The UK Foreign Office has warned Brits living or travelling abroad to be vigilant. We are, we are told, targets for terrorists all over the world.
I have two huge problems with this. Firstly, it is evidence of our government's hubris to suggest that we stand out in a western crowd. Whatever the wrongs and rights of military action against the Islamic State we are not acting alone. Our media might suggests that we are planting the democratic seeds of Westminster unaided, but that is rubbish. We are a little cog in an international wheel, and are no more at risk than Americans, French, Germans, Canadians, Australians ...
Secondly, the Foreign Office is promoting a climate of fear. Look over your shoulder, they are saying. Everyone is out to get you. You are only safe if you retreat into the sanctuary of your British castle.
How dare they?
Yes, there is a world-wide rise in terrorism. But there are millions and millions of kind, generous, curious, ambitious people all over the world, in every country, of every skin colour. By suggesting that we should look first for terrorists and only once people have proved themselves innocent can we engage in discourse can only promote suspicion. We will all end up clinging to the wreckage of mistrust unless we bypass such instructions and engage with the wonderful, exciting, liberating exchange of differences.
I want to live in peace as much as you do. And I want to do it by fostering an understanding of the miraculous diversity of the world. Of all its colours and mysteries and beliefs. I want to share all our multiple wonderfulnesses. I refuse to believe that terrorists lurk around every corner.