The attacks in Paris are most recently on our minds, and for many of us, more heavily there than attacks and deaths in other cities.  Many of us have visited Paris, perhaps several times.  Far fewer have been to Moscow, Beirut or Ankara, much less Baghdad or Islamabad. Our connections through lived experience are always more visceral than those from the news, or novels or stories heard.  Paris is also a place, an idea, and an emblem which saturates western culture more than any other city.  We should mourn, deeply.

But then, here are other numbers that matter greatly.  If they don’t, they should.  If they don’t grow larger in our sense of lost community, we have much to do and much to lose if we do not.

All these tables of terror attacks are from The Global Terrorism Database  (and, no, not included here are deaths from drone strikes –which according to a number of sites is about 2,400 in the same 5 years–  nor war deaths since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and in 2003 of Iraq.)

Terrorism 2014

Terrorism 2013

Terrorism 2012

Terrorism 2011

Terrorism 2010

Here’s the math. Fatalities in five years for countries reaching the top ten in numbers of attacks in any one year.

  • Iraq — 26, 746 (5 years on list)
  • Afghanistan — 15, 207 (5)
  • Nigeria — 11, 738 (4)
  • Pakistan — 11, 399 (5)
  • Yemen — 3, 835 (4)
  • Somalia — 3, 592 (5)
  • India — 2, 515 (5)
  • Philippines — 1,396 (5)
  • Thailand — 770 (4)
  • Russia –391 (2)
  • Colombia — 56 (1) [on the list because, by number of attacks, 136, it made the top ten in 2010]

It would seem, from a cursory glance, that of the 77,645 here, Muslims are the vast majority of victims. Blaming, or fearing, all Muslims because of the actions of WahabistSalafist perversions in the minds of vicious men would be like blaming all Christians for the blood-soaked Lord’s Resistance Army, or all Buddhists for Ashin Wirathu and his Burmese ultra-nationalist group 969. Not only wrong but strategically stupid.  Don’t make terrorist claims true by giving credence to them.

Do choke off the funding to the terrorists coming from within recognized states and, even, allies. As Charles Pierce at Esquire says:

“Assets from these states [ Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates] should be frozen, all over the west. Money trails should be followed, wherever they lead. People should go to jail, in every country in the world. It should be done state-to-state. Stop funding the murder of our citizens and you can have your money back. Maybe.”


According to the criteria of the Global Terrorism Database, Syria, in the 5 years shown, did not make the top 10 in number of incidents. — which of course makes us wonder what is being counted as an “incident,” however, this data also would suggest that attacks in Syria, similar to those being counted, are indeed lower.  My guess, without investigating it, is that the same is true of Israel/Palestine.  Using the counting scheme of numbers of attacks per year as the index, there were probably not over 100 per year during those 5 years.