The Borders Won’t Protect You But They Might Get You Killed

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By Crimethinc

In Paris, on November 13, 129 people were killed in coordinated bombings and shootings for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Although this is only the latest in a series of such attacks, it has drawn a different sort of attention than the massacres in Suruç and Ankara that killed 135 people. The lives of young activists who support the Kurdish struggle against ISIS—so far the only on-the-ground effort that has blocked the expansion of the Islamic State—are weighed differently than the lives of Western Europeans.

The same goes for the lives of millions who have been killed or forced to flee their homes in Syria. European nationalists lost no time seeking to tie the attacks in Paris to the so-called migrant crisis. British headlines proclaimed “Jihadis sneaked into Europe as fake Syrian refugees,” alleging that a passport found with one of the assailants belonged to a refugee who passed through Greece. These opportunists hope to use the blood still wet on the streets to anoint their project of locking down Fortress Europe.

Ironically, many of the people attempting to enter Europe from the Middle East are fleeing similar attacks orchestrated by ISIS. This is why they have been willing to risk death, crossing border after border to reach an unwelcoming Europe. Cutting off their escape route would trap them in territory controlled by ISIS, arguably increasing the resources of the Islamic State and indisputably exacerbating the frustrations that drive people to cast their lot with Islamic fundamentalism.

Surely this was clear to the people who planned the attacks. It may even have been among their objectives.

There is a chilling symmetry between the agendas of the nationalists of Europe and the fundamentalists of the Islamic State. The nationalists wish to see the world divided into gated communities in which citizenship serves as a sort of caste system; European history shows that in a world thus divided, the ultimate solution to every problem is war. The fundamentalists, for their part, hope to assert Islamic identity as the basis of a global jihad.

In this regard, the only real difference between ISIS and the European nationalists is over whether the criteria for inclusion in the new world order should be citizenship or religion. Both ISIS and the nationalists want to see the conflicts of the 21st century play out between clearly defined peoples governed by rival powers, not between the rulers and the ruled as a whole. Both want to force the refugees to take a side in the war between Western governments and the Islamic State rather than participating in the sort of grassroots social change once promised by the Arab Spring.

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