Like everybody I watched the Paris attacks on November 13th, 2015 in utter horror. I had spent a lovely day with my family and suddenly I was glued to the news. These people in Paris… they could be me. Sitting in a cafe having a beer, watching a soccer game… why? how? … I am still filled with abject sadness. It sits there like a brick in my soul.
I just don’t understand. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on and the more I read, the more confused I become. I’m embarrassed to say but before this week I had no idea what NATO’S article 5 meant. Before this week, I didn’t know the difference between ISIS and ISIL and Daesh? What the hell is going on in Syria? The Refugees… oh the Refugees. President Hollande stated that the events of November 13th were an ‘act of war.’ Are those politically strategic words or are they words born out of anger and anguish? I am just a hippie from BC… I have too many questions.
These are the things I have learned:
Vox does some great videos explaining the history. 5 minutes that explains just how complicated the whole thing is.
Article 5. To understand this, one needs to go back a step and understand that NATO was set up in the aftermath of WWII to assist with transatlantic security. This allowed economic stabilization to occur and for Europe to rebuild. The important thing to know is that Article 5 states “an attack against one Ally is considered an attack against all Allies” (source). Canada is a part of NATO so does this mean we will be “boots on the ground” soon? What does this mean for our Military Family.
If you follow ‘Humans of New York‘ on Facebook you have seen the humanity of Syria captured in photos. Recently a man named Rav Vadgama posted an album showcasing where Syrian children sleep at night. The album is beautiful, poignant and heartbreaking. (click here for the album). How can we turn a blind eye? The faces, people like you and me… Living their regular lives before all this chaos. Canada has promised to bring in 25,000 refugees before year’s end. This is a huge undertaking. Where will they all go? These questions have not yet been answered.
ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. These are all the same organization.
- ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) was born out of ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’.
- ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) I find it interesting that Al Jazeera is exclusively using this term, David Cameron and Barack Obama have also started using this term. Levant is a broader term that includes Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and Jordan. (source)
- Daesh – President Hollande used this term when addressing the media after the attacks. Secretary of State John Kerry also uses the term. It is the Arabic abbreviation of ISIS but is also used as an insult and removes the legitimacy of ‘statehood’ and removes ‘Islam’ from their name. (source)
What about the peaceful Muslims? Are they going to be ok? The burning of the mosque in Peterborough… The assault on the young Muslim woman taking her children to an elementary school in Toronto… How can this be happening in my country? And if this is happening… haven’t the terrorists won? Making this an “Us vs Them” world? Surely people understand that this isn’t representative of Islam? Where is our world going?
Finally, I think The Wall Street Journal has written a great piece about the Long War on Terrorism.
I am absolutely heartbroken for the people of Paris. Their loss, their families and their pain. That could be us. I’m scared for the future – that could be here in Canada, and I am concerned what this might mean for my military family. I know they will do what is asked of them and I will be proud. But my stomach is still twisting.
To end my fumbling, awkward and rambling blog: Fear and violence for political gain. That is the definition of Terrorism.
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