Terrorism is an ugly beast and it has been growing for a long time. It was created by people who wanted justice for what was done to them. These were legitimate victims themselves when it all began. Terrorism is deeply rooted in pain and sadness that has grown into immeasurable anger and hatred for humanity. The terrorists you see today were exposed to that hatred and it was instilled in their minds. Their anger and drive are deadly, and they want to hurt all of us in the worst ways. Think of it as severely misguided retribution.
What makes our terrorists so deadly today is the fact that they lack the same purpose as the founders. Without a purpose, we can't negotiate to save lives. The suffering these men and women have seen was caused by the ones they look up to, but they have been brainwashed to believe that the rest of the world is the enemy.
Terrorism is not limited to one religion or one ethnicity. It's easy to say that all terrorists are Muslim or Arab, but where are the facts? Do you really believe that terrorism can be measured quantitatively, by simply looking at "statistics" published on social media? Our stereotyping is just as dangerous as terrorism itself. Don't be fooled in believing that isn't something they are counting on.
A person's belief system is the core of who they are. Religion is the center of many peoples' lives and it is a very powerful concept, which makes it so easy to attack. People have been conditioned to feel so strongly about their religion and to believe that all other views are bad. Objectively, all major religions teach peace and love. All major religions have also been 'tied' to extremism.
If you believe that terrorism is a product of Islam, you are sadly mistaken. Religion is a powerful tool and these terrorists have learned how to manipulate it to get what they want. They know they can pull support when they use the right names and language. The same tactics are used in politics.
The history of terrorism is complicated in a lot of ways, but it's important that we take the time to look at the facts. Terrorism is the product of immense suffering and it will continue to breed the same. If we want to see the end, we have to look at the whole picture. We should be angry at what created this mess and the ones who continue to distort who the real enemy is.
Stand with Paris today, but don't forget the rest of the world in this fight. Someone is taking their last breath as you read this because of terrorism. You may not hear every name in the news, but their lives matter too. We are all in this together, and we should all stand as one.
Written by Sarah Haney