, psychological operations designed to alter behaviour amongst the terrorized in a way that the actors believe will serve them.
The 9/11 attack was symbolic. It was not designed to cripple the US economically or militarily, at least not directly. It was designed to provoke a reaction. The reaction cost more than 6,000 American lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 3 trillion US dollars. The reaction also caused the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani people.
The lesson we should have learnt is: above all else a nation should refuse to do what everyone will expect it to do in response to an act of terrorism.
Terrorists do not engage in terror attacks because they are strong. They engage in these attacks because they are weak. The gruesome spectacle of terrorism is a cost saving measure in which the fear generated amplifies the resources that the terrorists have available.
Reacting reflexively is inherently self-defeating. If a nation wishes to make itself an unappealing target, then it should get its fears under control. ISIS would like the citizens of the West to stop the flow of refugees. The flood of refugees damages their dogma. The reality is, [Isis] loathes that individuals are fleeing Syria for Europe. It undermines [Isis’s] message that its self-styled caliphate is a refuge.
The Love Makes A Way campaign (see www.facebook.com/LoveMakesAWayForAsylumSeekers/) has been highly successful in drawing attention to the detention of children via peaceful protest in the offices of Australian federal politicians.
What is occurring now tells its own story of the power, arrogance, prejudice, ethnic rivalry and isolation. The question raised by the peaceful protest of the Love Makes A Way campaign is based on love, acceptance and generosity of spirit. The destiny of the Christian community is to challenge the false values that turn our eyes away from each other. Why else did Jesus so intensely link love of God, love of neighbour and love of enemy.
Social and political commentator Waleed Aly has said to the Australian shock jocks, and politicians who have preached “hate” in the wake of the Paris attacks that their actions actually help Islamic State rather than defeat them.
“We all need to come together. I know how that sounds. I know it is a cliché, but it is also true because it is exactly what ISIL doesn’t want.
“So, if you are a member of Parliament or a has-been member of Parliament preaching hate at a time when what we actually need is more love — you are helping ISIL. They have told us that. If you are a Muslim leader telling your community they have no place here or basically them saying the same thing — you are helping ISIL.
I despair as I hear the rhetoric over refugees and asylum seekers it feeds prejudice in the community and further entrenches the isolation of those abandoned by our systems.
We cannot be fooled by fear-mongering and attempts to turn our communities against each other.
Let’s make our voices of compassion, of love and of generosity, drown out those who would have us turn to fear. Each and every one of us can play a role. Together, we need to let Love Make A Way.