Beyond Manchester: The real issues of surviving terrorism.

This is an article sent to me very recently.  I thought it would be rather outlandish, but upon careful reading and consideration, it answered so many of the issues I had around our response to terrorism and our feelings of despair.  It’s like we are siting ducks.  Manchester was the last straw for me.  Targeting children at a pop concert, and the death of so many innocents just can’t be seen as “terror business as usual”.  I’m sure that some will counter with “ISIS et al. were birthed by Western policies on Afghanistan and Syria.”  I’ve heard all that before and again.  I just don’t care anymore about the so called origins of terror.  I can’t do much about the children killed by ISIS, etc. in Aleppo, except write poems about this horrible tragedy, nor can I do much about many things in life.  But I can use this blog and other sources to bring what I feel is right in the face of this continuing terrorism by a bunch of barbarians who hide behind a religion to kill and destroy cultures that they feel they can.  I am only posting a small section of this article, as I have written for permission to post this here.  I believe this is important enough, speaks to so much of our confusion around terrorism to do this.

Jane 

 

“After the terror, the platitudes. And the hashtags. And the candlelit vigils. And they always have the same message: ‘Be unified. Feel love. Don’t give in to hate.’ The banalities roll off the national tongue. Vapidity abounds. A shallow fetishisation of ‘togetherness’ takes the place of any articulation of what we should be together for – and against. And so it has been after the barbarism in Manchester. In response to the deaths of more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande gig, in response to the massacre of children enjoying pop music, people effectively say: ‘All you need is love.’ The disparity between these horrors and our response to them, between what happened and what we say, is vast. This has to change.

It is becoming clear that the top-down promotion of a hollow ‘togetherness’ in response to terrorism is about cultivating passivity. It is about suppressing strong public feeling. It’s about reducing us to a line of mourners whose only job is to weep for our fellow citizens, not ask why they died, or rage against their dying. The great fear of both officialdom and the media class in the wake of terror attacks is that the volatile masses will turn wild and hateful. This is why every attack is followed by warnings of an ‘Islamophobic backlash’ and heightened policing of speech on Twitter and gatherings in public: because what they fundamentally fear is public passion, our passion. They want us passive, empathetic, upset, not angry, active, questioning. They prefer us as a lonely crowd of dutiful, disconnected mourners rather than a real collective of citizens demanding to know why our fellow citizens died and how we might prevent others from dying. We should stop playing the role they’ve allotted us.

As part of the post-terror narrative, our emotions are closely policed. Some emotions are celebrated, others demonised. Empathy – good. Grief – good. Sharing your sadness online – great. But hatred? Anger? Fury? These are bad. They are inferior forms of feeling, apparently, and must be discouraged. Because if we green-light anger about terrorism, then people will launch pogroms against Muslims, they say, or even attack Sikhs or the local Hindu-owned cornershop, because that’s how stupid and hateful we apparently are. But there is a strong justification for hate right now. Certainly for anger. For rage, in fact. Twenty-two of our fellow citizens were killed at a pop concert. I hate that, I hate the person who did it, I hate those who will apologise for it, and I hate the ideology that underpins such barbarism. I want to destroy that ideology. I don’t feel sad, I feel apoplectic. Others will feel likewise, but if they express this verboten post-terror emotion they risk being branded as architects of hate, contributors to future terrorist acts, racist, and so on. Their fury is shushed. ‘Just weep. That’s your role.’ ”

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017, from an article published on “Spiked”.

 

 

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2 Responses to “Beyond Manchester: The real issues of surviving terrorism.”

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