In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and around the world last week, we have seen both the best and worst of humanity. In Frace, on the night of, we saw the best in the people who were opening their doors to complete strangers to help them get off the streets safely. And the social media outpouring of sympathy for the horror experienced in France was heartwarming. But that seems to be where it ends.
In the days after, we’ve seen a backlash against ISIS, understandable, and against the Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS – ridiculous. I have to say that I am not entirely surprised that Americans are once again displaying their racism, the United States isn’t exactly known for religious tolerance and acceptance, especially in the era of hard-line tea-party Republicans. What I am shocked at, is the similarity of responses from Canadians. How on earth can anyone deny innocent people sanctuary? Refugees, by their very nature, are fleeing the turmoil and persecution in their home country. By very definition, these are not ISIS-sympathizers. And so, as I read on Facebook somewhere (forgive me for not having the actual reference) denying immigration to Syrian Refugees is not a victory for our country, it is a victory for ISIS.
How can we, as one of the richest nations on earth, deny safety to a relatively small amount of people who might otherwise die? And how can we do so when France, the country most affected by these terror attacks (four attempts this year already: Charlie Hebdo, Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, train attack and the November 2015 attacks), is still agreeing to take in 30,000? That is the way to defeat terrorism.
ISIS in particular, and terrorist groups in general, are not like governments. You cannot wage a war on terrorism the same way that you wage a war on a country. You can cut off all of the heads of a terrorist group, but unless the ideals of that group are defeated, the supporters demoralized, the group will act as a Hydra, and more heads will spring up. The only way those of use who support freedom and equality can win this fight is to remain strong, stand up in solidarity and show those terrorists that they might try to kill us, but our ideals are stronger than that. They might be willing to die for their dead, but they will not defeat our own beliefs, and they will not take our freedom!
So I must say two last things:
Je Suis Français dans l’esprit
Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité