I’ve been thinking about what I should write about what’s happened in France, and I’m not sure I could. The people I trust to know all say that what the thugs in ISIS hopes to do is to do two things, divide western populations from Muslim citizens, and to provoke more violence in the Middle East.
I made a point to talk to Abbie yesterday. Abbie, whose name is really Abhusain, is the son of a Turkish lorry-driver and a Pakistani nurse. He’s third generation British. His grandfather or great grandfather on his mother’s side was a low-level functionary in the British colonial administration, and was allowed to come here in the fifties after India became independent, and after the subcontinent split into Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India.
Abbie is as secular as I am, and beyond visiting the Mosque for weddings and such, he’s as religious as anyone in Britain. Yet, whenever things like this happens, people focus accusations against him for having some blame. Which is utterly unfair. He’s more British than I am. The only thing that attaches me to Britishness is my name, my skin colour, and my family history. I’ve only lived in this country since 2011, after all. He’s lived here all his life, just as his parents have, and his grandparents for much of their lives.
Who has more of a right to call themselves British than them? Why should he have to make up excuses, or be asked to make up excuses or rejection, when I’m not asked to damn paedophile priests? It’s ridiculous that each time things like this happens, some people tell him to go home because he’s not welcome here.
Abbie and I do not have the contact now that we used to have, when we were inseparable against the world. In college, I and Abbie and Ben were an indivisible trio. He’s my friend, still, and I value my friends. I think that’s a quality I can allow myself to hold up.
I don’t know what to do about ISIS. I tend to think it would be a mistake to bomb Syria more to flush them out. I trust the people who know better than me when they say that this is exactly what ISIS wants, so that they can point the finger and say “Look what they’re doing. Fight it by joining us against them”.
The War on Terror has lasted fourteen years. Almost as long as I’ve been alive. We’ve bombed, and invaded, and warred – and it’s brought us to this point. Like Albert Einstein said: “The definition of insanity is to do something over and over again, and expect a different result”.