Essay Contest Winner: Disappearance to ISIS

President Obama delivers a speech from the White House announcing an expanded military campaign against ISIS.In our increasingly interconnected world, it is important to be informed of issues and events around the globe in order to better understand and engage with the people around us. If you were a foreign news correspondent, where would you like to be assigned? What story would you cover and why is this an important story to tell?

Recently, tragedy struck in a small school just outside of London at the Bethnal Green Academy (BGA). Shockingly, three hard working students chose to leave their families behind and go join the ISIS terrorist group in Syria, they have not been the first to do so either.

So far, another BGA student, and approximately 3,000 other Westerners have also left their homes behind, and the big question everyone is asking, is “why?”

What makes one teenager want to escape to the mall, and another escape to Syria to join ISIS? This story is a mystery that, if not solved, could be a potential danger for people all over the world, which is why I would choose to pursue it.

If I were a foreign news correspondent I would like to be stationed in London to try to figure out how, and more importantly, why these three young girls left the country and their loving families without saying good bye.

Shamima Begum, Amira Abase, and Kadiza Sultana left for the airport February 17th, 2015. Search parties
were immediately on the case, which lead them to the country of Turkey.

Turkish authorities provided a great deal of assistance for the English officers and the missing girls’ families, but once the girls were smuggled into Syria, there was no way to get them back. The only thing the families can do now is hope and pray that their daughters are safe. Shamima’s family has been trying unsuccessfully to get messages to her: “Get in touch with the police, and they will bring you home. We miss you terribly and are extremely worried about you.”

I would like to be stationed in the country of England, and not Syria or Turkey, because it is where the girls’ friends and family live.

I believe to uncover the reason for their disappearance I would need to start my investigation where they lived. I would question the people they interact with every day to see if they were somehow influenced by the people, city, and cultures around them. How do we know if it was not just these girls, but the whole academy who planned this disappearance, and that more will follow suit?

There are so many possible influences that could have affected their decision, from their peers, to social media, to possibly even their families and I would like to be the one to get to the bottom of this. As we all know ISIS is not known to be a friendly group of people. They try to destroy anyone who is different from them such as gays, other religions, and most baffling, women. This makes me wonder why these girls want to be a part of this association of Islamic terrorists, were they are not to be treated fairly and may even
be killed.

Also, just recently ISIS members have started to destroy artifacts from different cultures dating back to 1200 BC, because these cultures are different from theirs. What got into these teens heads to make them think that these ways were right, what did they see?

Who? What? When? Where? Why? As all these questions tumble around in my head, I
keep thinking about how important it is to figure out this mystery soon. If we don’t, the number
3,000 may grow as more and more Westerners leave to join ISIS. If ISIS increases its ranks who
knows what they will be able to accomplish, and if we will be able to stop it. What I also wonder
is why other countries like the USA are not stepping in to stop this terrorist group, because ISIS
is not just affecting Syria any more, it is affecting countries all over the world.

These disappearances are occurring so much that people are starting to see them as common, some people think that once these girls arrive they will be of no use to ISIS and will just be married off or used as slaves.

While I was doing some online research, the following comments stood out to me and I think they show other interesting sides of the story. “If ISIS needs brides, let’s send them a herd of goats…they wanted to go so bad, let them stay…no point risking the lives of other’s to bring them back…Muslim kids blow up so fast…Look ma I’m all blown up!” These comments seem to imply that people don’t really care what happens to these girls and that the English Government should just give up looking.

Whether or not you agree with these sentiments, I think we can all agree on one thing.

These girls will regret their decisions, and we need to stop this issue before it goes on any longer.

Every day we wait to make a change in the world, more and more people throw their lives away without thinking. Do you want to be the one to sit back and watch, or do want to step up and help people all over the world?

Your choice.

This essay won first place in the 6th to 8th grade category of the 2015 World Citizen Essay Contest, sponsored by The Seattle Globalist and the World Affairs Council. The winners will be recognized at a special event in Seattle Tuesday May 26th at 6:30pm. Read all the top essays »