By Kate Perdikis, President of the European Student Think Tank. The EST Board stands with Perdikis’ statement and shares its solidarity and love with victims of terror.
After this morning’s events in the European centre of politics, Brussels, the world is shocked. The past year has proven to be challenging for European citizens in the wake of intense waves of terrorism. Naturally, Europe is not the only continent to have been affected by this global fundamentalist cancer; Turkey, Nigeria, Kenya, Denmark, Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, France, Cameroon, Lebanon, Pakistan… It is estimated that over 386 terror incidences occurred in 2015 across the globe. Regardless of the traditional religious affiliation, GINI index or political status of each nation state that has been affected by an act of terror, the action of terrorism is what unites all these nation states and ties them to one another.
An act of terror purposefully takes our power away. Our power of social interaction, physical mobility and personal freedom; it is not just a bomb going off in a distant country, but one going off in our homes.
After Paris, many people took to social media in support of the victims. Many people offered a more critical voice by highlighting the disproportional media coverage of events in the Western world versus events in the rest of the world. Others began campaigns of hate and slandering against the Islamic community. Others tried to rebut the hate speech. Everybody has their own opinion, and we will always have our own opinions when it comes to controversial matters in the public sphere of life. But what we can do is not to lose the power of our humanity.
I am appealing to each and every one of you, European or non-European, A-political or politically active, atheist or agnostic; place yourself in whatever group makes you feel comfortable but do not forget your humanity. Do not forget you are not powerless to fight this scourge of terror, not by using violence or hate speech, and victimizing Islamic citizens and refugees, but knowing who the real enemy is; political extremism. History has taught us that any form of extreme belief systems has always resulted in genocide, war and hate crimes.
Don’t hide yourself away out of fear; let us show the world that being united in diversity is the truest form of protest against any oppressor. Being different from another is the only thing we all truly have in common.
Kate Perdikis, President of the European Student Think Tank.