You are a 19 year old woman living in London. Your parents have provided you with a comfortable but not quite prosperous life. You were raised in the public school system and are entering your second semester of college. As a young woman, you tend to keep more to yourself, especially in public, focused more on dodging traffic on your way to catch the morning train for your 10am class.
On this particular day, something (or rather someone) catches your eye. There is a young man with a beard on your train. He is clutching a backpack much more closely than someone normally would, embracing it like a sick child. He is rocking front to back, not like the other passengers who rock irregularly side to side with the movements of the train. His eyes close and he is speaking in a barely audible whisper; he is praying, but not in a tongue that you recognize.
Something is definitely not right. You know something is not right. There is a young man of Middle Eastern descent sitting in the tube nervously clutching a bag. He is obviously in distress, and could be up to no good. “But wait, am I being racist?” you ask yourself. Maybe he is just having a bad morning, perhaps a family member is ill and he was up all night with worry. Perhaps his movements and prayers are not uncommon in his culture.
“It’s fine,” you tell yourself. And then you are ashamed for just assuming a young Arab male is automatically a terrorist. This is not how the schools and your parents raised you. The train stops and out of the corner of your eye you see he has disembarked from the train. This is his stop, in the hospital district. Everything really IS fine! Oh wait, “Sir, you’ve left behind your bag!”
And then the train explodes.
Just hours before that horrific bombing at Manchester Arena, Salman Abedi (obviously an American, southern hate group leader) posted an ominous warning to Twitter:
Abedi was the son of Libyan immigrants, and part of a close-knit community of jihadists loyal to Colonel Gaddafi. He was known by British security services and had recently traveled to Libya and then returned to the UK. How was this warning missed? Especially when the warning came from a man known to be a security risk? Was it because he lived in one of the UK’s well-known but little talked about “no go zones?” Was it because, as in the case of the Rotherham child abuse scandal, authorities did not want to be perceived as racist? Even more chilling, is it because Manchester’s citizens saw something but said nothing for fear of being prosecuted under the UK’s ridiculous hate speech laws?
Abedi was of the “lone wolf” variety of terrorists. Hard to track, even harder to stop. The very best defense governments have against a lone wolf attacker are the eyes and ears of an alert and wary populace. However, these same governments undermine the security of their best and only line of defense by branding anyone suspicious of an oddly acting Arab as a racist.
Abedi detonated a bomb laden with ball bearings outside of the ticket office of an arena packed with 21,000 people, and a large number of people gathered outside to collect their children after the show. A young, Arab male carrying a bag who was about to blow himself up without a doubt displayed some type of erratic behavior. There would have been police and other security people in that very near vicinity. In other words, there were eyes and ears all around Abedi as he stood outside, preparing to receive his gift of rivers and virgins. But no one said or did anything. Civilized people are now taught that to maintain civilized status, one must not judge the actions of a person, even if that person is vastly more likely to carry out a murderous act.
22 people, children mostly, were murdered in an act that could have been stopped or at least mitigated by someone alerting to his behavior, which was no doubt suspicious at the very least. But yet again, within hours of another terrorist act committed by an Arab male, British leaders lectured the world not to judge an entire religion based on the actions of a few. At least until the next time there is a terrorist bombing and the entire world, correctly, assumes it was carried out by an Islamic jihadist.
Long live The Republic.
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.