Why We Shouldn’t Be Afraid of ISIS

Why We Shouldn’t Be Afraid of ISIS

Before we take to Facebook about our views on ISIS and how we need to go to war, can we at least get real about what we’re actually up against?

Since the London bombings of 7/7 that tragically, killed 52 innocent commuters in 2005, we haven’t seen an Islamist terrorist attack claim any lives in the UK until 2013, when Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich.

So since 2005, more people have died of bee stings in the UK than terrorism.


Is terrorism new?

Hell no. From the late 60s to 2001, there were 36,000 shooting incidents and over 10,000 bomb explosions, according to the Cain database. Over the course of 33 years, more than 3,500 people were killed, 1,707 by the IRA.

So why does it seem bigger than ever? One word: media. Since the creation of the Internet in 1995, technology has revolutionized at a rapid pace. If a bomb goes off or a hurricane begins, you’ll know in a matter of minutes. Facebook statuses will be updated, people will be marked “safe,” opinions will be tweeted, and apps like BBC news will notify you. We live in a world where we are constantly surrounded by freedom of speech on so many different platforms that all major news will surround us for days.

When one country suffers, we all do. In earlier weeks, the Eiffel tower turned off its lights to commemorate those lost by the tragic incidents. But as France turned their lights off, the world turned theirs on, to show their unity and support by lighting their dominant landmarks across the world in France’s colors.


Is ISIS a threat?

Rather than create scenarios and fear over what ISIS can do, let’s talk about what they can’t do. They can’t invade Paris. They can’t invade the UK. It can’t launch an air war against the United States. It can’t even hold its ground—ISIS expert Will McCants estimates the group has lost between 20 and 25 percent of its territory in recent months. The reason terrorist attacks are created is to produce fear—fear that you’re not safe and your government can’t protect you—and fear makes people do stupid things, and it makes countries do stupid things too. ISIS’s real weapon is fear. ISIS can’t defeat America or France—it can only hope that they make us so afraid we do something that helps them or hurts us. Unfortunately, this is already slightly happening.


There’s a controversial debate over refugees—mostly over whether or not the influx of refugees is an obvious way to hide and smuggle ISIS fighters in. Whether it’s true or not, this reason in itself is enough for some countries to close the door.

However, as Zack Beauchamp writes:


“ISIS despises Syrian refugees: It sees them as traitors to the caliphate. By leaving, they turn their back on the caliphate. ISIS depicts its territory as a paradise, and fleeing refugees expose that as a lie. But if refugees do make it out, ISIS wants them to be treated badly—the more the West treats them with suspicion and fear, the more it supports ISIS’s narrative of a West that is hostile to Muslims and bolsters ISIS’s efforts to recruit from migrant communities in Europe.”

Do you see what I’m getting at? The more people who turn against Muslims, the more they feel secluded and isolated, creating a perfect opportunity for ISIS recruiters to come along and say “Us or them?” However, ISIS would probably prefer the latter, as it alienates Muslims and helps ISIS portray itself as defenders of its faith rather than as a gang of medieval thugs, extortionists, and murderers.

The main issue in all of this is no matter what, people need to remember that terrorism has no religion. The reasons the refugees are running away from Syria is because of ISIS. Don’t do what they want us to do.


Why shouldn’t we airstrike Syria?

Although we don’t know the exact amount of ISIS fighters, the chief of staff to Kurdish president Massoud Barzani, told Patrick Cockburn of The Independent that ISIS had at least 200,000 fighters. In Syria alone there is a population of 22.85 million. So around 0.88% of the population is ISIS fighters. So what about the Syrians that aren’t ISIS fighters? When we drop these air strikes what about them?

Yes, Iraqi forces with the support of airstrikes have recaptured 20-25% of Iraqi territory and halted the ISIS advance. But there’s no mention that ISIS has also advanced in some places, for example, capturing Ramadi. Is it because they are the easiest way to show that we are ‘doing something’? Have air strikes ever succeeded in militarily defeating an enemy without ground operations and without a political strategy?  Is it really the case that are all other policies have been tried and failed?

It is difficult to see what can be gained from air strikes. The skies above Syria are already congested. The contribution that Britain would make, even if we suppose that air strikes are useful, is marginal. Yet there is a lot to be lost by air strikes.


Featured photo credit: 2014_05_20_tour-montp_097z by Doc Searls via Flickr via

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9 Harsh But True Illustrations that Show Our Changed Society

9 Harsh But True Illustrations that Show Our Changed Society

Let’s face it.  We are living in a digital age, and there is absolutely no turning back. One of the biggest influences on society these days is social media. It affects us both positively and negatively. Social media was originally designed for people to share interesting facets of their lives with their friends, but it has become so much more than what it intended to be. It is now a medium for information to pass around the globe. In many cases, people first learn about current events through Twitter or Facebook before hearing about them from conventional news sources.

We also rely on technology for nearly everything we do. People these days seem as if they can’t go anywhere or do anything without their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. They need to be in constant contact with others via electronic devices.

However, there is also a downside to be too connected to social media and electronic devices. We are too dependent on them, which make us oblivious to what we are doing to ourselves. Being too connected can have a negative effect on our lives and the society as a whole. Here are 9 true illustrations that show how our society is negatively impacted because of the use of technology.

1. Facebook is eating away at your time.

Facebook is eating away your time

    How much time do you usually spend each day on Facebook or other social networking sites? Is it hindering your productivity? Do you find yourself wasting time to a point where you don’t even know where it goes? If the answer is yes, Facebook might have eaten away at your time.


    2. We’ve become “Likeaholics.”


      When you are posting something on Facebook, are you doing it just to see how many of your friends will give it the proverbial thumbs up? This illustration shows that some people are treating “Likes” on Facebook as if it was a drug they needed to inject into their bloodstreams.

      3. Our electronics have priority over our lives.


        Given a choice between your dying phone battery or you dying, which will you choose? In this case, the man in this illustration chose to charge his phone over to sustain his own life. As a society, we need to be more careful of our priorities.


        4. Families aren’t spending quality time together.

        mother baking

          Here is a mother making holiday cookies, but what are the kids doing? They are not making cookies with their mother. Instead, every one of them has their faces buried in their own electronic devices. Television used to be what parents use to babysit their kids. Now, it’s a tablet, phone, laptop or video game that does the job.

          5.  We’d rather record someone than help them.


            A lot is happening in this illustration. A black man is drowning and asking for help. One person has a gun pointed at him. The other person has their iPhone pointed at him and is recording the scene, but is not interested to help this man.


            6. Society is sleeping, it’s sleeping its life away.

            sleeping your life away

              Time is money. After we have wasted the long period of time on social media, we are losing the most valuable currency we have – our time in this world.

              7.  Despite all the technology we have, we still want what someone else has.

              wanting what someone else is having

                There’s an old saying that goes, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” This illustration shows that despite all that we have, we are still not satisfied with our lives.


                8. Sensationalism still sells.

                free expression

                  With the information overload that exists today, the media still looks for sensationalism. Here’s a woman who feels she has something important to say, but the media only cares about her because she is naked. Would the news media still have microphones in front of her if she wasn’t standing there topless?

                  9. In the end, with all of this, we are still killing the planet.

                  gun to mother earth

                    This last illustration argues that despite all of our technological gains, we are still polluting the earth as if we have a virtual gun pointed at Mother Nature. As we build bigger cities and higher technology, how much more damages can we continue to do before putting our lives at risk?


                    Featured photo credit: Jens Johnsson via

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