From Paris to Tunis, from Bangkok to Garissa and the Nigerian cities. Stories of terror and blood that have stained indelibly the year which has just come to an ended. This year will be remembered for the quality leap made by the international Jihad. No more organized cells, coordinated by a kind of “dome”, but unleashed dogs, trained to attack and kill indiscriminately. A century seems to have passed since Osama Bin Laden’s qaedists focused their attacks on places which were symbols of progress and of Western power, from the Twin Towers to subways and embassies. Death has become invisible, ready to appear unexpectedly, anywhere: Stadiums, Restaurants, newspapers’ editorial offices, schools, concert halls and universities. A constant threat to our daily life in which we have felt safe so far. A slap in the face of freedom that this part of the world has been able to conquer.
Islamic state, al-Qaeda, the al-Nusra front, Boko Haram, al-Shabab. Many names and one sole goal: sow terror. A goal achieved through massacres perpetrated in the last twelve months. “Violent extremism is a threat to peace and security in the world, it harms its values and puts at risk our peoples,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, in a forum on Terrorism in October. “Groups such as al-Qaeda, Daesh, al-Shabab or Boko Haram undermine the universal values of respect for the person and reject the United Nations Charter in favor of tolerance and life in peace”, he added.
The actions of the jihadists cause deaths in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan every day, but their goal goes beyond the latter. They want the media impact of their actions to resonate worldwide and strike the richest countries, considered to be the safest. Precisely from this strategy was born the most serious attack in the French history, in Paris last 13 November, when several ISIS militants have sown terror, shooting from automatic weapons and blowing themselves up in coordinated attacks. With 130 dead and hundreds of wounded, the French capital, a universal symbol of freedom and democracy, has been paralyzed and France has declared war on terrorism. Becoming the world center of fear, which has propagated with the speed of a wave on every continent.
France had already experienced a dramatic attack in January, when suspected al-Qaeda militants had killed 12 people in the seat of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. On both occasions, the jihadists managed to breach the security systems, as it happened in six other minor episodes this year. And actions have exploited the power of transmissions of live news, through hundreds of broadcasters and social networks which focused simultaneously on those facts. Terrorists have sought the same resonance in the media also for attacks such as the one at the University of Garissa at the hand of al-Shabab groups, in Kenya, where almost 20 students killed. Or after the attacks in Tunis, first against the Museum of Bardo, then that on the beach, in the city of Sousse. In these cases, they have chosen to strike rich countries not in their geographic heart, but in the symbols that are at their very heart: The Christian faith of the students who were murdered in Kenya, the westerners in Tunisia.
And even in these cases it has worked, because it has propagated the echo of the news and made the sense of insecurity and vulnerability grow. The same has happened in Bangkok, when “lone wolves” committed the worst terrorist attack in the history of the country, exploding two bombs in a shopping center and killing twenty people, including several foreigners. Besides, the over one hundred victims of the attack in Ankara, against a march of peace attended by students and Kurds, attributed to Daesh, or the Russian plane full of tourists shot down above Egypt, have done nothing but further strengthen the power and visibility of the extremist groups.
The jihadist have succeeded, thus, according to the experts, to transmit also to the citizens of the western countries the feeling that danger is hidden in every corner and that nobody is safe. In the meantime, however, in spite of the appearance in the media, Muslims continue to be the first victims of the actions of Islamist terrorism. Only in Syria, in over four years of war over 250,000 people died, many of whom in terrorist attacks. The official numbers of 2014 show that 79% of deaths due to terrorism were recorded in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria, all of which are Muslim countries, and in Nigeria, where Islam is the most widespread religion. Acts of extreme violence were committed this year in Maiduguri in Nigeria, Biyi in Iraq, Kunduz in Afghanistan, Kerawa in Cameroon, Yamena in Chad, al-Qadih in Saudi Arabia. Yet, the message perceived by the Western public opinion is different. It remembers only the attacks against our world. As if there were first-class deaths and sufferings. A narrow vision, suitable only to foment the resentment of the people exhausted by war. Fear that generates hatred… And this is the Jihad’s greatest victory.