The silent war : Terrorism
“Terrorism is like fashion and their is no time when there is no fashion”
The world is today facing a lot of problems like global warming , economic setbacks , poverty , neo-imperialism , terrorism and security etc.
The problems humanity is facing today can be categorized into two headings one , anthropogenic and other is natural. When nature plays with us , it is not in our control and is beyond human understanding. Hence , we should focus on what we can do and not on something we can’t.
Today I’ll be talking about strategies to mitigate terrorism , politics behind terrorism and understanding what exactly constitutes terrorism.
Defining terrorism :
If you want to find cure for cancer , you must know everything about cancer : what it is ? , why it exists ? , who it affects ?, how it behaves ?, How it spreads ?. With knowledge you have tremendous advantage in stopping cancer. Without knowledge , you are helpless. Similarly , you can only end conflict if you diligently study and understand it.
“The unlawful use of force and violence against people or property to intimidate or coerce a government , the civilian population or any segment thereof , in furtherance of political or social objectives” -U.S code of federal regulations.
You will be surprised to know that the world community still can’t find common ground on definition of terrorism. India is pushing United Nations and its members since 1994 to have a universal definition of terrorism but those who hold more share and veto in international organizations will never agree on India’s term as they have their vested interest in spreading terrorism in some geographical areas and also against their rivals.
Their are some states who have been declared as state sponsors of terrorism by U.S.A and U.N. Those states are Iran , Iraq , Cuba , North Korea , Syria , Sudan , Libya , Yemen etc. The question here is why only these states ? Are they really sponsoring terrorism ? Are they resourceful enough to sponsor terrorism ? Is USA eligible to declare anyone terrorist ? If you want answer for all above questions then you must first understand the world politics and that of U.S.A. behind terrorism.
Understanding politics behind terrorism
The U.S.A and west have reached to a point from where they can’t go further with resources available at their disposal. They need resources , the natural resources. These resources are mostly oil and petroleum products , cheap labor etc. These resources are mostly concentrated in Africa and middle east and these resources are the reason behind political instability of these regions. West calls it as resource curse but we know how curses are made for narrow benefits of privileged white people. In this globalized world where there exists multiple power sources and power centers it is not very easy for United States and its tail, Europe to invade any resource rich country. So declaring anyone as a state sponsor of terrorism or declaring that a state has weapons of mass destruction ( u know nukes ) is a good excuse to invade or to set pro west government. Just take example of Iraq and Saddam Hussein where USA and its allies invaded it by declaring that Iraq posses weapons of mass destruction. But they didn’t find any weapons , do you know why ? Because they never existed. The recent Chilcot report set up by Gordon brown in 2009 says that Iraq “posses no imminent threat”. Then the question is why USA and its allies invaded Iraq , if you understand the greed of west then you know the reason ( not to mention oil ).
Rise of terrorism
“The terrorism has its threads in its purpose”.
The statement looks ambiguous because it has deep meaning , let us try to understand it. Terrorism before 21st century was fight against monarchy , anarchy , dictatorship , colonization and impediments raised by west. I personally don’t consider those acts as terrorism but as revolution and respect the will of revolutionary. Those revolutions had objectives to achieve which is in interest of society as a whole. Once the purpose is fulfilled revolutionaries used to sit down to enjoy benefits of revolution and those revolutions actually made us civilized. The terrorism in 21st century also have purpose and objectives but not for welfare of humanity but to achieve gains : political or religious gains.
Their are two types of terrorism in present world:
- Religious terrorism
- Political or state sponsored terrorism.
Religious terrorism is terrorism carried out based on motivations and goals that have a predominantly religious character or influence. Religious terrorists often attempt to justify their actions by citing holy texts or receiving a command or blessing from a religious leader. Acts of religious terrorism are often carried out by those who accept that their death is a divinely mandated sacrifice or offering to a higher power or god. The Islamic groups featured here primarily operate in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, and several other nations. Some are fundamentalist Shia Muslims, some are fundamentalist Sunni Muslims, and many uphold a different vision of the composition of the ideal Islamic state. In places such as Iraq, factions of various Islamic groups are engaged in armed conflict and terror campaigns against each other.
