Are you scared? Are you outraged? Are you lost in the echoes of the bloody events spiraling out lately all over the world? Are you puzzled and divided between the “layers” of truth retained by one side or another?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone…
In fact, misinformation, propaganda and media manipulation which invade most mainstream and social media seem to be inevitable; each group of people is exposed to one side of the story. This is when the “blamingmarathon” begins.
Watching closely people’s reactions after a terrorist attack (Charlie Hebdo, the assassination of Muath etc…), I’m sure you noticed a typical attitude: there is a prominent tendency to over-politicize each attack in a “mythical” way. This socio-psychological process (more than an intellectual one) leads more often to the creation of 2 teams: you’re either with team A or team B. You’re either a radical Muslim or a victim. You’re either a stupid follower or a “wise” citizen (aware of all the conspiracies!). You’re either pro west or pro east. You’re either with Muslims or with Jews even when the terrorist attack has nothing to do with Jewish people! To sum up, it’s always the same equation: you’re either with “us” or with “them.” We are not only victims of terrorism but also victims of our own minds when we obey this restricted formula.
I can go on for ages as the human mind seems to never run out of creativity when it comes to stigmas and dual conceptions. It is unfortunate but natural that fear puts people in a “fighting mode.” That’s why, for instance, hate is winning the ground and human sympathy and solidarity are deteriorating…
Indeed, people are too busy judging and classifying the others and
determining who their “enemy” is. The irony is that almost everybody
neglects the real one: terrorists.
This continuous state of mental war characterizes the collective memory in M.E.N.A region. It’s even safe to say that our region particularly suffers from a very high conspiracy theories rate. (If you live here, you know well what I’m talking about). I pay a lot of attention to the after-attack-reactions here and all I hear is: “we are the victims, it’s not us, it’s the Americans, it’s the Zionists, and it’s the west” etc… Is it denial? I let you elaborate… Is this persistent victimization status the only refuge, the only excuse, the only way to solve our problems?
It is crucial as a start to assume our own mistakes instead of spending the whole time looking for whom we can blame… I have to say it’s very common that a person has to show loyalty to one side or another in order to belong because everything in our region, whether you like it or not, is about identity. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t prove that #there_is_another_way.
Almost the same issue has been observed in France or in the States, maybe less typical, maybe not. “It’s the Muslims or it’s the Arabs” a lot would say. This reminds us that Islamophobia is the twin sister of the “west-phobia”. We would be living in denial if we don’t see the huge high walls which are being built everyday separating nations, countries and religions. It’s true it may be odd for a modern world proud of globalization. But this is a collective international mistake related to how to deal with the phenomenon of terrorism. There is nothing wrong with sharing the responsibilities. This is what allows the world to actually start dealing with its issues. It seems complicated to destroy these walls, but it’s really about attitude. If you refuse the prejudices, refuse to dehumanize people who are different from you, if you are willing to know them on your own and to relate to them as fellow human beings. If you are willing to “profess the religion of love” (Ibn Arabi), to love and support every human being regardless of his differences, know that no matter how utopist and poetic it may seem, being united is the only way to fight against terrorism, because #together_we_are_stronger.