After the recent Manchester and Kabul attacks, it seems like the world is growing increasingly darker and scarier. Is there no end to terrorist tactics in sight? Terrorism seems to be utilised by every extremist group in the world, from white nationalists, the Taliban, to ISIS.
The Manchester attack hit a little too close to home for a lot of us. Every other week we read news articles about Syria and Afghanistan losing hundreds of its citizens to airstrikes or suicide bombers. But we see these places as a sort of far away land, war-torn, and having little in common with our own homelands. What Manchester proves is that we are all vulnerable to terrorism. So, perhaps we should use this tragedy to join together to fight against extremism.
A lot of people are using the Manchester attack to score political points. People on the right denounce multiculturalism, claiming it isn’t working, while people on the left are nearly too afraid to criticise anyone for doing anything anymore for risk of offending people. Others are claiming the Muslim community are not doing enough to prevent extremism. However, Manchester’s suicide bomber was reported to terrorism hotlines by three separate people, one being his Imam, and he was also allegedly banned from his Mosque. So people did try to report him through the appropriate channels. It remains unclear how he slipped through the authorities’ net.
We want governments to “do more”, but what exactly does that entail? Do they mean reintroducing internment (imprisonment without trial)? That didn’t stop the IRA’s terror campaign in the latter half of the 20th century, which saw many bombs going off in Northern Ireland and England alike, resulting in great loss of life. In fact, internment spurred a lot of terrorist activity on, as torture was used on prisoners. Human rights were completely eroded, and many of these prisoners had no links to the IRA whatsoever. We need another strategy.
Jeremy Corbyn believes that the war on terror is not working, and intervention in other countries leads to destabilisation. His counterparts denounced his comments, expressing their disgust at him using such an atrocity to add to his campaign. But what is the point in just sitting back and doing nothing, not analysing why and how people are radicalised?
22 people lost their lives due to the senseless actions of one man. Some were parents, other teenagers, one little girl was only eight years old. Music concerts are supposed to be fun events. To set off a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert especially, with her brand of pop and a legion of young fans who are predominantly female, was a well-calculated attack on a certain part of our society.
Hopefully the world will come together to end this use of terrorism. The actions of these brain-washed individuals are horrifying, but we need to work together to understand why these attacks happen and how to prevent them. Now is a time for unity more than ever.
However, I am still not sure how governments can come up with an effective preventative strategy to combat extremism. One of my favourite TV shows is called Person of Interest and in this show, the US government have a machine, whose artificial intelligence is capable of predicting terrorist attacks. It uses CCTV footage to analyse behaviour and it gives the government social security numbers of people of interest for them to investigate. But this is a clear breach of privacy- the government is spying on its citizens. However, maybe privacy rights need to be sacrificed in order to ensure the most basic need of safety is met? While this technology remains a fiction, it is an interesting idea, one which I am sure governments across the globe are already exploring.