To Combat Terrorism, Love More
Published on Huffington Post Blog, TheWorldPost on March 23rd, 2016
A blast shakes the Brussels’ airport. I travel a lot and I imagine myself being thrown by the force of a bomb on the floor. My luggage scattered across. I do not worry about my clothes, my bags and my belongings. I scramble to my feet and run for the exit. Panic, mayhem, death and blood around me.
I can see this situation clearly in my head while I am sitting in front of my computer in Connecticut. Calm, chilly and sunny spring day is outside, no sign of trouble or worry in my world; nature does not know what we humans can bring upon each other. Nature is out there, beautiful and crisp, full of promise that the beauty it offers is peace.
I am no stranger to pain and suffering and the struggle to survive. I lived in Bosnia in the ‘90s when the war raged on once peaceful streets, where nature, so beautiful was overshadowed by the atrocities that us Bosnians committed against each other, all for the sake of obtaining power. Even now 20 years after the war has ended, common Bosnians bear the scars this conflict inflicted. They carry the hatred towards each other fueled by the memories of the lost loved ones, the life they lived in prosperity prior to the war.
Young people hate each other for the lack of prosperity now, 20 years later, for the denial of the life they should have had as Europeans, education, travel, chance for a better life. All this is in question, 20 years later the scars on the outside are no match for the scars on the inside.
People in the Middle East have been dealing with wars, destruction and loss for decades. Children are born into poverty and they do not understand why their homes are being destroyed, why they are losing parents, family and friends. They do not understand why they are not entitled to life they can glance through computer monitors and TV screens on rare occasion when they can access technology, the lives that people in Europe and America have. Even their dignity is taken away as they are forced to flee their countries for the unknown of the Serbian woods, for the unknown of the Greek islands and finally the unknown of their new homes in the Northern European countries.
These young people do not understand the hostility they are met with. They ask themselves what they have done. They do not understand why they are being blamed for the terrorist attacks. They’ve done nothing except been shot at, bombed and prosecuted.
Make no mistake that the young people who go through these horrible events in their lives have two paths that they can take. If they are lucky, their new country will adopt them, they will get educated and integrate into the society, they will call themselves lucky and move on promoting their origins, spreading the words of hope and love, knowing that in life things are not guaranteed.
The second path can be a very different path. If they are shown hostility and hatred from the very people that should have stood up early and protested the treatment these young Middle Easterners were given in their own country. These young people will have a chance to grow up to be angry; they will come to resent everything that their new home represents. This group of young people can become a fruitful ground where ISIS and other terrorist organizations can find recruits.
I was a lucky one. I was shown kindness and love by my new country. I was loved and accepted by my American family, my American friends. And in my heart, I feel love, and I want to spread that love. I want to accept all the races and nationalities and religions who cross my path. For when they feel my love and my acceptance, there is a chance that they will not become terrorists, Trump supporters or members of other hatred-inspired organizations.
If we choose to accept and help and encourage the new generations of the world, we will breathe peace and love into the nature around us. The nature’s beauty will grow within us, and it will inspire us, and terrorism will no longer have access to souls that would accept the message of hatred.
So for the sake of the peace in the world, love more!