The aura of fear is like a thick fog that descends on the soul at every minute alarm; fear of the unknown, fear for the future. Like a recurring decimal, we witness series of attacks almost everyday. Not wild animal attacks but human to human. We've resorted to killing and injuring ourselves without any form of justification. From mass killings to the single untenable death. These disastrous events have claimed millions of lives. About 1.7 people die every second- approximately 2 people per second and from my calculations, I found out that out of the deaths in past 70 years, about 5.7% died of terrorist-related activities. Approximately 1 in 20 deaths, 1 every 11 seconds, 5 every minute, 327 every hour, 7,900 every day, 55,000 every week, 220,000 every month and 2.6 million every year. To say this is worrisome is not only an understatement, but also a downplay of actuality. We are being exploited by terrorists and it doesn't seem to have an end.
Who is a terrorist?
Basically anyone who perpetrates unlawful acts, intimidates people for political relevance or selfish gains. In the course of this, casualities-injuries or deaths- are often recorded. Statistics have shown that over the course of history, about 200 million people have died from terrorist related activities, with The Jewish dictator- Adolf Hitler contributing substantially to this figure, about 30%.
Like Adolf Hitler, there were terrorists whose vices have altered the course of history and there are terrorists, preferably extremists, whose menace have plunged some major cities into chaos, political upheaval and disarray. The world barely takes a nap from the travails of terror before being disturbed by its shrill cries in major countries, particularly across Europe and Africa. The upsurge of various terrorist organizations-comprising mostly extremists- spanning all over the world is an indication that there's no end in sight to terrorism.
Who is an Extremist?
An extremist is one who holds extreme political or religious views- Fanacism, a zealot. And unfortunately, religious extremism that has led to terrorism is on the high rise today, which has led to the creation of terror groups;
Founded by Mohammed Yusuf, a well-educated fellow who didn't fail to make his hatred for education obvious by playing down the theory of evolution, arguing against the formation of rain through evaporation and the shape of the earth. His belief led to the creation of the infamous group which he named BOKO HARAM meaning "Western education is prohibited" in the local Hausa dialect. He met his end in one of the military raids that same year, captured and subsequently killed. Unfortunately, this led to the emergence of a more ferocious leader who took up the reins of power after Yusuf's death and has been terrorizing the North Eastern part of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun till date. Boko Haram is reponsible for the deaths of over 20,000 people and has displaced over 2,000,000 people.
The ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND THE LEVANTE: Initially established in 1999, they however gained global prominence when they drove the Iraqi government forces out of key cities in Iraq, capturing Mosul- A major city located in Northern part of Iraq. Led by Abu Bakr Al-baghdadi, a former islamic cleric with a doctorate degree in Islamic studies from the university of Baghdad, who was announced as the then leader of ISI- Islamic State of Iraq, a seccession of another infamous terrorist group, Al-Qaeda In 2010 following the death of his predecessor, Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi. ISIL is responsible for the abduction and killing of various nationals spanning across different countries, coordinated attacks across Europe and the displacement of about 1,000,000 people.
Translated as "The Foundation." The militant sunni islamic group was founded by Osama Bin-Laden in 1988 with his intention to fight the Soviet Union invasion in Afghanistan around that time. They are responsible for the death of over 6,000 people. Half of these deaths come from the 9/11 attack in the US. The group is currently led by Ayman Al-Zahwari after Osama Bin-Laden was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011 by the United States Navy SEALs.
The above extremist groups alongside Taliban and Alshabaab are ranked as the top deadliest out of the over 200 terrorist groups all over the world.
Dean Ornish, an American physician and researcher once said;
"In an era in which war and terrorism - at home and abroad - are often based on racial and ethnic and religious differences, rediscovering the wisdom of love and compassion may help us increase our survival at a time when an increasingly divided country and world so badly need it."
The first few lines of the above quote highlited the problems we face today and like he said, rediscovering the wisdom of love and compassion may help us increase our chance of survival by stemming the tide of terrorism. It is apparent that all perpetrated crimes are devoid of love and it is the missing piece needed to complete this puzzle. Its importance cannot be overemphasized.
I was flicking through breaking news accross different news channels when I stumbled upon an eye-catching story about Pablo Escobar- one of the richest drug lord in history- on France 24. All through Columbia, his name spelled terror. He robbed thousands of their lives and his schemes destabilized the country. Since his death, his son, Sebastian Marroquin has taken it upon himself to preach love, to reunite all those negatively affected by the sins of his father and it has worked out quite well. Recently, he reunited with the son of Columbian justice minister, Killed by Pablo 33 years ago. Jeorge Lara had hitherto nursed grudges and seeds of vengeance against him and interestingly, they are now good friends. Marroqiun goes about preaching the message of love till date.
Like him, we need to rejuvenate the compassion ingrained within us. It is high time we prioritized love above other all other things- Political relevance, monetary gains, selfish interests- that have been detrimental to our society. Our safety and well-being has been sacrificed for the aforementioned and only when we all begin to think deeply about the consequences of our actions, snap into consciousness and place love at the helm of our mind affairs will we be able to save the world. The status-quo cannot afford to be maintained. Remember, you can do nothing about the past, but you can change the future, you can make the world a better place for the generations to come.
© Ogundare Opeyemi