Terrorism has become a “trend”.
On September 11, 2001, nearly 3000 people were killed when the Islamist extremist group Al-Qaeda hijacked airplanes and forced them to crash into the World Trade Center in New York City. This attack is forever immortalized in human history as the 9/11 attacks.
In November 2015, about 137 bodies were recovered from all-over Paris, France during the aftermath of several coordinated terrorist attacks perpetrated Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL).
On June 12, 2016, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida became the scene of what is considered to be the one of the worst hate crimes known to mankind when 49 homosexuals were mercilessly shot down by a member of the ISIL terrorist group.
And more recently, on July 15, 2016, 84 people were killed when a radicalized truck driver rammed his vehicle into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Paris and started to shoot everyone in sight afterwards.
The list can go on and on, and it can be expected that more events will be added to this dreaded list.
There’s no denying it. Terrorism is present all around the world. It is also always viral on social media networks, and it always makes the headlines in news reports.
These trends have taken millions of lives and the culprits of the said atrocities proudly behold their kill lists as badges of honor all the while believing that they will be rewarded in the afterlife for their “noble mission”.
This is the sad reality that we live in: we live in a world where fear and terror claim the lives of countless innocents.
What makes it even more sad is that we use violence to counter this violence.
The War on Terror, as coined by former United States (US) President George Bush during his speech regarding the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, is the international military campaign that seeks to prevent and combat terrorism on a global scale.
It cannot be denied that the campaign has been successful in countering several planned terrorist attacks over the years – bomb plots in countries such as the US, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Canada among others have been foiled, effectively saving thousands of lives.
Apart from this, there have also been some major victories against terrorism. During the struggle against it, the international community was able to free themselves of powerful figures in the terrorist realm such as Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad Head Abu Musab al-Zarqaw among other extremist heads.
While the war on terror has proved to be effective in certain aspects, the use of violence and armed force to counter terrorism calls for some scrutiny.
The armed struggles against extremist groups have also led to countless casualties – both in the opposing side and on the side of the innocents. In the battlefield, civilians are scattered due to fear and confusion, and in the end, most of them usually lose their lives in the aftermath.
Furthermore, every single victory against terrorism only seems to strengthen and provoke them even more.
A primary instance for this is the fact that the death of Bin Laden gave birth to ISIS, a group considered to be much more dangerous than its predecessor Al-Qaeda.
Why is it that even though they are opposed on a global scale, terrorists are still at large and intend to carry out their “noble missions”?
Why is it that even though their death tolls rise, extremist groups never seem to falter?
Perhaps it’s because armed resistance and struggle can only dispose and stop terrorists, but can never actually kill terrorism itself.
Terrorism is born from radical interpretations of ideologies and dogmas. The actions of ISIL are the results of the extreme belief that anyone who is not a Muslim is the enemy and must eliminated.
The infamous Ku Klux Klan in the United States stemmed from extreme White supremacist ideologies. The said dogma led to the deaths of hundreds of African Americans by lynching.
Taking all of this into consideration, it seems that while we can win hundreds of battles against terrorism, we can never truly win the war. At least, not when radical ideologies still live.