“It’s had been so long since I’ve seen Lucile. I couldn’t wait to meet her again. We had so much to talk about; Australia, Vegas, and her new hunk she met in Prague. I couldn’t wait to see her reaction when I tell her about my new placement in Nice next year. We met at 9pm in our favourite café we used to visit in our teens, although, I was ready to go an hour early and was waiting around like a lemon. She was early too –clearly we’re both a bit eager! You can’t blame us though. Her gap year felt more like a gap decade. We ordered our regulars and chatted and chatted, as if time didn’t exist. I was sat opposite her, closely analysing her incredible stories of her travels, we were bouncing off each other like old times. In the middle of her story of the dodgy bell boy, her face dropped and she let out a shriek quicker than the crack as her coffee smashed to the ground, burning our feet. My blood ran cold as the sound of gun shots were drowned out by the cries of the café. Instinctively we fell underneath the table. A sickening spray of bullets poisoned the air. I couldn’t breathe. There wasn’t time breathe, to gather my thoughts, my mind was drunk with adrenaline. I buried my head into Lucile’s lap, a warm liquid drizzled onto the back of neck I thought it was coffee. It wasn’t. Time of death: 21:27. I will never find out what the dodgy Ibizan bell boy snuck into her hotel room at night. I will never get to tell her about my new placement in Nice. I will never get to hear her contagious laugh again. I will never forget the sound of her cry as the bullet pierced through her body. I will never unsee the sight of my best friends blood soaked into my skin. I will never forget this Friday the 13th.” – Eloise, aged 22.
On Friday 13th November Paris was attacked simultaneously by Islamic State militants. This act of terror has horrified the nation and the entire world. Now the question that everyone is asking and debating; what to do next? Now you would think that our government would at least have even a small amount of intellect, but clearly not. The leader of our country, David Cameron, has put forward a strong demand to join the US, Russia and Germany in bombing Syria in order to eliminate ISIS. He states ‘The attack on Paris could’ve been London’ and ‘this will make UK much safer’. Yes, Cameron because destroying their infrastructure, causing mass destruction and murdering thousands of completely innocent civilians is definitely not going make IS angry. The people involved in ISIS are disturbed, brainwashed and out right evil to say the least. They thrive off violence and terror – the clue is in the name. By causing bloodshed a demolishing the land lives them a perfect excuse to strike back. Airstrikes on Syria are not ending ISIS, it is only fuelling them for something else.
We can all agree that any act of terrorism is truly a disgrace. But what is terrorism? Oxford Dictionary definition says ‘the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aim’. In the 9/11 attack, New York, 3,000 innocent people lost their lives. In the 7/7 attack, London, 52 died and 300 hundred injured. And recently, the 15/11 attack on Paris 130 people have tragically died due to terrorism. Thousands of innocent people died due to bombings and other vicious acts of violence. So what do we do in retaliation? The exact same. The fact that us western countries somehow think that doing the exact same as what the terrorist do is okay because it’s ‘official’ or ‘authorized’ or even as pathetic as justifying our bombing of civilians because ‘they did it first’ is downright despicable. ‘The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong in the world’ – Dr Paul Farmer. A small amount of Syrian citizens are associated with ISIS. In fact 77 percent have completely negative opinions towards them, 10 percent have mixed opinions and just 13 percent positive. Only 0.00064 % of Muslims are terrorists. So, the vast majority of Syrians are against ISIS yet we are still murdering them. And when they try to flee their war-torn, terrifying country – risking their own lives and families lives- to a safer country, we persistently deny acceptance and equality. We won’t even provide enough water or place to sleep. Here are a few examples of people in Syria and the conditions they are forced to attempt survival in:
Syrian boy drinking from floor
Here is a member of ISIS preparing to execute these innocent Syrian civilians
May 10, 2012: People run carrying a burnt body at the site of an explosion
“I was woken up by the delightful sight of my son, Hassan, tugging on my shoulder at the crack of dawn. ‘Wake up mummy, mummy wake up!’ he yelled with glee in his voice. I shrugged him off ‘Hassan, go to sleep its early’. ‘No, mummy you got to wake up it – ‘
‘Hassan! I need to rest’.
‘But its Aunty Tira… She’s here!’ he said almost ecstatically.
My mood quickly jolted and any ounce of tiredness fell away. There stood on the corner of the pavement was my dearest friend, Tira. I wanted to run up to her and give her a massive hug but I couldn’t help feeling somewhat embarrassed of the state I was in. My home was simply and large umbrella underneath an olive tree. Surrounded by my fellow neighbours adding -up too roughly twenty of us – and the floor was a week’s worth of food and rubbish strewn where we lay. I tried to make myself look somewhat presentable with urgency and scurried over to Tira. I didn’t care about what she thought, she’s my oldest friend so I know she won’t judge me. As I ran up to her our eyes met and I for a moment I felt such nostalgia of when were kids playing tag and hide and seek. Her smile was so wide and bright. Her arms widening to embrace me but then I heard the squeal of Hassan’s voice ‘Mummy run!’ Tira dropped to the floor arms cupped round her head. I turned around and almost in slow motion a cylindrical metallic object hurled to the village less than 3 miles from here up the hill. The plane was heading straight towards us – well the city that lay behind us. I hurried to my youngest children; Ola, Bassel and Hassan. Ether they were small and light enough for me to carry in my arms or the adrenalin and terror pumping through my veins gave me some sort of super powers. My oldest two Jawaad and Mais were already helping up Tira. There was a safety shelter less than a mile from here but there was no way I could get them in time. My body couldn’t do anything other than sprint. What else could I do? Before I knew I was launched a good 10 feet in the air, losing two out of three children in my arms. I knew that my leg was broken at least. I didn’t want to look in case it wasn’t there. The olive tree no longer stood. Nor did Tira, Jawaad or Mais. I feared the worst and the worst it was. My only daughter wept, however this provided me with comfort that she survived. The weeping stopped. Even though the city behind be was being blown to smithereens, there was complete silence. On that day my best friend, my sister, Tira came to visit me after a long year of travel and lost her life due to Russian bombs. I later found out that she came to help me and my children to freedom by planning a boat journey to Germany. On that day I lost my leg. On that day I lost four of my children. On that day I lost my home I lost everything. And every day I where I went wrong.