Not even two months after the horrifying terror attacks in Paris, one of the most popular tourist attractions in historical Istanbul received a wake up call early on Tuesday morning from a suicide bomber. Ten people died in the attack, most of them tourists from all across the world, visiting the remains of Istanbul's ancient hippodrome.
The ancient monument which the attack happened in front of, once used to stand as one of the seven columns of the Great Amon Temple in Egypt's ancient Thebes. During the time of Byzantine Emperor Theodosius, the monument was taken from its original location to stand as one of the two pylons marking the beginning and end of the Roman Hippodrome where horse races were carried out.
A similar one exists in Rome, and those who visit would know how much the two resemble each other. Some historians claim the monument to be Istanbul's oldest, having been transported to Istanbul around AD 390 where it still stands, right in front of the renowned Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet).
When something happens too close to home, so close to the heart, unfortunately, one begins to question the motives, the reasons behind such attacks in a much more scrutinizing way.
What is it that made terror so widespread in the world in a decade in which scientific progress of such great magnitude has taken place? Why is it that despite so much momentum in the world, that one side seems to lag behind? Is it a situation that we need to accept and learn to live with? I do not think so.
One of my friends who called me today to check if I, and everyone I know was fine here in Istanbul said that it is so sad that we need to live with a fear of extreme terrorism these days. I believe it requires a completely different approach. As long as we stay silent, do not change, try to run away from it and only pray for it to cease, I do not think any terrorism in any part of our world would ever vanish.
After giving careful thought to the escalating terror in myriad places, a horrible reality that I witnessed over and over again growing up in Istanbul, I began to question the roots of such movements and attacks.
When I say roots, I do not necessarily mean where and how these movements began but what causes such extreme inhumanity. How can people become suicide bombers in the name of a religion they know nothing about? My inquiry led me to a single major answer: lack of education.
I think the answer, and the root of all evil we have been witnessing in the world recently, no matter how cliché it may sound, lies in the same setting. It maybe is the exact same mentality that motivated millions of soldiers in world history who went to war, dates back to the dawn of civilization.
It is when the person lacks knowledge but more specifically the proper education necessary, that it becomes easier to manipulate their thoughts, their motivations and brainwash them with a certain and most of the time dangerous ideology. I think the only way to combat terrorism is a long term fight with lack of education globally.
Thus, I believe each and every one of us needs to work hard, with no rest but hope, to shed light on each and every single dark spot on this planet where children lack access to education. Only that way, we may get closer to a world where our children can live with no fear of extreme ideologies and terrorism.
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