Any hopes that March 22 would be a Tuesday that fell into the ordinary rhythms of baggage claims’ rumbling and shuffling lines were disrupted as reports billowed out of the Brussels Airport. Prefaced with the word “Breaking,” the news hit that Belgium had just suffered a strike of terrorism, targeting civilians in the middle of their travels; barely over one week later, the dead continued to be tallied. As their biographies seep into the press, we mourn those lost—and at the same time, breathe two words: “not again.”
The staff of The South Texan met to discuss recent incidents of terrorism, while remembering those whose lives have been taken in them. In so doing, we would like to submit that while similar attacks appear to be becoming more common—or at any rate, more high profile—it is better to be aware of the causes behind them than it is to misapply suspicion. In the wake of large-scale terror attacks, we recommend not allowing the frequency of disasters to make one callous. Rather, they should strengthen resolve to say that life has worth.
Angel Castillo, photographer for The South Texan, observed: “Terrorism has always existed, just under different names.” He observes that while Al-Qaeda was once a primary source of fear for those who had lived through the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, today more anxiety is often drawn from ISIS.
The group, which fashions itself as the “Islamic State” has been prolific in chaos. A chart from CNN, last updated on March 22, pinned down 75 events in 20 countries, excluding the group’s holdings in Iraq and Syria. The listing tallies terrorist attacks that, if not directly carried out by ISIS, were inspired by the group. Their influence has scraped across the map: from Paris, whose November attack was the worst incident of civilian casualties in the city since World War II, to the December shooting spree in San Bernardino that appears to have taken ISIS as a model of action.
Aki Peritz, a former counterterrorism analyst for the CIA, wrote in a November 14 article for Slate, “I hope my assessment is wrong. But if the ISIS leadership in Syria has command and control over its followers in Europe, as the French president has asserted, we in the West should expect more of these attacks. There are grim times ahead.”
However, in accounting for this, Samuel Galindo, reporter for The South Texan, observed that these atrocities should build up a response: resolve against them. “They attempt to torture, plunder, and destroy every force that stands in their way—every force that is determined to stand up for justice. However, those who proudly serve for the cause of terror must understand that there will always be those who proudly serve for the cause of freedom,” Galindo summed.
In navigating grief for Brussels, and other victims of terrorism, the staff of The South Texan recognize that the need to mourn has become more frequent. However, at the same time, we hold what those who have died to kill have not invoked: that life is valuable, worthy of being mourned and of being defended.
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