On Tuesday the 22nd of March 2016 we woke up to the news of terror attacks in Belgium. Following from these atrocious attacks, France lit the Eiffel Tower with the colours of the Belgium flag. Facebook introduced a filter allowing you to show support by changing your profile picture to the colours of the flag. This happened with Paris in 2015 also. We stood united.
But the same cannot be said for the terror attacks in Ankara, Turkey. Ankara has been hit by a series of terror attacks both this year and last, resulting in the deaths of 190 people and leaving over 1000 injured. But Turkish flags weren’t raised, we didn’t change our profile pictures, and we didn’t say “we are Ankara”.
Why did we not? Why do these lives somehow matter less to us?
Perhaps its fear. Turkey isn’t close to us, our cultures are different, perhaps we don’t feel like a bombing there could lead to attacks in the UK like the ones in France and Belgium did. But what is the same, what is always the same with any terror attack, is the lives lost. Every single life has equal weighting. To report on attacks within Europe more than those outside (some of which we barely even hear about) is to say European lives matter more than non-European lives. It is to say the deaths of Europeans is worse than the deaths of others. This inherent racism has to stop in order to unite humanity; we are all humans who love and want to live our own lives freely. ISIS are a threat to the UK, to Europe, and to the rest of the world. This has been made evident by the attacks from ISIS and other groups. Extremism is threatening the somewhat limited peace there was.
When a terror attack happens in the west, all of a sudden everybody is an activist on social media, everybody cares and wants something to be done. But when millions of refugees come hoping to escape these atrocities not many people have a kind word to say. People don’t want them to be left in a war zone, or in refugee camps, but they also don’t want them in ‘their’ country.
If you care about people, it shouldn’t matter what part of the world they come from. It shouldn’t matter whether you share parts of your culture with them. Because what matters is that they are people. And if everyone stands united, maybe peace could one day be achieved.