In the wake of the harrowing events of last Friday 13th in Paris, we must ensure that we as individuals, as a country and as a culture, respond in such a way that will not let the seeds of fear grow into hatred and divide us from within. This kind of a response would play directly into the hands of these terrorists.
Giving into this barbarism will not protect any of us and it will certainly not solve any of our problems.
The European Union must not lock the already half-shut gates of its borders and the UK must not retreat further away from its friends in the EU. United we are far stronger than we are apart and alone, and in times like these it is imperative that we remain strong.
Nigel Farage’s comments on the subject of these attacks are abhorrent. It is vital that we do not let him and others like him use this horrific event to further their own domestic political agendas. In such uncertain times there are still at least some things that are certain: it is not refugees that have caused this, nor is it Muslims that have caused this. ISIS is a gross perversion of Islam. It is more a cult of brutality than anything to do with religion. British Muslims are quite certainly not “conflicted”. Attempting to associate these terrorists with the 3 million Muslims living in Britain is ludicrous and appalling.
Closing our borders, building higher fences and slamming gates in the face of fleeing refugees is certainly not the answer to our problems. These people (and yes we would be well to remember that these are actual people that we are talking about) are fleeing fascist regimes and the brutality of ISIS – to turn them away is again letting ISIS win. We must not let them win. We must all stand united against them as one.
We need to tackle the root of this problem, and we need to act quickly.
The UK can do more. For example, we are currently giving the least amount in resources to the ground forces of the Iraqi Kurds, a group which was systematically persecuted by Saddam Hussein and his regime. Last year David Cameron promised he would help to arm the Kurdish military force who are now defending against ISIS in Iraq, however we have not seen much evidence of this. (This is despite the fact that our government effectively arms the Saudi Arabian government and therefore enables the hideous human rights violations that occur within this country.) We should be doing much more than this, because apart from anything else, so long as these wars keep on going, refugees will continue to appear on our doorstep and building higher fences will do nothing to stop that.
The UK, and the West as a whole, needs to respond to these problems with all of the heart and vigour of the values we purport to live by, in order to give the best possible level of help and protection to those fleeing war-ridden countries, and in order to take steps towards solving the issues our countries face.