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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Two Reactions to Two Words

Ideas and Opinions | Milo

[Update 11/05/2016: Well, well, well. A day after writing this a new BBC report suggests that we aren't as safe from IRA-influenced terrorism as I presumed. Arguably lends more credence to my second reaction, assuming of course this isn't an article that has been exaggerated to capitalise on the conversation the previous article started...]

Whilst working at chill…I meant chilling at work, you can tell I’m a dedicated employee, I came across this article on the BBC homepage. In brief it’s basically reporting a controversy that arose during an emergency services response training. The training in question was regarding terrorism, and in the midst of this fake hostile takeover of a Manchester mall, the “terrorist” in question chose to yell “Allahu Akbar” during the hijinks. So the controversy caused and the question I am asking is, did the terrorist in the training have to be a Muslim, or at the least, use the severely bastardised Muslim phrase?
I had two distinct reactions to this story that occurred within five minutes of my reading of it, and I’m still not sure which reaction I am more comfortable with. It’s with this indecisive heart I am sharing my two reactions to the usage of those two words.  

First Reaction: Why is this controversial?  
In the last hundred or so years, explosives based terrorism on British soil has primarily been committed by two parties: the IRA and Al Qaida (and it’s many bastard children). The police force in question are clearly rehearsing a response to an increasingly publicised and popular form of guerrilla warfare on the western world, and you can rule out the IRA as a likely aggressor. That really then leaves the extremist Jihadists of Isil and others. Whether rightly or wrongly, the call of Allahu Akbar has become a call synonymous amongst western minds as the last words of a suicide bomber. If the police are doing a re-enactment of recent terrorist attacks in order to improve their own response times, then why wouldn’t you involve the highly publicised cry? It’s not that the Manchester police force in question are trying to implicate all Muslim’s as terrorists, they’re simple replicating what we know to be the typical terrorist attack. Isil have declared war on the west, this is their chosen form of combat, this will likely involve the unfortunate bastardisation of many Islamic phrases, verses, aphorisms etc. It’s a, potentially necessary, form of costume to better immerse and prepare our emergency services for what may, God forbid, come.   

Second Reaction: This might be more complicated  
Leading right on from the last sentence, I started to wonder if it really was a necessary form of costume. The question then is what role does racial and cultural profiling play in preventing crimes? The training session discussed is unequivocally a case of racial and cultural profiling, and I’m afraid that it could subconsciously affect the way the emergency services respond to both terrorists and Muslim’s in the future. It’s true that many terrorists who are likely to attack British citizens are Muslim, but of course most Muslims are not terrorists. The emergency services should be training to protect innocent people from dangerous people, and the additional colouring of the perpetrators as undeniably Muslim is one that is probably unnecessary. When a fire fighter practices putting out a fire, he doesn’t need to know who lived in the house nor what their creed, culture or race might have been. In this same way a doctor when operating on a patient doesn’t need to know anything, outside of their medical history, about their patient. The Manchester services should not be focusing on the presumed cultural specifics of potential perpetrators, all they need to replicate is the nature of the risk and the size of the impact. This is not to say that the profiling of vulnerable and radicalised demographics should be scrapped, but that when the training is on “emergency services response time”, the key words being response time, it is really and truly unnecessary. This episode unfortunately reveals the extent to which Isil have poisoned British minds against Islam, as well as the laziness on behalf of those in power in trying to understand the threat our society faces.  

Well that is me done and I still don’t know which reaction I am happier to push as the “right” one, maybe there isn’t a right one? I supposed I would find the second reaction the easiest to defend as it better fits my moral code and tendency towards leftist political views. Then again as I get older I am increasingly warming up to pragmatic solutions and perspectives, and the mental dexterity involved in condemning the emergency services, whilst expecting their success at defending us, is substantial.

I am happy that the people involved did apologise, however, as I can understand how it could offend members of the local community. It’s my opinion that it is better to apologise than to fight a moral battle you really don’t have any stake in, which would have been the case were the people to retaliate in such a fashion.    

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