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Europe's Egocentric Terror Grief

By       Message Finian Cunningham     Permalink
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Reprinted from Sputnik

Terrorist attacks in Brussels
Terrorist attacks in Brussels
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Not at issue here is consoling victims of terrorism. What is at issue is truthfully trying to understand how this scourge of violence is now haunting Europe.

And not just Europe, but in many other countries which have suffered much more terrorist violence and for longer, carried out by the very same terror groups.

Europe is in shock and grieving, so emotions are understandably to the fore. This week more than 30 people were killed in terrorist attacks on the Belgian capital, Brussels. The city is also considered to be Europe's political capital, due to it being the headquarters for the European Union administration. With more than 270 persons injured, the death toll could rise in the coming days.

The horror follows an even bigger carnage on the streets of Paris only four months ago, when 130 people were shot to death or blown to pieces by suicide bombers who ran amok in the center of the French capital on November 13.

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Both atrocities have been claimed by the Daesh terror group, whose stronghold is in remote parts of Syria and Iraq. Although, in the two European attacks, most of the terrorists involved are known to have been born in Belgium -- albeit of Arab national heritage.

There is, however, a cloying tendency in Europe's public response over its latest terrorist victims which appears to be an indulgent, egocentric mourning that is bereft of any bigger cognizant picture.

By that we mean that Europe somehow thinks itself unique in suffering this violence as if it is a vile visitation levied on its streets for no rhyme or reason.

The trouble with much of the reaction to this week's terror attack in Brussels is that it seems solely on the level of raw emotion, with scant reasoning or analysis about how this terrorism is instigated at its roots. By who and why?

Holding vigils, shedding tears and vaguely demanding "an end to terrorism" is all very well. So are calls for "solidarity" between European countries.

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Terrorist violence may be mindless in its indiscriminate brutality towards innocent civilians. But terrorism is often not mindless in how it originates as a cultural phenomenon. There are specific political causes, protagonists, financing networks and weapons routes that need to be addressed.

As with the earlier Paris attacks, large crowds of people have this week taken to the center of Brussels to hold vigils and memorials for the victims. But the public discourse is still on a solely emotional level.

Landmark buildings have been lit up at night with the black-yellow-red tricolor of Belgium's national flag. The Eiffel Tower, Brandenburg Gate and Trevi Fountain are among the famous monuments showing illuminated solidarity.

But where are the searching public questions illuminating how or why this terrorist upsurge is happening?

Political leaders have voiced sympathy and solidarity with Belgium. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for a "union of security," while French President Francois Hollande said the massacre in Brussels was "an attack on the whole of Europe."

These are just empty platitudes being articulated by political leaders, seemingly couched in "solidarity."

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Author and journalist. Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal (more...)
 

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