Reflections on the Istanbul Nightclub Attack

Yesterday evening a gunman dressed as Santa opened fire on a New Years Eve party at the Reina nightclub in the Ortaköy district of Istanbul. Nearly 40 people have since been declared dead. Many resorted to jumping into the Bosphorus to escape the carnage. The attacker is still at large.

Even before reading the details, the moment I heard that the attack occurred in an İstanbul nightclub, I had a nagging feeling that it would be Reina. It is an extremely popular, high-end club known to both locals and foreigners. I myself graced them with my patronage last April for a colleague’s birthday party.

Once the name of the club had been confirmed, I quickly messaged my friends in Istanbul to see if they were alright. There was one friend I know who especially likes Reina and there could have been a strong possibility of her being there for New Years Eve. Fortunately, by the grace of God, she was not.

No one has officially claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but my inclination is to assume that it was the work of Daesh. They would have more ideological reasons to target a place that represented a more Western culture and lifestyle.

Though I desperately miss Turkey, the circumstances and locations of each new terrorist attack in Istanbul has only reaffirmed my decision not to return. Terrorists are becoming more creative in choosing target locations. Now it is no longer a matter of avoiding Taksim Square or Istiklal Street to remain safe.

And of course that is the point. Turkey is working alongside other nations to end Daesh’s rule over Iraq and Syria. In retaliation, Daesh’s is striking back at Turkey and will continue to do so for many years to come. The territorial entity of Daesh may come to an end, but they will live on as an international terrorist group like so many others, feeding off the disillusionment of Muslims in Europe and elsewhere who feel they will never be accepted.

Back in June I wrote a response to the attack on Atatürk Airport and my disgust at these terrorist who prefer to take out their political/personal frustrations on innocent people. My sentiments have not changed.

To me these terrorists are the psychological equivalent of toddlers throwing temper tantrums, lashing out at anyone and anything because their political goals are not being realized. They have an inconceivably broad definition of who and what is blameworthy for their political and socioeconomic ills and thus have a distorted view of who is eligible as a target for their cause. –Amy Sophiamehr

These terrorists are taking the cowards’ way out by lashing out at those who are not responsible for their grievances. If they can’t get what they want, then no one should have what they want. No one is allowed to be happy if they can’t be happy. In this way the most childish mentality is manifested at the deadliest level possible.



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