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Recent terrorist attacks in Asia, Europe and Africa and the threads to some cities, like Rome, London and Washington DC – and most recently New York, have set the alarms of governments, security forces and intelligence agencies around the world, who have intensify the security measures in the ‘most vulnerable’ points, and have made public statements to send the message that everything is under control.

For its part, the media – both traditional and new one – constantly transmit information about attacks, new tracks, new targets and actions to track of those who threaten global peace and security. The message is loud and clear: we are in a global state of alert, in which national security and defense are the main dishes every day.

As a national security savvy, paranoia is one of the most marked attributes of my personality, and those who know me well, also know that I’m always aware of my surroundings, and the security risks and potential threads a citizen and individual. However, with the recent events, paranoia has become a trend among us, and this is a plus for those trying to intimidate us. They are selling a product called “fear” in the “paranoia market”, we all are consuming it, and the saddest thing is that our leaders are the main buyers.

They are determining the rules. Our countries are closing the door to millions of refugees that have nothing to do with these conflicts, just had the bad luck to be born there, fueling feelings of hatred and extremism, which makes them easy targets, so they can fill the lines of terrorist groups seeking destabilize political regimes and spread fear and distrust among citizens. As for the rest of us, it is clear that their interest is that religious and ethnic differences continue accentuated, favoring the creation of ghettos and reinforcing misconceptions.

Today my blog post is an invitation: Let us not be easy targets, don’t let them kill tolerance and intercultural understanding, these have personally allowed me to learn too much in recent months and marvel with all that we have to share. Many of us come from different traditions, religions and cultures, but some of us have been discriminated and stigmatized, so we can fairly understand the feeling.

There was a time, not too long ago, that to be Colombian was synonymous of with being a drug dealer. Get a visa – to almost any country in the world- was like winning the lottery, we were subjected to extensive and often denigrated searches in airports and security checks, and many people frequently associated us with known drug traffickers, which I prefer not to mention – like Voldemort, because every time we say their names, we are giving them power, and for me indifference and oblivion is a better and most effective punishment. Nonetheless, like everything in life and politics is a cycle, the situation improved significantly and our way of seeing life as well.

In addition, for there to be a victimizer must be a victim. Violence is a cycle that feeds, and if we become victims, we are giving them power over us, so let’s don’t fall and don’t become victims, we are better than that! However, that it doesn’t mean that we should pretend that nothing has happening or will happen, so is worth to pay attention to alerts and our environment.

And although nobody asked me, and many people can think “what she would or can know,” here are some things to consider:

  • Be aware of your surroundings, properties, and daily routines.
  • Establish a meeting point with friends and family in case of an emergency. This point should preferably be within the city, usually in cases of alert, the exits are blocked and traffic collapses.
  • This brings me to the third point, know your routes by walking, and trace alternate routes that don’t involve the use of public transportation. In cases of emergency, metro and bus are usually blocked or collapse because everyone wants to use them.
  • If possible, have a mini emergency kit that includes a flashlight, a radio station (the internet definitely fails in emergency cases), some first aid elements, water and nonperishable food such as energy bars and nuts. This is a useful recommendation for any kind of emergency.
  • Stay tuned for alerts issued by the competent authorities, and if there is confirmed information, avoid attending events involving crowds, especially closed events where access and exit points are not easy to reach, but don’t forget that open spaces also pose challenges.
  • Security, rather than police making rounds and other measures, is a matter of change behaviors that could exposure to risks. So be aware of your conversations, the things you speak in public and in social networks, often what one say can be misinterpreted, so be as clear as possible, and don’t joke around with sensitive situations.
  • Don’t fall into these conspiracy theories that says that we’re all being intercepted, that’s not true. We live in a world where every time we connect to a public network, accept certain terms and conditions for apps, and exchange emails, we are giving away a little of our privacy and sharing information about our behavior and patterns.
  • Finally, have common sense, if they feel that something is wrong, report it to the authorities and leave the place.

If you are interested to know more about security measures or have doubts about some of the things raised here, do not hesitate to ask.

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