“At the peak of the troubles the UDA had 40,000 members and nobody in Dublin worried too much about them.  So what is it about ISIS that is so scary?”

In the wake of the Brussels attacks the Twitter feeds all over the world are once again using the tragedy to spin their own agenda.  Whether its the morons in Britain First with their xenophobic ‘Told You So’s blaming local muslims (whose shops they rush to on Christmas morning when they realise they forgot to get cream in for the pudding) for the deaths of people in Belgium or their crony Katie Hopkins, a vile person who seems to enjoy hurting people, saying its the result of welcoming Syrian asylum seekers.

Muslims feel they need to speak up against Daesh

Muslims all over the world feel pressure to speak up against Daesh where Christians outside Ireland feel no pressure to speak up against groups such as the IRA – Photo Credit: byronv2

So of course Dubliners worry that we will be next.  But lets just get clear on what we are worrying about.  Because up until this was explained to me I believed the spin from the American media and the UK tabloids.  9/11 left a really strong impression on me, so I believed the media and I worried all the time that ISIS was coming to get us.

But listen…

The world is safer than it has ever been.  You are safer than humans have ever been. You are not under threat from ISIS.

And I do realise that if a bomb, any bomb, went off in Dublin I would be scared by that event and without doubt negatively impacted in many ways but do I worry about it? No.

Because there are far more likely scenarios that I don’t worry about either.

My favorite?

An Irish cow is more likely to kill me than ISIS.

A big soft nosed slow moving bovine is more likely to kill me in Ireland than ISIS. Do I worry about cows? No.  In fact I actively seek them out when I see one to give them a pet.

Lovely gentle cows kill more people than Daesh

Lovely gentle cows kill more people than Daesh | Photo Credit Oli

Even in really dangerous countries, like Brazil for example where 53,000 were murdered last year, the majority of people live hassle free normal lives.   There are dangerous places and dangerous scenarios of course but overall the world is a safe place.

However the media don’t want you to know this.  They need to sell papers and need to keep you stuck to 24 hour news stations in order to sell the advertising space they need to keep their jobs.  And some of the media (FOX, SKY) are owned by men who are extremists in their own right and who want to see Islam blown off the face of the earth leaving all the lovely oil for them.  Fear sells.  There is no news value in headlines that say “Grand day today, nothing to report”.

The papers and broadcasters harp on about muslim extremists trying to kill them but did you know out of the top ten bombings that have taken place in the United States only one of them was a muslim and he wasn’t even part of ISIS or Al Qaeda, he was just pissed off with life in general.  In fact the most dangerous group of people in the United States in the context of terrorism are Christian Extremists.  Timothy McVeigh who bombed the City Hall in Oklahoma killing 168 people in 1995 did more damage than any muslim bomb has ever.  Are the American Media banging on about Christianity (which by the way can also be manipulated to condone murder)? Nope.

Timothy Mc Veigh the Oklahoma Bomber

Timothy Mc Veigh the Oklahoma Bomber

Timothy McVeigh and most of the other nine from the top ten worked in secret, gave no warning and their bombs were a surprise.  He did in one day what it has taken ISIS years to do in Europe.  ISIS have killed less than 200 people in Europe.

Oklahoma City bombing memorial

Oklahoma City bombing memorial

Why does that matter here? Well ISIS aren’t going to surprise us.  We know they are at this.  We have been warned and we are taking precautions.  The Irish police have been investigating Terrorist cells for over forty years and to be honest from what I can see they are pretty good at it.  On the other side of the water is Scotland Yard and they are really really good at it.

And everybody is on the look out for ISIS cells.  Whole government agencies are dedicated to this task and despite what the media would have you believe 95% of muslims are on the look out too. And the other 4.999% are probably just tired of being asked stupid questions.

But look this is all understandable.  Up until a few weeks ago I was scared too.

Its how they kill that has us shitting ourselves.  For most people the thoughts of being blown to smithereens on the LUAS or shot to death while shopping with our kids just seems so terrifying.  Thats what ISIS know best, they understand that we are afraid of them and they use it to turn us against muslims.  They want more recruits in the west and the best way to get them is to get people to start blaming muslims, and the young muslim men will feel angry at being blamed for something they didn’t do and lash out.  Its only one step to under the wing of an older understanding extremist thinker.

The number varies depending on whether Trump is telling you but its generally accepted that there are less than 4,000 members of ISIS in Europe.  And many of those are just big mouths who make themselves scarce or say its their mums birthday when volunteers are wanted.   ISIS want the loners, the losers, those with no prospects and no future.  Worst of all they want the kids who know that about themselves and they give them one way to change their self image.  Join ISIS, get some status and respect and become immortal.

But why are we handing them these kids? These are our kids.

But even so they have 4000 of them. 4000 people is tiny.  If you turned up to a concert and there were only 4000 people standing there you would realise how small it is.  We have 50,000 Gardai, 500,000 people in the GAA and nearly 800,000 water protestors to put it into perspective.   A friend told me recently that at the peak of the troubles the UDA had 40,000 members and nobody in Dublin worried much too about them.  So what is it about ISIS that is so scary?

Because they are killing people and statistics don’t mean much when you are standing in a station and a bomb goes off.  It does cross my mind when a young dark bearded guy in a winter coat stands beside me on the LUAS.  We are all always going to think about it.  In the same way we duck and hope the car will make it under the low barrier at the recycling plant (they’ve measure it you will make it).  We will always think about it when we see these guys.  But remember he will see you too.  He sees you see him, he sees you flinch.  He might see you move carriage.  This will hurt him.  And so you are disenchanting him.  You are making him angry at you for tarring him with the same brush.  So angry he needs to do something.  You are giving him to ISIS.  

ISIS depend on this fear.

The American and British governments won’t appease the fears of the people, they need that fear to justify bombing the middle east.  But aren’t we lucky the British didn’t use that tactic when the IRA were picking fights with them?

ISIS cells are not about ISLAM.  ISIS recruit young disenchanted youths and give them a purpose and a sense of masculinity which they have lost by being denied jobs and educations.  Belgium has a huge ghetto problem, as does France.  Unlike Ireland where people of all faiths live side by side, shop together, work together, go to school together… in France and Belgium that is not the case.  So you have a marginalised community feeling left behind, feeling emasculated and lashing out – ISIS give them a sense of belonging.  So far we don’t have gangs of muslim youths feelings disenchanted.  Lets not create them.

ISIS are very clever as they make the very people they target recruit for them.  Think about it, they bomb Brussels and anti-muslim tweets begin.  Muslim shop owners are asked to apologise for the deaths caused by ISIS.  They apologise, condemn it but doesn’t really see what it has to do with him, an Irish man living in Dublin – I mean does my mother stop people to apologise for the Oklahoma bombings?

The key to stopping ISIS is to love each other, whether we have a faith or not.  Smile at each other in the street, say hi and treat all our young people here in Ireland the same.  Be kind to each other and don’t blame each other for the actions of people thousands of miles away.   Love might not sell newspapers but it is the key to life.   Let the fear go and concentrate on keeping our country as safe as it is by sticking together as Irish people regardless of where we originated.

We have the key to stopping ISIS, we just need to use it.

About The Author

39. Photographer. Student Journalist.

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