By Bashar “Ben” Jarrar, Special Contributor to the SDT
The views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of the Syrian Democratic Times.
Regardless of who should be held accountable, our enemy is crystal clear. It is a virus that preys on our lungs, whatever the color of our skin, whatever our genetics, or whatever our mother tongue. Needless to say, this common threat cynically laughs at our borders and fortresses while attacking every breathing citizen of the world.
Even notorious monsters try to manipulate this pandemic by announcing — for propaganda purposes — the suspension of their so-called “jihad” to re-announce a state of terror called “khilafa.” While our war against the invisible enemy is clear, and we are trusting to win it sooner or later as President Trump pledges, we seem to lose focus on fighting another lethal enemy, which is terrorism.
Diseases take different names, and viruses keep changing and mutating to reattack and penetrate our inherent and acquired immunity. Terrorism and terrorists do the same. Unless we keep focus on the roots of these monsters, we will not keep pace with their vicious schemes.
We need to apply a similar approach as that we’re doing in disease prevention, healing, and rehabilitation, when it comes to our universal fight against violent extremism. As we do this, we need to widen our peripheral vision as much as we can so no other factions can exploit the situation.
The best recent example on this is Erdogan’s Turkey. Despite repeated “gentle reminders” by allies and friends to stop swinging and flipping and playing the terror and immigration cards, Ankara has not yet changed course, bent on the illusion of resurrecting The Ottoman Empire.
Erdogan’s latest threat, to mobilize waves of illegal immigrants, has been firmly deterred by the EU, particularly Germany, France and Italy. The fear at that time, just one month ago, was the infiltration of “lone wolves,” while the bigger threat was the vast number of “sleeper cells” — as the world witnessed in the attack on a Greek Orthodox Church, where religious icons were vandalized by mobs claiming to flee from oppression, seeking human shelter away from their extremist violent beliefs and behaviors.
Those would-be terrorists, or terrorists in the making, are not to be forgotten, as now they could be weaponized as well with COVID-19. This is real, not fictitious, as several “Moslem Brotherhood” members and so-called “moderate” Islamists clearly called for what they called “Corona Jihad.” This is seemingly a new rendition of ISIS’s “Sex Jihad.”
On the other hand, we need to remember the “forgotten” innocent displaced and the refugees, particularly Syrians, as further tragedy in the ninth year of the war could add salt to their deep open wounds. Just imagine the scope of contagious cases if COVID-19 had just one case only in a hugely condensed population without humane living conditions. We are talking here not about the absence of vaccines and medicines. We are talking about drinking water shortage and water scarcity, as we are embarking spring and summer seasons.
We pray and hope that all will rise and join the forces to make peace, whether we do this to fight together COVID-19, terrorism, invasion, or maybe responding to Trump’s call on Syria to help in securing a safe and fast return to Austin Bennett Tice, my fellow colleague who was kidnapped in Syria while reporting in August 14, 2012.
Bashar Jarrar is a Political Analyst and Media Consultant, hosted regularly on a dozen Arab and International Networks. He is an op-ed writer to several publications, mainly CNN Arabic. He is an International Speaker with the Public Diplomacy Program – Department of State. He has 33 Years experience in News Broadcasting, Production, Gathering and Managing. He holds an MA in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from UK (Chevening Scholarship). He is a Pro-Trump Conservative Republican, and he has a special interest in fighting terror and advancing interfaith dialogue and political and civic freedoms.