A sombre murkiness hovered in my train carriage yesterday morning; opposite me sat a young Muslim girl with downcast eyes & beside her, a woman clutching a Metro newspaper; its contextual accuracy so ambiguous I didn’t bother to grab a copy. The woman with the paper huffed and moved to the seat beside me, the front page of her paper imaging French fighter jets en route to Syria. How many innocent people will continue to be massacred at the hands of a merciless war? I thought to myself, as the woman tutted and threw her paper to the floor. I felt an unspoken tension which whispered prejudice and fear. Myself – edgy and paranoid – wished to give some reassurance to the girl before me.
For context, on 13th November 2015, a number of pre-planned terrorist attacks struck Paris and a French suburb, Saint-Denis. Three suicide bombers struck during a football match, followed by mass shootings and a suicide bombing. The attacks didn’t stop there. Ninety persons were shot by gunmen at the Bataclan Theatre whilst civilians were held hostage at an Eagles of Death concert.
The stuff of nightmares, right there.
I’m not trying to take away the fact that what happened in France that day was a barbaric tragedy, but I have a problem with the way the British media seems so set on turning groups of people against each other; fuelling hate and ignorance towards the Islamic community.
Headlines such as: “1 in 5 Brit Muslims’ Sympathy for Jihadis” and “Muslims Tell British: Go to Hell” are all fear-mongering tactics paving the way for a racist society. The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express and The Gazette are just few of the publications printing absolute trash, and what’s sad is that people are buying are buying it.
While the West continues to blow the shit out of the Middle East, our press stays silent. Why is that? Where are the terrorist headlines then? Look, I’m no expert – but if you’re relying on the British-Press to keep yourself informed, you need to do more research.
Who can we rely on to educate us? I remember being taught about the Holocaust in school and it was all numbers and statistics. Nobody dared to communicate the true devastation of war, the horrors of ethnic cleansing, the helplessness of a brutal occupation. Nobody explained that innocent civilians, just like you and me, have been endlessly butchered and terrorised.
Since then, the state of the world continues to breed corruption. The only difference is that when Western land is targeted, appropriate coverage is received. Suddenly, the world feigns empathy and outrage: god bless the chosen ones. We belong to a society which says “You are more important than those born into poverty and chaos; enjoy your new iphone”. We continue with our busy lives, searching for ways to accumulate more of what we have; blissfully unaware of those who have nothing.
Our government does a fine job of keeping us distracted; our economic system provides an abundance of things to do and consume. I am a person of privilege and have been lucky not having to think about when my next meal is coming, or where I’ll end up sleeping each night. The world around is a merely a commercial: it’s not within my reach and therefore, I don’t feel it.
Clearly, world-governments are more happy investing in murder weapons and death machines than providing safety to those who are war-torn and famished. Citizens who have nothing are seen fighting with their fists whilst their opponents fire bullets.
The devastation of the Paris attacks created an uproar because that’s not life as we know it. Not to justify the terrible attacks which happened in France, but it’s worth noting that hate-crimes and terrorism happen globally on a daily, mass scale. Rather than feeding ignorance by pointing fingers at those who share a different faith or skin-tone, maybe it’s time we held our world leaders accountable.