Everyone’s condemning the terrorists. Besides that, what can we do as ordinary people? Every time things like this happen, we’re always wondering why besides feeling sad. People who do the research may have answers from the perspectives of history, politics and religion, but those answers may not be comprehensive.
I used to think terrorism was all well organized and logical, until I went to Xinjiang and learnt sometimes terrorism attacks cannot be logically explained. Sometimes it’s just driven by bad days in life or propaganda movies. Maybe that’s what’s horrible about terrorism. No appeal. No organization. The city is endangered by random thoughts by a couple of people.
As a Christian, I ask God why. I met a friend from Lebanon in America. He finished elementary school and middle school walking through the fire of war, missing classmates from time to time. All of those were triggered by so-called religion conflicts. When he heard that I’m a Christian, he directly said to me, ‘ I hate religions. A lot of wars in this world started with people defending their religions.’ I didn’t know what to say, but I understood.
I’ve been reading 3000 years in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city linked to the whole world. A city that almost never enjoys long term peace since its beginning. It was occupied by Egypt, Assyrian, Babylon, Persia and Rome in the history. To modern days, the conflict is still ongoing.
There were many prophecies in the Holy Bible, but a person is never clear about every mystery of the God. If there has to be an answer, I would blame on human’s arrogance. We think we could do anything we want because of arrogance, but we break rules of nature that should’ve been followed, in the name of the breakthrough of the traditions and the pursuit of democracy. We think we can be on top of the rules. We think there is no ruler of the world and thus make ourselves the ruler. We break the balance of the ecosystem. We put a group of people on top of another group of people and call that social class. In the end, the society lost its balance, which led to where we are now.
In the future, every major city should learn from Israel, America and Xinjiang, China on security issues. Israel was once the most chaotic and unsafe spot on earth, but it became relatively safer for its perennial insecurity. In Israel, both men and women must take military service, hence making every adult citizen a soldier. Important areas are watched by the military force rather than the police. The everlasting state of counter-terrorism makes the speed of military force fast. You have to arrive at the airport 4 hours in advance in order to get on a flight in Israel. Questions and checks come along the moment you arrive and your luggage would go through both machines and manual checks. The number of your portable luggage must remain the same from the first security check to the terminal. Nothing more, nothing less. After the security check at the terminal, people are restricted in a certain area. Anyone who wants to leave would be escorted by a security guard, even if that person’s leaving for bathroom. I needed to use the lavatory after the security check when the boarding started and there weren’t enough security guards. I was told to ‘hang in there’.
Since 911, the security in major cities was upgraded, which extends to academies. Parsons is located in Manhattan. When I was a scholar there, a friend who was visiting asked me why the security was so tight. In addition to security scanner gates, there were security guards. Members of the academy had to use ID to get in, and visitors had to be led by members and register their passport or ID to get in. Unlike public sites that allow free access for visitors, the queue outside the academy starts around 12 hours before major events and the security check takes a lot of time. Broadcasts remind people to call 911 or inform the staff when seeing suspicious people in metros, buses and malls. In a word, it is everyone’s duty to be part of the counter-terrorism.
Xinjiang stepped up in its guards in many ways after several terrorist attacks. The security check in airports and train stations could be called the best in the whole country. Surveillance cameras are installed outside supervision targets’ residence. Government officers are required to go between ordinary people, know about their life and help them solve life problems. Any sudden change would be reported, even a person’s sudden drop of cigarettes. Maybe the most hardworking and responsible civil servants are in Xinjiang. They don’t have vacation around the year, take 24 hour shifts, go live and work in the country to solve ordinary problems for ordinary people, taking the risk of being attacked. Thanks to their work, even theft hardly happens in Xinjiang. These places that seem the most unsafe are the safest places.
Although we can’t answer why terrorism happened and keeps happening, we have to admit we can no longer be the boiling frog and keep ignoring what’s happening outside. The world, as it gets more and more chaotic, must be more united.