Again, we have tragic news of the terrorist attacks ongoing in Belgium. Multiple attacks in a coordinated strike that have left roughly 30 dead and hundreds wounded. This comes only months after the Paris attack which killed hundreds and wounded many more. The instinct will be fear and then this will turn to mourning and then for many will turn to anger. This anger will likely and unfortunately be directed at the hundreds of thousands of immigrants coming to Europe fleeing the violence in their home countries. This anger is misdirected and will only turn to create a further sense of disillusionment and anger within these populations. This marginalization will further leading to radicalization and additional attacks if we are not careful.
We need to really look at the reasons why these attacks continue to happen and the reasons for them. Poverty, marginalization, fear, mental health and much more are all playing into the hands of these organizations and members hands in gathering lost individuals for their cause. Like the Japanese, Germans, Spanish and Italians in the middle of the 20th century many people were convinced and had their anger turned into a movement which caused destruction and devastation. We are seeing that now with ISIS and other groups using isolated individuals who may or may not be Muslim to conduct their actions for them. The policies we have as countries are creating a sense of isolation for many and creating a sense of ‘other’ for many.
Looking at the Paris attacks in November we see almost all of the individuals who had conducted the attacks or planned it were from Europe; born and raised. This idea that there is a army of Jihadists coming to Europe in the refugees is wrong and its wrong to place the blame on a large group of people who are attempting to escape the violence. The BBC reported about some of the members “Both Brahim Abdeslam and Abaaoud lived in Molenbeek, a rundown district of Brussels with a substantial Muslim population, which is described by some Belgian officials as a “breeding ground for jihadists”.” Here we see that the desperate of poverty and marginalization is affecting the individuals and their thoughts. The government clearly knows that there are issues of poverty affecting Muslims in particular in these areas but allows it to continue. Thousands of immigrants come and live productive lives even in these areas which are desolate and run down. Clearly the governments of Europe and North America need to do more to reduce the distrust and welcome these people into their societies.
The policies and the actions that we take today have repercussions down the road. The past policies of European colonial leaders, modern leaders and individuals are all playing their roles in the repercussions that innocent individuals face today. We as citizens and leaders need to make sure that we take a longer look at the actions we take and the repercussions. We need policies that are accepting of individuals and culturally sensitive. We live in a global world and a need to view policies on a larger scale then the countries we inhabit. The European Union needs to get off their political asses and create a viable refugee program that is fully funded. The flow of individuals is not going to stop until there is a sense of stability in the world. For the time being they need to introduce funding to Greece and the border countries to create a fully functional refugee program.
As we look to the casualties we see today we need to remember that the actions were of individuals and not groups. Even if their allegiance is to ISIS they made the decision to conduct themselves in this way. We cannot blame a entire culture, religion, people for this it boils down to the action of individuals. We also need to take a step back and really think about the world we have created and want to create. Our foreign policy is putting us in danger and negatively destabilizing the rest of the world which is leading to these issues. We need to think if there is a place for us to conduct military action and what the plan is for after. We cannot simply remove a government and then leave with out head held high while the state we left behind is in ruins.
I hope the people of Belgium well and hope that they are able to come to justice without the further necessity for violence.