OPINION: Fear vengeance not minorities

Arnav Damodhar | Staff Writer


In a series of unfortunate events, we hold someone accountable.

That is human nature.

That is when we are most vulnerable and depressed. We point the finger at someone and we make them pay. We believe that through inflicting harm upon them, our pain is alleved. That is fury. That is wrath. And that is vengeance.

On November 14, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks took place in Paris. Three teams of Islamic terrorists who affiliated themselves with ISIS bombed a soccer stadium, opened fire on a restaurant and stormed into a concert hall, killing 89 people. Over 129 were killed and 352 wounded in this heinous act. France mourned for three days. People lit candles and attended church masses to pray for those who were affected. The entire world showed its support for Paris by wearing black ribbons and saying words of support and carrying flowers.

And on Monday November 16, France struck back. After being subjected to terror and violence, the French army carried a series of airstrikes on Syria. Over 30 bombs were dropped in a densely packed urban area, and the extent of the damage is still unknown. Though the terrorists were their primary targets, they slowly strayed from that and eventually their target included everyone.

Despite catching the culprit behind the attacks, the French government continued to engage in these strikes. In the words of French President Francois Hollande, “We are not committed to a war of civilizations, because these assassins don’t represent any civilization. We are in a war against terrorism, jihadism, which threatens the whole world.”

Hollande’s actions didn’t stay true to his words. Through engaging in such an airstrike that targeted an urban location, the French government held the Syrians accountable for the actions of ISIS.

Time and time again, we resort to vengeance to make others atone for what they have done. We claim that through doing this, we are protecting ourselves. We think that through such a course of action, we are ensuring nothing like this can ever happen to us again. And in the process of protecting ourselves, we are endangering the lives of those who are not even involved.

We hold a majority accountable for the acts of the minority.

On September 11, 2001, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The culprit behind this attack was Osama bin Laden. The whole world was shocked as a response to such a brutal act. And in response to this, the American government and NATO launched a series of airstrikes and deployed troops and started what seemed to be a war. Amidst the quest for catching the ones that did us harm, almost 30,000 innocent civilians perished. And the common man believed that anyone who was a Muslim was a terrorist.

500 people mobbed a mosque in Chicago until the police forced them out. A Pakistani man was murdered in a grocery shop in Texas. A gas station owner who was a Sikh (a follower of  a religion native to India which is perceived by many to be affiliated with Islam) was shot dead by a man in Arizona because he was wearing a turban.

During times of crisis, we blur the lines between fact and fiction. We can’t tell apart smoke and substance. Due to pain and hurt, we become callous and we in turn are apathetic. We hold millions responsible for the actions of a few.

It is a crime we cannot afford.