The threat of terrorism is a terrifying thought. It’s in the name.
An act of terrorism is specifically designed to frighten as many people as possible, and therefore it hurts far more people than those who are killed or injured directly in an attack.
It is a tragic waste of life, and the loss of brothers, sisters, mothers and friends can never be made light of.
With the recent attacks in Manchester and Westminster we are all shocked. Of course it is natural to be afraid when you know there are individuals living in our communities, shopping at the local Tesco’s and sharing our public transport who are poorly or evil enough to hurt people that they don’t know, and who are seemingly unable to protect themselves.
At concerts, on the tube, in the street… it is a sickening thought that you can go from oblivious normality to a nightmare in seconds.
Sometimes I feel truly frightened to know that I live in an age where people will blow themselves up to make a misguided point. I’m here to tell you, we don’t have to be crippled by that fear.
There have always been bad people, and there has always been senseless killing. When my Dad was growing up, the troubles in Northern Ireland were the backdrop to the death of over 3,600 people. My grandmother lived through the second world war where she lost her darling fiancé Lionel. 60 million people lost their lives.
My great grandmother’s lifetime coincides with the 1st world war, 50 million casualties, and 17 million dead.
Obesity, poverty and traffic accidents all pose a greater threat to us than terrorism in the West, but we don’t shake when we enter the car or shudder as we walk past the confectionary aisle.
Death and tragedy is a part of the human landscape, but we are blessed to live in a time of great medical advancement where we can expect to live a longer lifetime than any of our previous generations throughout 6 million year of human history. In Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, Western intervention has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and just 51 days ago our very own Theresa May was in Saudi Arabia negotiating arms trade with the people who supply weaponry to ISIS.
The loss of innocent people in the Manchester and Westminster attacks is heart-breaking and can never be forgotten, but don’t let those few radicalised people keep you locked in a prison of fear.
Look back throughout human history and you’ll see that a 21st century westerner is living in comparative safety and comfort, despite the many social and political problems we face. The aim of a terrorist is to frighten, don’t let them win. We have a better chance of a long and happy life than billions upon billions of people before us, and the billions living in poverty and warzones in the global South to this day.
Condemn terrorism. Hate it. But you don’t have to be afraid.