It is all over facebook, #PrayforParis. Yet, Paris wasn’t the only city attacked this week. There were bombings in Beirut and Baghdad as well. Finally, finally – it has hit me. We are at war, and I am completely ignorant about who the enemy is and how I can help. I use the hashtag. I change my profile picture in the Paris Flag filter. I share articles on the topic that explain the horrific events of this week. I message friends who live in Paris and Beirut. I click ‘going’ on Facebook events. How is this helping? Is this the best way to help?
I can’t help comparing this war to the ones I am studying in my folk revival music history course, WWII and the Vietnam War. Unlike WWII and Vietnam, posters and bombardment by the government on how to help – ‘Uncle Sam Needs You!’, ‘ ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, and every family impacted on the block – I feel disconnected from the War on Terror. Since the invention of photography, film, and television – all of the 20th century wars have been experienced in video clips and images. Watching a war on the television is not a new experience, yet I don’t understand why I feel so disconnected from the War on Terror. I think I’ve been waiting for someone to grab me and shake me and say, ‘Sammy, this is important. This is a huge contemporary issue- and we all need to get involved. We are all impacted, the entire human community.’ At times I forget I am a fragment in the human community, mostly feeling isolated behind my computer.
But last night it finally hit me – the War on Terror is our generation’s Great War. I was overcome by this desire to do something about it. But HOW?! I rolled around in bed feeling useless and first world, and decided that I would write this column- and hopefully, in the comments, someone would cure me of my ignorance.
As one of my friends pointed out to me, we all can help in our unique ways. In this ultimate fear of trying to do what is needed, and not in an imposing Western colonizing way, I feel the Academic in me looking to the experts. A development of our modern day society- we have experts. Not just have experts, we have experts on experts on experts. I could spend hours sifting through erudite Academic papers on terrorism and case studies, trying to become a partial expert, but, personally, I would rather the expert-expert-expert address me. That’s what the government is doing right now – gathering a group of passionate experts to solve this state of emergency. I just want an expert to clearly explain how to help the Anti- ISIS group in layman terms. I don’t want to read more articles that send another wave of fear and sadness into my heart, a different form of terror. I don’t want to drop more coins into a donation box until I know why- and not from some profitable media company that is benefiting from my clicks.
What do you think about the War on Terror, ISIS, and the attacks? Send us your opinions. Tell us what you’re doing, or what you think should be done! Let’s discuss.
Image from here.