For every victory, a bigger loss follows


On the morning of Friday the 13th, 2015 we took our first major victory in Syria against IS – Jihadi John had been killed. A few hours later the word victory was replaced with shock and utter sadness as 130 people were killed on the streets of Paris. On Friday we celebrated that Belgium’s police had captured Salah Abdeslam, today those celebrations have turned into fear and panic as at least 31 people have been killed in yet another attack against Europe’s values: democracy, humanism, tolerance and freedom.

Europe is at war, but not against an army of people, but against an uncontrollable spread of a violent ideology that day by day absorbs and convinces more desperate Muslims. This ideology has been able to attract what once were peaceful, educated, friendly people. The actions of Europe at home and abroad have turned individuals against Europe itself. Before Brussels, I have always thought the best approach is to educate and attempt to offer an alternative to Muslims. Today, I have realised Europe has missed that opportunity, leaving us with only more violent and ugly alternatives.

As the people of Europe we are getting used to seeing flags at half-mast, an increased police presence and pictures of death and destruction from our own and neighbouring cities. Europe is united in remembering the dead, but it also needs to remain united in this war.

Words can do little against nihilistic, cold-blooded and heartless terrorists, but through a united love and sense of hope — something the terrorists don’t have —we can change and protect Europe. It is something we must never let go of. The moment we lose this feeling, is the moment the terrorists have won. They act out of fear, desperation and hate and prey on these feelings in others. One survivor said: ‘everyone was running … I’m still shaking’.

Numbers of the dead and injured will soon become stories, losses and heartache for everyone in Europe. For politicians to place ‘plasters’ over this issue is an offence against those who have lost their lives — real action is needed. Europe’s fight against terror needs to begin before it is too late. We are at war, yet only we, the people of Europe, are showing any bruised knuckles and fighting spirit.

Future attacks are inevitable, possibly using chemical weapons, but so is our continued will to fight. So I ask you, please, continue to fight in this war, as the day we lose hope and love is the day we lose Europe.

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