Friday the 13th shall remain a most ignoble day in the annals of French history. The slaughtering of 129 innocent persons in that country by terrorists cannot be condemned enough. We mourn with friends and relatives of the departed. While we do that, our minds must be averted to the events that have brought about an increased spate of such dastardly acts in that part of the world.
Without prejudice to the barbaric nature of the attacks, certainly the events of Friday the 13th in Paris are not unique in anyway when viewed through a global lens. Just a day earlier, twin suicide bombings had killed several others in Beirut; with similar events occurring earlier, almost on a daily basis, in the Middle East. However, from the regional perspective of Europe and North America, this remains the most heinous crime against humanity in a while.
Come to think of it, the occurrence of acts of terrorism in the hitherto safe havens of the West can only be a manifestation of intense acts of terrorism in other parts of the world escalating to their doorsteps. A quick look at the statistics of persons killed due to pockets of terrorist violence (excluding open war) reveal that the Middle East alone bears the brunt of an estimated 50% of terrorist attacks, followed by Africa. An understanding of the genesis of such acts of terrorism will present a better appreciation of the trend thus far.
Pie-chart depicting lives Lost Due to Terrorism in the West – 2015
Whether they are referred to as Terrorists, Guerrillas, Rebels or Mujahedeen; depending on the political lens you’re wearing, the commonality that underlies all terror minded groups is that they are mostly minorities who seek to project their interests or beliefs through violent means. Once too often, history has shown that these groups have arisen or become more virulent due to the policy of interference of some countries (mostly western) in the domestic affairs of others – be it economic or political. Ironically, these interfering powers eventually return to the peace and warmth of their countries after stoking the fires in other areas. In some cases, their efforts to support the end of unrest in other parts of the world does not immediately come in efforts at peaceful resolution but rather covert and overt supply of arms and a declaration of open warfare in support of the parties they favour. As a result, they succeed in setting some parts of the world ablaze, especially Africa and the Middle East. Meanwhile, they return to enjoy the peace and tranquility back in their home countries.
Consequently, most parts of the world keep burning while the rest, especially Europe and North America remain relatively peaceful. The tide of events, nonetheless, begun to turn after the happenings of 9/11. Whether it was an act induced by external terrorists or not; the massive outcry it generated and the subsequent jingoistic response of the West possibly gave terrorists the notion that they’d rather touch a nerve if they took the war to the doorsteps of the instigators. Since then, the risk of terror attacks in that part of the world has also become a stark reality.
Consistent with their mode of addressing issues of conflict, the champions of anti terrorism have chosen open warfare and a flagrant display of military might as the main onslaught for fighting pockets of terrorist violence wherever they are reported. This disposition has not only caused untold pain globally but has also led to a boomerang of negative emotions from the people in the regions where the anti-terror front claims to be fighting for.
Due to the resulting protracted conflicts in these zones, innocent persons who lose their families and loved ones in the process lose sight of the intentions of the military coalition against terrorism. To them, when they look around and see the butchery, woe and anguish perpetrated and perpetuated by a so called war on terror; only a certain reality dawns on them – an attack on their families, open war on their country, a battle against their religion and certainly a destruction of their lives, their hopes, their future. Surely, these persons only become more amenable to the recruitment antics of the terrorists. Subsequently, the cycle of horror is sustained.
When one thinks on the events around the creation of Israel, the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, nearly Iran and lately in Libya and Syria; it becomes quite evident that the book of ‘the war on terror’ and the so called dictators must be revised. Clearly, the scripts have revealed that fighting aggression with greater force of arms only precipitates endless violence.
It will be naïve to assume this trend is not obvious to the Sand Hurst and West Point trained Generals and the finest political strategists of our time. The question thus is, why do they turn a blind eye to the consequences of unwarranted military escapades around the world? Is it for fear of possibly rendering obsolete the global military and ammunition complex? Or it is the consideration that extractive corporates cannot find any peaceful means of remaining inordinately profitable unless by endless chaos and wars? What exactly is the motivation?
Whatever the reason, every sphere of humanity necessarily requires innovative adaptation with such a fast paced civilization of the human race. The postal system, the movie and records industry, among others, had to evolve to survive. Certainly, the licensed human killing machines industry and related agencies must do same, albeit positively. More and more, the world must learn to move towards a form of ‘military jujitsu”; rather than the current bloodbaths that make the ancient Gladiators of Rome come across like poetry. As much as military might has evolved, it has done so mostly in the direction of becoming more lethal, as a result heightening the risky possibility of human kind wiping out the entirety of humanity at a go.
If we are to be focused on preserving the human race, one would expect that much of our innovations for conflict resolution should be targeted at disarming aggressors with the most minimum of casualties. But as I write, a single press of a button could wipe out a whole region. Yes, that’s how far we’ve come in sharpening our abilities at eliminating each other.
As we mourn with France today, French citizens, and for that matter citizens of the West must realize that the attacks on their families and loved ones are a hangover from excesses of their leaders in other lands. The untold brutalities and deaths caused by the conscious or unconscious misstep by America and its allies in arming rebels that would become ISIL, and other such groups in the past cannot be glossed over in any open minded attempt to resolve this scourge that has engulfed our world.
France alone has had to pay disproportionately for these terror attacks that have resulted from religious and other extremist groups created out of Western jingoism. The French have lost 148 of dear lives, amounting to a whopping 58% of deaths due to terrorist attacks in Europe and the Whole of North America this year.
French citizens, Citizens of the West, and for that matter the world, must now more than ever be concerned with the sort of engagements and political interests their governments champion internationally. It is instructive to note that we cannot expect our leaders to go hiking recklessly in war zones and not return home with some ‘travelling seeds of conflict’ stuck to their socks and pants. We must thus become much more conscious of the sort of wars our tax monies go to fund and the groups to which they are disbursed; whether in cash or kind.
As citizens in a continually integrating world, we must ensure that our collective progress at maintaining the peace should not be evolving in the direction of how quickly we can wipe off our enemies, but more towards how effectively we can resolve differences without the threat of war. The peace laureates of our time shall no longer be leaders who condemn violence in one breath; and quickly turn to marshal troops for war while arming rebels in another. Rather, it shall be that lonely voice which detects early and champions the peaceful campaign against the subversion of rights and human dignity in the most poorly lit corners of the world.
Before then, Let’s all stand by the French and all elsewhere who are losing loved ones out of the inhumane acts of terrorism in these dark days.