Some unrelated (but I guess kinda symbolic) photos that I took a couple of weeks back at Kakola prison in Turku.
Things are not as black and white as we often like to think. Something very tragic happened and people decided to make it into a symbolic event, "a crime against the whole of humanity". But what about the countless horrible things that have happened throughout history all around the world? What makes this tragedy so much more tragic than the rest? I happened to read this article by Elie Fares called "From Beirut, This Is Paris: In A World That Doesn't Care About Arab Lives", and she contemplates:
When my people died on the streets of Beirut on November 12th, world leaders did not rise in condemnation. There were no statements expressing sympathy with the Lebanese people. There was no global outrage that innocent people whose only fault was being somewhere at the wrong place and time should never have to go that way or that their families should never be broken that way or that someone’s sect or political background should never be a hyphen before feeling horrified at how their corpses burned on cement. Obama did not issue a statement about how their death was a crime against humanity; after all what is humanity but a subjective term delineating the worth of the human being meant by it?
Humanity, in its simplest definition referring to "all people" in Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Aren't muslims also part of that humanity? Such a thick wall has been established between the Western world and the Middle East. All springing from the event of British and French colonization after World War I. The Ottoman Empire was partitioned and distributed between the two powers - Britain claimed Iraq and Palestine, while France took over Syria and Lebanon. I am obviously not an expert in this subject but it would seem only natural for a society to react in some way or another when it is suddenly taken over by an outsider. In this case it has initiated a strong counter-reaction encouraging a strong sense of nationalism creating radicals who are ready to fight for their nation until death. But what people often forget is that this of course does not apply to the entire population of these countries.
Then there is the U.S. with its obsession to intervene in everything. A person in my position with rather deficient knowledge of the seemingly complex relationship of these two parties can only try and guess what motivated the U.S. to get involved, but the most obvious answer is the thirst for power disguised as "fighting for justice at the behest of the local people". My father together with his family was among the people who had to leave their home as refugees during the civil war. He is a pretty rational guy (as well as a man of science) and I trust his judgement of the situation. He told me that in his (and many other Iraqi's) opinion the United States' intervention and removal of Saddam Hussein only left a power vacuum, which lead to chaos - a power struggle between the Shia and Sunni population. At least when there was a strict Sunni dictator there had been order (not saying that repression is a good thing but the reality is that his removal made things even worse, spiraling out of control). I can understand that many Iraqi people would subsequently have hard feelings toward the U.S. - I mean, who are they to have a say in how things should play out? An outsider with false motives should at least not be allowed to make a decision in that big of a matter.
I feel like the problem is not so much differences in Western and Middle Eastern thinking - individualist and collectivist nations can live side by side in harmony. And not even a matter of religion. But both of those things do of course create a good basis for a hateful relationship, which, when fueled by an evil image of the Western world through imperialism, has created radicals determined to eliminate the enemy in the name of God. This of course works the other way around as well. The Western media provokes a state of panic and mistrust by constantly announcing about muslim terrorists, using language as a weapon. The point here is not to point fingers and blame anyone, it is to understand the origins of how things got to this point. That is the only way to approach this situation with any hope for a positive outcome through understanding. A counter-attack will only continue the evil spiral of hatred and revenge, which is no solution in itself. What that solution might be seems like an eternal mystery due to the complicated nature of the situation. But I hope that someday we will eventually figure it out and learn to live with each other in peace.