The black and white flag of ISIL is representative of two camps; non-believers and believers. To them the divide between right and wrong is clear, there is no grey area. But, as history has shown, this is not the case. In war there aren’t heroes and villains. Take the Vietnam War for instance, America a crowd favourite in the Western world, could in fact be considered the wrongdoer. Whilst their quest to end the spread of communism was noble (in a democratic lens), it came at a cost of two million lives. Even after American troops were evacuated, generations of Vietnamese had to live the remainder days with severe chemical poisoning.
But, the concept of the grey area exerts itself on all contexts, not just war. It applies to ethics, morality, behaviour, values, legislation, welfare, etcetera. Take a white lie for example. Whilst you may be sparing someone’s feelings, it comes at the expense of your reliability. So, is it right or wrong? The answer: it depends on the context and how you justify it.
ISIL themselves are engaging in the pitfalls of the grey area through their preachings of the Quran. Their version is one interpretation of the book of worship. Much like the bible or a Shakespeare play, a passage can be interpreted a thousand different ways. There are no absolutes, merely individual versions of perceived truths.
The reality is this world does not consist of ‘two encampments,’ in fact the globe is rich with diversity. We all have different belief systems, aspirations and motivations. And you know what, that’s okay. So, if a minority group somehow believes fear and xenophobia will derail us into two opposing sides, please think again. Not only are they confronting unsurmountable odds, but the truth is we know better. This is why ISIL won’t prevail. Like TV viewers in the sixties, we don’t look at the world in black and white terms, we see different shades of grey. In this world there are few certainties, so don’t promote falsities. The days of uniting against a common enemy have come to a close. Today, irrespective of our backgrounds, we have greater capacity to think for ourselves, and interpret the world in our own way. We have not come this far to live by anyone else’s terms, but our own.