Thursday, 15 June 2017

Chuckles Chat #21 Terrorism on Your Doorstep

Welcome to Chuckles Chat where great blogging minds unite to discuss the topics of the day mainly in the book and blogging world. I'll be sharing my thoughts on a topic and then inviting you all to share your thoughts. It's ok to disagree but PLEASE be respectful of each other's views! All of the comments on my blog are moderated and offensive posts ie racist, bigoted will not be published! 

This week I want to take a look at terrorism in all its forms. All over the world countries have dealt with terrorism over a generation. The PFLP 1970's hijackings, The Munich Olympics murders, The Oklahoma City bomb, 9/11, 7/7, embassy bombings, Somali pirates, Lockerbie, sadly the list is endless. The rise of Al Qaeda brought terrorism back to the fore as it sought maximum publicity from 'spectacular' attacks like 9/11. These larger scale attacks can be foiled with good intelligence services and it seems that IS have taken note and decided to encourage and sometimes arrange, lone wolf and low planning attacks such as using vehicles against shoppers and tourists and killing up close and personal with knives.

This year in January alone we have seen terrorist attacks in Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Algeria, Jordan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Central African Republic, Philippines, Somalia, Nigeria, Chile, Syria, Sweden, Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Colombia, Greece, Ethiopia, West Bank, Belfast, Cameroon, Mexico, Ukraine, Mali, Libya, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Russia, Canada, Sudan and Denver. That is not all of them and it's pretty shocking to look at. The question is how many did you hear of in the media? Speaking for myself, my answer is very few. The big death toll attacks are highlighted along with the attacks in western countries but the media do focus in on the ones that 'interest' them most. The ones close to home. In my case, the European attacks, Canada and the Middle East were in our media.

Recent times have been bad for Europe. In the last few years alone we've seen attacks in Turkey, France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, UK, Sweden...watching the images on TV each time is shocking and heartbreaking and it does fill you with fear even though you say to yourself 'it couldn't happen HERE'. We like to think that our town or city isn't important enough to be targeted, that 'better' targets exist elsewhere for the terrorist than where we live. In Scotland, we are sometimes seen as being ruled by England more than part of the UK with England so we were never seen as targets by the likes of the IRA. Perhaps we fool ourselves into thinking that terrorists want to strike at the heart of the UK government, in English cities, and that we are safe here. 

Problem is, the world has changed and IS don't care where in the western world you are, whether you disagree with your government, the colour of your skin, who you voted for or the religion that you follow. They hate you for existing and want you dead. There is no compromise, no negotiations that will stop you being their target. That does scare me, I admit it. When I'm out and about I am subconsciously looking for threats or strange behaviour. I report unattended bags to security every time I see them. If I saw someone behaving in a manner that bothered me, yes I would tell someone. Chances are I'm wrong but if I'm right and I didn't tell, would I want to watch the news and see a bomb kill people at that very shopping centre or airport? I couldn't live with that.

The UK has had a bad year. In three months we have had two attacks in London and one in Manchester with multiple deaths and injuries. It is very upsetting to see it happen in your country. I've stood on Westminster Bridge in London, taking photos as cars drove by and tourists laughed around you. Seeing that carnage really got to me because those people were doing what I did that day. Taking photos, laughing, living. And now they are gone. I've never been to Manchester but I spend my holidays in the north west of England and I've been to concerts closer to home. I've walked past London Bridge. It feels personal to see these places attacked. But is it just big cities that need to be fearful? Are the rest of us safe?

Sadly, no. There is nothing of strategic value in my town, nothing that would be much of a target you would think, and a population of under 80 000 people. But in 2007 terrorists tried to drive a car filled with explosive material into the terminal building at Glasgow Airport. They failed and suffered the only serious injuries themselves. The airport is close to where I live and I worked there for several years and one of the terrorists worked at the hospital in my town. That felt really disturbing to me. Why was this a target? I guess we'll never know. But the drama doesn't end there. On Friday/Saturday a street in my town where the second hand bookshop I go to is located, was shut off while the bomb squad carried out a controlled explosion on a home made explosive found there. To say that shook me put it mildly. It was said to be a firework device and not terrorist related but it gets you wondering what he was going to do with it. He was in court Monday. A hoax bomb was also left at a mosque in the town with a note 'you're next' a few days earlier. Connected? Maybe.

One of the things that bothers me is the hate and bile online as soon as there is another attack. Within minutes of it happening there is hatred towards muslims, threats to kill and deport them all and some shocking tweets about it. In a country targeted by IS and it's followers it is probably going to be twisted people who claim to be muslims who are responsible but it does bother me that ALL muslims are being tarred with the same brush. This kind of divisive thinking is exactly what the terrorists want to see so I wish people would save their hate for the individuals who did it. After all in 2016 a white neo-nazi psycho murdered Jo Cox, a British member of parliament in the street during the EU Referendum campaign. She was targeted because she campaigned for Remain and this sod wanted Britain to Leave the EU. What he did was NOT in the name of white Leave voters like myself. It's a pity people don't always think that way about innocent law abiding muslims who are as likely to die in these random IS inspired attacks as anyone else. 

Do you feel safe where you live? Are you paranoid about your safety? Are you in a country threatened by terrorism? Are you worried about your safety or that of your family in public places? Have you been to places that have been attacked before? What do you think the media coverage of these attacks? What do you think of what you see on social media about the attacks and Islam?


  1. Great post my friend. I try not to live in fear but pretty much stuff like this can happen anywhere. Although not technically a terror attack, some idiots shot up some Republican members of Congress yesterday who were practicing for a charity baseball game. I think the US is full of more hate now towards it's own people than it has been in the last few years. Whether you like him or not, I believe it was the recent election that has soured everyone and everyone seems to hate everyone else now.

    I feel horribly when things happen all over the world. No one should have to live in fear or deserves to lose loved ones in such vile and stupid manners. I also hate seeing entire population categorized as threats. It all boils down to evil people, I don't care who they are or what they look like - it has no real makeup in their evilness if you ask me. Social media fosters they horrible attacks and I believe people will put things in writing they never have the guts to say in person. Stay safe pal no matter where you are!

    1. I agree with you about the attack on the Republicans. It was chilling the way the shooter was said to ask which party was there, before opening fire. Sounds like he wasn't planning to attack Democrats. Elections do bring out division but that last US one was the worst I've seen. Racists and idiots felt they had some kind of green flag to spout their bile and I do think some politicians on each side have to share the blame. Our recent referendums and latest election have opened divisions badly and I don't like the way things are now. If you give your opinion on politics online you are trolled by angry people who have different views.

      Agree with all your points. Certain people are evil in all communities. We're hearing more of so called muslims attacking because of Al Qaeda and IS encouraging nunbskulls to kill people. Today another guy with a knife was arrested outside Parliament but thankfully no one was hurt. It's sickening. Lets hope we can all stay safe in these dangerous times.