We Must Confront Terrorism With Reason And Intelligence

Indian students take part in a prayer meeting in memory of the victims of a truck attack in the French city of Nice at the Ma
Indian students take part in a prayer meeting in memory of the victims of a truck attack in the French city of Nice at the Mahatma Gandhi International School (MGIS) in Ahmedabad on July 15, 2016. French President Francois Hollande said July 15 that 'many foreigners and young children' were among those killed or injured after the truck attack on a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, with around 50 fighting for their lives. At least 84 people were killed after a lorry ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. / AFP / SAM PANTHAKY (Photo credit should read SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)

This blog was written in response to the televised address of President François Hollande on the 15th of July, 2016 regarding the extension of the state of emergency, the reinforcement of strikes in Iraq and in Syria and "Islamist terrorism."

Yet more acts of haste against a backdrop of electoral stakes. Reinforcing military action in Iraq and Syria? How's that for an all too simple solution? Same old Quixotism! A little reflection and common sense would do us well: the problem stems from within.

Ideology is fought with ideas, discussion, and introspection!

Let's stop for a while with the "Islamist terrorism" -- it's empty, meaningless, and favors amalgamation. And for the media it has become misleadingly seductive! But let's be clear: there are only terrorist acts. Let's stop immediately shifting the all the blame onto this massive scapegoat in order to camouflage the limits of our airplane security and the shortcomings in integration policies and the education system, as if the cause of these attacks were completely foreign to us.

Here are the possible origins of terrorism:

  • a lack of education
  • economic stagnation
  • moral seclusion
  • social exclusion
  • a lack of representation
  • an absence of professional opportunities
  • a lack of dialogue and listening
  • a rejection of others
  • discrimination
  • fear
  • resentment
  • hatred
  • ignorance

But never religion!

And these reasons are not one-sided, the fault is never one-sided!

Let's stop saying every time that they are lashing out at our Western lifestyle. What do you say when they kill people in Bagdad, Mosul, Istanbul, Tunisia? That they're lashing out against their Turkish delights?

Bomb Syria, and what next? Not only do we no longer know who is fighting who, but more than that we risk killing hundreds of innocent civilians in every dangerous bombing. Moreover, eradicating terrorism can't happen through weapons, acting this way is like cutting off the Hydra of Lerna's head. For every one that is cut off, ten more grow in its place.

Defeating terrorism is the challenge of our times and we must confront it with reason and intelligence.

To do away with terrorism, we need to go to its source. It is the result of hypocritical, cynical and vague foreign policies, of dubious and self-seeking agreements. All you need to do is follow the circulation of money in order to close the loop and understand who does what and to what ends. And then you mustn't get it wrong -- it isn't war in the Middle East that is being imported into Europe, but rather the other way around.

Many of those who perpetrate attacks in France and who slaughter and enslave families in Iraq and Syria are notably European. They are European, often of North African descent, but European above all, who integrate into the ranks of ISIS. We have therefore failed somewhere. What now needs to be done is to understand why.

And instead of demonizing them, treating them like "monsters," we must try to understand their true motives, because these people are human like us, treating them like "monsters" means excluding them from our humanity and thus avoiding the debate. It means that we have stopped looking for effective solutions to the problem, not treating the wound and thereby throwing in the towel.

Defeating terrorism is the challenge of our times and we must confront it with reason and intelligence. We must not act in the heat of the moment, feeding on the anger and the justified and legitimate emotions of the people. It is still early, too early to bring out the game plan. There is still mourning to be done, but also people to save -- injured victims, a lot of them, who are hanging onto life by a thread and who are asking to be reassured and for their families to be supported.

Let's allow people to mourn their lost ones, you will have time and other less morose and tragic occasions to prepare for your presidential race. After three unfortunate attacks in France to date, we must ask ourselves the right questions. The priority is ensuring the safety of all French citizens. Now more than ever there needs to be a discourse that unites rather than one that divides, and that plants suspicion between the lines.

Now is the time for empathy, reflection, perspicacity, and well-reasoned and intelligent mobilization.

This post first appeared on HuffPost Maghreb. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.