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Fecteau: A Somber Silver Lining in London

Monday, June 05, 2017


As the world witnesses another terrorist attack, we must admit there are some very dark forces at work seeking to divide us, but fortunately, those forces will face a resounding repudiation. While it is too soon to know the exact motivations, these attackers – likely inspired by the so-called Islamic State — may have sought to sway the British general election held in mid-June. 

Before we probe this latest attack, it should not be lost on us that there was a hideous bombing in Afghanistan days ago with some 90 people dead, and another 300 injured. It appears while the attacks against Western targets do receive the most media coverage, predominantly Muslim countries such as Afghanistan face the brunt of these brutal attacks. These assaults should be condemned no matter where the attack takes place or religion of the attackers. 

This current attack in London has some parallels to other attacks. It is similar to the Madrid, Spain bombing in 2014, and the recent attack in France in which our enemies may have timed their assaults to influence the democratic process. Fortunately, in France, these efforts failed. Despite a terrorist attack so close to the presidential election, France overwhelming elected a moderate, open-minded president, Emmanuel Macron, over a xenophobic, fear mongering competitor that sought to embrace prejudice, and racism as tools to govern. This crushing victory shows tolerance can overcome even in the direst circumstances. 

We will see what impact this latest terror attack will have on the British elections. If the British let fear and prejudice play a pronounced role in their political decision, the terrorists will have a minor victory, but that will be fleeting as people from all walks of life come together, and continue to search for ways to move forward, healing after yet another traumatic attack. 

Although times are difficult and the loss of life is tragic, there is a somber silver lining. During the attack, people of varying backgrounds worked together to thwart these maniacs. People of different races, political affiliations, economic classes, religions, and sexes did their best to prevent further bloodshed, at times protecting those being attacked. One woman, for example, may have saved up to twenty people by barricading a door delaying terrorists from entering a restaurant. 

After the attack, people are still united. The mayor London, a practicing Muslim, Sadiq Khan, condemned the attacks in the harshest possible terms. Sikhs offered food and shelter to those affected by the assault in their Gurdwaras (places of worship). Muslim taxi drivers offered free rides to those impacted by the attack. This is evidence most people are inherently good at their core no matter their differences, and in times of darkness, that goodness shines even brighter. 

Nevertheless, perhaps tragic still it takes such an awful event such as this one perpetuated by a few sadistic mass lunatics to bring out the best in decent people for an ephemeral moment; reminding us all, our humanity unites us more than our differences divide us.   

Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) is a former White House national security intern and Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau


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