Following the recent, horrific terror attack in Manchester, England, support and unity for the British has been shown by countless people on social media. Similar to the November 2015 attacks on Paris, we can expect many people to change their profile pictures on various social platforms to include a British flag. While this show of solidarity is a nice gesture, it does nothing to prevent further attacks and is useless without actual action to back it up.

Solidarity Has Done Nothing to Help France

The French have sadly been the face of European terror. With that, they have also become the face of social media banding together in support. Whether it was the #JesuisCharlie hasthag or Facebook adding a French flag filter to profile pictures, people have always shown support to the French. Unfortunately for them, this doesn’t help their epidemic of terror. Since the attack on Charlie Hedbo(and the subsequent rise of #JesuisCharlie) there have been over 20 different attacks in France, killing over 200 people and injuring nearly a thousand. If Europe wants to curb its epidemic of terror they need to use action – not words.

Let’s Start With Strong Leadership

As with any war, strong leadership is required to win. Europe seems to have a trend of electing leaders soft on terror. From London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan saying terror attacks are “part and parcel” of living in a major city to France’s President Macron stating that terror in France is simply a “fact of daily life”, Europe has a culture of weak on terror leaders. Europeans need to elect and campaign for leaders who are tough terror and aren’t afraid to be a little politically incorrect in order to protect their citizens.

The Media Needs to Play Their Part Too

Instead of the media using these terror attacks to perpetuate nothing but fear, good dialogue and calls to action should be coming from the media. Following the Manchester bombing, BBC America Host Katty Kay said “we have to [get used to terror attacks].” Rather than present a point of a strength, the media try to normalize these barbaric attacks in order to instill fear on their viewers. This is yet another reason why we need to hold the media accountable.

 

Terror Hotbeds Need to be Weeded Out

Lastly and most importantly, we need to destroy and dismantle places where radicalization takes place. Throughout Europe there are plenty of “no-go” zones where very conservative Islamic ideals are seen to be the norm. Places like these need to be targeted by the government and community alike and should not be tolerated. It is completely okay to practice your religion however you’d like though it is not okay to view your religious practices to be greater than civil law.

We the people need to band together and hold our leaders, influencers, and neighbors accountable. Terrorism is not normal nor should it ever be normalized. Working together is the only way we can stop more atrocities from happening.