On December 31st, 2016, people around the world had different party plans to ring in the new year. Many among these were tourists and locals of Istanbul who wanted to celebrate this moment and share their happy moments with friends and loved ones at Reina club, a popular nightclub in Istanbul. The party did not go as expected after midnight as individuals wearing Santa Claus costumes came inside and started shooting at the crowd, killing at least 39 people and injuring around 65. Not only did they cause terror and take innocent lives but made sure to do it while wearing one of the most iconic characters known for bringing hope and joy. They entered the club with the objective to kill the innocent souls while claiming a religion that is innocent from their actions.
The lack of empathy and compassion showed massively after the latest Istanbul attacks. People behind their screens started calling harsh, unwarranted names at the victims and judging them immensely for being in a nightclub on New Years. As if being murdered and injured is not already horrendous, the survivors and loved ones of the deceased had an extra layer of pain to their suffering. Since when wanting to be happy and celebrate is a shame?! These same people who do not empathize with those who were murdered are the real sinful ones. At a glance they forgot all the bad things they did in their lives and took the place of God, deciding if these victims are going to hell or not. An infected thinking, fueled by extremism and hatred. A speech of arrogance and double standards.
Terrorism is eating us alive, it is causing us to fight each other for the wrong reasons, and sadly many of us follow through. No religion on earth validates the killings of innocent individuals or causing detrimental harm to others by any means. Religion is being used to promote hate speech and cause misunderstandings between others.Given the ignorance of the majority of individuals they believe what they hear and judge a whole faith by the miserable practice of some psychopaths who are seeking attention and looking for the easy way to guarantee the afterlife they were promised by those who want to promote wars and instability.
The question that remains, though, is why is our youth vulnerable to polarization? Why do we have individuals who believe blowing themselves up is a right, moral decision? A debate that can go on for days and not have one final answer, because there are too many causes to count. Our youth is craving direction. Many are lacking a meaning for their life, a meaning they go to find between the fighters extremist groups. In an attempt to win the afterlife that they hope would be better than the one they are losing at now. This may be caused by the lack of quality education, the misinterpretation of religion, the lack of opportunities, or unemployment. An Arab proverb states: ”The reason differ, but death is the same,”these causes and more gave birth the phenomena of extremism among youth and still taking many of our young citizens.
Today, we are sadly getting used to regularly hearing about attacks all over the world. we don’t know where it will hit next, but we know it will. We just sit in our corner revisiting our travel plans, hoping our family members don’t get hurt. What we ignore or chose to deny is that terrorism is everyone’s business.One day it will get to each and every one of us if we don’t fight it together. Only by realizing this we can avoid the worst turn that our humanity is going toward. Only by opening our minds to each other, to different ideas, by embracing change and taking the best from each side we will change the fate humanity is going toward. To the souls of the beautiful humans lost during Reina attacks, I say rest in peace.