11.22.2015

has the whole world gone crazy? again? terrorism against muslim people as a "response" to paris attacks

Some facts.

1. The likelihood that you will be killed in a terrorist attack is extremely small. You are much more likely to be hit by lightning, killed in a car crash, have a heart attack, or meet your death hundreds of other ways.

2. Most documented terrorist attacks are perpetrated by people who are not Muslim. And this doesn't count anti-abortion violence or women being killed by abusive partners, which are forms of terrorism.

3. In 2013 and 2014, more than 316,000 people in the United States were killed by guns. 313 Americans died in terrorist attacks.

4. After the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, violence against Muslim people in the US and Canada have skyrocketed. Mosques have been burned and vandalized, women picking up their children at school have been attacked, people have been shoved, spit on, forced off planes.

5. In the UK and Europe, it is even worse.

* * * *

Yesterday, in my library, a woman called to alert us to a "security threat". She said she saw a woman wearing a hijab and carrying a backpack. Her two daughters were in judo class in the community centre, and she was "concerned for their safety".

Our senior librarian informed the caller that we don't call the police based on what people are wearing, and in a community centre and library, many people carry backpacks for their books, their swim gear, their lunch, and so on.

The librarian who took the call was seething, and I was close to tears all afternoon. This in Mississauga, one of the most diverse communities in the world, and in 2015. How can this be happening?

I've seen the small kindnesses and demonstrations of support that follow some of these incidents. They're important reminders. But hate is so loud, so destructive, so contagious and so addictive.'

How can we stop this madness?

Sometimes it seems very clear that human beings are incapable of learning from their past.

18 comments:

James Redekop said...

In recent years, Americans have been killed by toddlers with guns at a higher rate than they have by political terrorists -- and that includes domestic terrorists.

UU4077 said...

to add to #4 - ... and a Hindu Temple in Kitchener was vandalised because these perpetrators are too stupid to even know the difference.

Amy said...

It is truly heartbreaking that there is so much hate and that it just keeps building and building. One side commits acts of violence based on hate, the other side responds with more hate and more violence, and the whole things keeps spiraling out of control until there is complete devastation. I honestly do not have hope that it will ever be resolved in a way that will bring about lasting peace. I fear for my grandchildren and the world we have created for them. I continue to believe that most people are good and loving, but the number who are hateful and violent, however small, are the ones who are making this a world where no one feels safe.

allan said...

Toddlers Shot More People In US Than Islamic Terrorists In 2015

laura k said...

There are no "sides" in this conflict. People are being scapegoated for the actions of other people completely unrelated to them.

laura k said...

1. Terrorist act, very selectively defined, is committed in a western country.

2. Western country bombs, destroys, tortures, imprisons people from the same geographic area as known terrorists in #1. The people being bombed and destroyed had nothing to do with #1. This act #2, which kills vastly more people by virtue of an extreme imbalance of power, is not called terrorism.

3. Individuals in western countries perpetrate violence against people perceived as sharing a characteristic with the people who committed #1.

laura k said...

Also: I feel safe. My Muslim friends and neighbours may not.

allan said...

A look at how the military-worshipping media are "spreading hysteria, fueling anti-immigrant sentiment, and beating the drum for war". ... And most people believe this propaganda is actually as "the news".

johngoldfine said...

"In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death."

--Anne Frank

I've never understood this quotation, Amy. What is the history of the last 100 years if not a resounding repudiation of this belief?

laura k said...

I think that quote is what Anne Frank needed to get through the day. It might be what Amy needs to get through her day. In the end, we adopt philosophies that help us live. I can't see the point in assessing them as true or false.

Any sentence that begins "People are..." or "Life is..." is as likely to be as true or false as the exact opposite.

Amy said...

John, I didn't say I thought all people are good, nor did I say that I think any person is all good. I am not that naive. We all have moments of being mean, rude, even heartless. Do I think most people are capable of hatred and can be violent? Yes, we all can be provoked to do things we should not do. Do I think people have biases and prejudices? I think we all do. But that makes us flawed, not evil.

But most of us have a desire to be kind and loving with each other, to be compassionate. At least that is my experience with people over the past 60+ years.

laura k said...

I agree with Amy that most people want to be kind and loving, to people of their choosing.

There's a popular, and in my opinion foolish, notion that wars are fought because people are not tolerant of each other. Palestinian children and Israeli children going on an outing together will somehow end that violence. People can be nice and loving all day long. Imperialism, political oppression, social injustice - those powers are larger and stronger than any one person's desire to be compassionate.

James recently posted this on a FB thread: "Jay: Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it. Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."

That's a huge part of the picture.

James Redekop said...

For anyone who doesn't know, that Jay/Kay quote is from the Barry Sonnenfeld film "Men in Black". It's my favourite line in the film, and it's almost always relevant.

johngoldfine said...

Sorry to have indirectly misrepresented you, Amy. Your sentence starting "I continue to believe..." immediately brought to mind the Anne Frank quotation, which is accorded a respect and honor I have never been able to fathom and which immediately floods my mind with the recall of a century's worth of horror.

I reacted to that quotation, rather than carefully rereading what you, in fact, wrote.

But I still don't know what the difference is between 'flawed' and 'evil,' except to an ethicist working up an abstract example or a religious person concerned about their personal salvation. Victims' blood and tears regularly dissolve any distinction between the two.

impudent strumpet said...

It's so frustrating that people don't, like, want to be better than that! I feel like they're holding us all back, because now we have to spend time trying to convince them not to be idiots and assholes rather than thinking of new and innovative solutions to the problem

Amy said...

No problem, John.

laura k said...

They are definitely holding us back. But they think we're all foolish, naive, and now we can add "politically correct" as well.

James Redekop said...

A brilliant comment Neil Gaiman posted on Tumblr recently:

I was reading a book (about interjections, oddly enough) yesterday which included the phrase “In these days of political correctness…” talking about no longer making jokes that denigrated people for their culture or for the colour of their skin. And I thought, “That’s not actually anything to do with ‘political correctness’. That’s just treating other people with respect.”

Which made me oddly happy. I started imagining a world in which we replaced the phrase “politically correct” wherever we could with “treating other people with respect”, and it made me smile.

You should try it. It’s peculiarly enlightening.

I know what you’re thinking now. You’re thinking “Oh my god, that’s treating other people with respect gone mad!”


Also, this.