When I was a child, I had been to Syria. I didn’t see any warfare or soldiers. I only saw people enjoying life, even though they were poor.
A 9-year old boy approached my mum and gave her a flower. Firstly he kissed it and then gave it to her. They started talking and the boy told us that he has a sister my age and two other brothers. Why do I remember all of this now? Just because I can’t stop thinking what this little boy is doing now. I don’t want to believe that he is either dead in a civil war or may have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Either way it is hard for me to even contemplate.
Interpreting the first scenario, it means that we failed as citizens of this world. We are a generation who experienced and still experiences the ‘War on Terror’, afraid that the next victims might be us. We are the post-9/11 generation which potentially might become a post-WW3 generation.
A generation that used to share the values of liberty, democracy and brotherhood, but we failed to integrate them practically into the EU and unexpectedly our dissatisfaction turned us into racists, ignorant and haters.
We saw little children dying on the seashore and still we were fiercely pushing those people out of Europe. We didn’t want to share our luxury smart phones and comfortable beds with them. We see them dying every day in their countries and we are applauding the people who are creating such destruction in the Middle-East.
Interpreting the second scenario, it means that he was a vulnerable young man who was converted to terrorism. It means that he was approached by Islamic radicals and extremists to join them. It means that he became a soldier of the ‘Holy War’ which is anything but holy. It’s unthinkable to conceive that he might be an executioner of harmless people, or the one who might have caused pain and death to thousands of innocent civilians.
Nonetheless, I would like to send a message to the westerners who accuse all Muslims. I am not going to justify this with the mainstream argument that not all Christians are KKK members, so not all Muslims are ISIS. Terrorism has no nationality.
As a generation we are obliged to do some thinking and implement certain changes. We have to be the change we want to see in this world.
Antonia Frangou, via email