Brussels Attack: No to Terror, War & Racism!
By Ann Orr
When the news of the terrorist attack in Brussels on 22 March began to break, feelings of shock and solidarity quickly spread. As we go to press, 31 people have lost their lives and around 300 have been injured by this random attack that once again was targeted at ordinary people.
Similar scenes to those in the aftermath of the Paris bombings were seen, with ordinary people showing their horror and solidarity by gathering in public places. Smaller, individual acts of solidarity also took place, with reports of people inviting strangers into their homes who had been stranded due to the shut-down of large sections of the public transport systems.
It did not take long for the finger of blame to be pointed. One target was airport security with “experts” saying that the lack of security before check-in was a well-known weakness. Then Belgian security services were blamed for reportedly having ignored information from Turkish authorities about one of the suspects. None of these issues take into account that it is impossible to stop people who are determined to kill from doing so.
There was little mention of the role that Belgian foreign policy has played in creating the conditions for so-called Islamic State (IS) to grow in the first place. Belgium has been involved in military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan and is planning on participating in military action in Syria from the summer onwards. These actions will not reduce the threat of terrorist attacks, they will only serve to increase it.
Groups like the so-called IS are reactionary to the core and not only organise, plan and execute attacks in Western countries but also terrorise the populations of other countries including Iraq and Syria. They serve only to worsen the conditions for ordinary people in those regions. However, to challenge the rise of IS requires us to understand what has caused them to be able to grow in the first place.
In order to do this, we must recognise the connections between terrorism, war and poverty. We cannot eradicate one without fighting the others. Challenging terrorism therefore means challenging this rotten system. Socialists must challenge the role of their own governments in stoking up tensions and war in the Middle East as well as their contributing role to poverty and misery experienced by billions. We must also oppose attempts to scapegoat ordinary Muslims – the primary victims of fundamentalists – or use the attacks as a reason to further restrict access to the EU for those who are fleeing conflict, devastation and the likes of IS.