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I was two months short of being 12. I went to bed quite late, only to be startled shortly afterwards by my mother. She was attempting to wake my father. She was yelling, "The war has started!" Years later I can still clearly recall the fright with which I got up. The haunting sound of the sirens still rings in my ears.
Like all westerners, I watched in horror at the terror that was unleashed across Paris. But my horror quickly turned to frustration when, immediately in the aftermath, western leaders took advantage of the situation to reinforce a false narrative, and to justify the very policies that have brought us to such a crisis. Our governments do not want us to understand that wittingly or unwittingly (the jury is still out on what role they have really played) they created the conditions for the rise of ISIS, and they did so through exactly the same disastrous policies that they now claim are the only way to destroy it.
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