In recent days, in Australia, we have seen the largest raids in our history on terror suspects. We have seen tougher anti-terrorism laws introduced and then passed by our senate. Our screens are full of heartbreaking, horrendous, utterly incomprehensible reports of violence by extremists overseas and we hear repeated time and time again that the threat of terrorism against us here is high.
The world feels like it is in turmoil and it’s easy to feel afraid as a result of this. Let’s face it, when we hear that police have found evidence of a credible threat by terrorists on our shores it IS scary.
Lately, because of all that’s been going on here, I’ve been thinking…
What is the real cost of terrorism? Is the cost of terrorism, the threat it makes against the lives of the people we all love? Or is the cost of terrorism much more insidious than that? I’ve seen the news shots of people running for their lives in Iraq, of men handcuffed on front lawns in Sydney, of swords being removed from properties, of the police rushing towards our parliament. I have no words to express my abhorrence of terrorism, but I’ve seen and heard other things too.
I’ve read about the young man who lived through persecution in Afghanistan only to survive and escape to a new life and supposed safety in Australia. Last week his photo was mistakenly plastered over our newspapers as a suspected terrorist and he now fears to leave his house and yet again sees the world as somewhere that is not safe for him or his family. I also heard the news that a local mosque was egged following the terror raids and people being accosted in the street based on their appearance. Hearing these things, I think that the cost of terror is something more than the lives taken by evil people with a faulty ideology.
The real cost of terrorism is something so much more insidious, because it requires our cooperation to be successful. The real cost of terrorism is that it bullies us into changing who we are deep inside. The whole point of terrorism is to induce terror, to make us believe that the world is no longer a safe place for us. Terrorism’s goal is to so fill us with fear, that we abandon our moral compass and do whatever we need to do to feel safe. Terrorism wins, when we let it change us, when we let it dictate to us how we will treat those around us, particularly those who are different to us.
So, we have a decision to make; will we let terrorism do its work? Will we allow the horrendous acts of evil people to change our basic respect for others? Will we allow it to stop us from being kind to people based on difference? Or will we choose respect (regardless of difference)? Will we choose to see others with an open heart (agreeing that everyone needs kindness, friendship and acceptance)? Will we choose to let our moral compass be bigger than our fear so that even if terrorists were to manage to take our lives, they wouldn’t have taken our soul? Let’s be people who refuse to cooperate with terror.