Generally, as long as you do not give a call to actual violence, your bigotry is tolerated in the west. Worryingly, it could be considered unwise for the west - and particularly western Europe - to go down the slippery slope of reintroducing stringent hate speech laws and (with it) the concept of limited free speech. After centuries of terrible ignorance, for the last 500 years or so the west has moved towards becoming an increasingly liberal civilization. Reversing that would not just throw the west back in time - but also strengthen the hands of the Islamists, the Christian fundamentalists, the anti-Semites, the neo-Nazis and so on. Simply, it would once again allow them to dictate the terms of debate. It could also be argued that free speech ensures that people become aware of dangerous ideas, and hence can be mobilized to fight them.
What then, is the solution for this malady? One solution is called counter-messaging. The key is to build coherent counter-narratives to fundamentalism. It is to create spaces for debate and open discussion of religion in general and extremism in particular. Social space must also be created to encourage secular dialogue and exchange of ideas. People must chase shared goals, even on a daily basis. It is necessary to create social infrastructure which helps this transformation. The wide majority of innocent human beings merely watch the spectre of intolerance unfold, preferring to go about their daily lives even as the space for free expression gets ever smaller. Civil society has to be shaken into action.
State sponsored terrorism or political terrorism is when nations and states often resort to violence to influence segments of their population, or rely on coercive aspects of state institutions. Just like the idea of equating any act of military force with terrorism described above, there are those who equate any use of government power or authority versus any part of the population as terrorism. This view also blurs the lines of what is and is not terrorism, as it elevates outcomes over intentions. Suppression of a riot by law enforcement personnel may in fact expose some of the population (the rioters) to violence and fear, but with the intent to protect the larger civil order. On the other hand, abuse of the prerogative of legitimized violence by the authorities is a crime.
But there are times when national governments will become involved in terrorism, or utilize terror to accomplish the objectives of governments or individual rulers. Most often, terrorism is equated with "non-state actors", or groups that are not responsible to a sovereign government. However, internal security forces can use terror to aid in repressing dissent, and intelligence or military organizations perform acts of terror designed to further a state’s policy or diplomatic efforts abroad. For example Pakistan finances and provide shelter to Lashkre-e-Taiba(LeT) , Indian Mujahiddin and other terrorist organization against India as Pakistan cannot win against India in a conventional war.
Winning over terrorism
The art of war isn’t about war so much as it is about the art of winning. Terrorism is not limited to outsiders but also about some of our own people. Hence in order to fight with it , we must unite upper and lower ranks in purpose to be victorious. Another pivotal strategy for success was to remain aware of our surrounding and adaptable to change. Knowing enemy is first requirement as one who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be in danger in hundred battles. Flexible strategy is essential for changing technology and world scenarios as no principle in the world is always right , and no thing is always wrong. What was used yesterday may be rejected today , what is rejected now may be used later on. This use or disuse has no fixed right or wrong. To avail yourself of opportunities at just the right time , responding to events without being set in your ways , is in the domain of wisdom. If your wisdom is insufficient , even if you are widely learned and highly skilled , you’ll come to an impasse wherever you go.
“Is this one ours , or stranger —so calculate the small - minded; to those of noble conduct, the whole world is the family.” (Hitopadesa)
Terrorism cannot be fought as direct battles with enemies. In my opinion terrorism cannot be completely eradicated but can only be prevented from invading our own borders. And governments also should ensure that citizens should not indulge themselves in religious terrorism by means of providing them proper opportunities , having equality in society , liberty to make life choices and freedom to religion.
In this blog I didn’t go into actual strategy point by point because military generals and governments already know that better then me. I conclude it with a statement which if you understand , then you have understood the meaning of my writing.
“ If you think in terms of a year then plant a seed , if in terms of 10 years plant a tree , if you think in terms of hundreds of years teach the people”
Note: Definitions and some facts are directly taken from various sources available at internet.