Why do We Attack the World?

Whenever an explosion shakes a city, the same scene is repeated. I see eyes fastened to the breaking news on the screens. I hear the whispers of my colleagues: let’s hope the perpetrator is not an Arab; let’s hope he’s not a Muslim; we don’t need more…

I hear them and share their hopes; but the events quickly contest our wishes. It is no longer a secret that the attack on the world is an appalling specialty that we are unique in.

I know quite well that the man who ran over the tourists here or there does not represent his country or the confession to which he belongs; that he did not obtain official permission to commit his crime; that he was wanted in his country before being included in international lists of wanted individuals; and that the threat he represents to his hometown is more dangerous than his threat to the distant crime scene.

I know that intolerance is not confined to a certain people, a sect or a country; and that frenetic persons are sons of many different springs. But we have to admit unequivocally that we are the record holders of world aggressions. And we have booked ourselves an invincible position in the Guinness Book.

I do not exaggerate dear reader. The sight of tourists bleeding to death as a result of an attack perpetrated by a person coming from our region hits me in great confusion. I don’t know why I feel the duty to apologize to a Chinese family, who happened to be in Barcelona, or a Japanese man who was strolling in Nice, or a German who was on a visit to Luxor. This is awful.

Who gave us the right to violate maps, states and cities? Who gave us the right to assassinate young people celebrating life in Istanbul? Who gave us the right to assassinate the residents of the twin towers in New York?

The invocation of injustice here or there is just a curtain to hide a deep desire to kill the other; a deep desire to eliminate those whose features and affiliations do not match ours. Let’s suppose that injustice was done; do we respond to it by inflicting even greater injustice on innocent people? Talks about the world’s hatred of us are not true.

One cannot deny limited harming practices that can occur sometimes in the West in response to our rude performances, but they certainly do not rise to the level of death banquets that we organize at different and far-flung theaters.

Those, who know the West, are aware that the law there has sovereignty and priority that benefits even the advocates of hatred. Many know that Arab and Muslim communities enjoy freedom in Europe often lacking in their homeland.

Why do we attack the world? Is it because it chose to sail towards the future, while we are determined to sail back to the past? Is it because it invented the plane in which we travel? The car we ride? And the cancer medicine we use in our hospitals?
Then what is the validity of this hatred towards the West when we wish to see our children and grandchildren graduate from its universities?

Why do we attack the world? Is it because we have failed to build modern states… to achieve development… to provide employment… to guarantee freedoms and consolidate the rule of law?

Do we see in the progress of the other a defeat to us and a threat to our existence?
Does the solution lie in detonating ourselves or instead coming out of the tunnels in which we have long chosen to reside?

Is it true that we are horrified by the multiplicity of colors, choices and opportunities and we seek to preserve the one-color world that we perceive as the guarantee of our existence and the continuity of our identity far from any interaction or enrichment?

Is it true that we are alarmed whenever we hear the bells of the new era ringing? The bells of science, technology, medicine, ideas, culture, education and music…

Why do we attack the world? From where did we bring this huge amount of hatred? Why are we tempted to collide with the world instead of living with and within it?

Why do we favor explosions over dialogue? Death over interaction and settlement? Rubble over accommodation in common homes? Ashes over multiplicity? Why do we prefer to retreat instead of extending our hands to peace? Why do we choose the recipe of murder rather than dialogue and recognition?

We cannot continue to attack the world. This policy means destroying our societies before destroying a cafe, museum or a tower in other people’s world.

Roving killers assassinate their homeland while they have the illusion of attacking other countries.

Those countries, which seem fragile, are able to live with the danger, because they are states and institutions that commit mistakes, correct them, reconsider their calculations and promote their capabilities.

It is time to put the war on extremism as a first priority in our life. It is imperative to eradicate the extremism dictionary from homes, neighborhoods, schools and the different curricula. The flow of hatred feelings on the screens and social media must be stopped.

We must ask ourselves about the culture that promotes the rise of this tendency to attack the world. In the absence of a daring rational confrontation, we will sink even further in mud and blood and we will produce more roving killers.

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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