Terrorism

On September 11th, nineteen misguided young men chose to take lives of thousands of people in New York and Washington. Within two hours they managed to terrorise the whole world.

They left thousands of children without one or two parents. They left thousands of individuals without a spouse. They left thousands of parents without sons and daughters. They left thousands of siblings without brothers and sisters. Basically, they damaged the whole fabric of trust and kindness.

Now there is anger and call for revenge.

Recent CNN poll shows that more than 90 percent of the Americans want revenge by military action. Afghanistan government has warned of “dire consequences” against any government that helps Americans to strike against Afghanistan.

International guerrilla warfare is waiting to start.

Guerrilla wars are not like conventional wars. There will be snipers and suicide bombers. There will be significant damage to life and property. The current killings in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and other regional wars will then become small print. The value of life will further diminish.

The memories of mass murderers like Hitler, Mussolini, Bokassa, Idi Amin, Dr. Harold Shipman, the Oklahoma bombers and others will become a blur. And the fanatics who kill abortion doctors will never find a place in the newspapers and prime time TV.

Everybody will be angry. Somebody somewhere known to us is going to get hurt or killed. Then there will be political and religious leaders who will exploit the situation for their own narrow minded and selfish reasons.

Salama bin Laden was trained by the CIA to fight the communists in Afghanistan. Now CIA will have to train more bin Ladens to fight the guerrilla warfare for them. Is terrorism going to breed more terrorism? Is there going to be a winner in the end?

There are too many questions and many thoughtful people have suggested solutions. And there is a heavy price to pay for freedom and safety.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam believe in the same God, the God of Abraham. All three religions essentially share the same code of morality and believe in preserving life.

I wonder if there was a meeting of Jesus, Mohammed and Moses, what sort of solution they would offer? What would Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa would have to say? We can only guess.

But all reasonable people agree that no individual or group should be allowed to terrorise, maim, or murder people.

But the dilemma remains: How are we going to punish and prevent terrorist activities? Are we going to invest billions of dollars in the military might or spend that sort of money to uplift the self esteem of the poor people who need healthy food, clean water, clothes, shelter, education, freedom, justice etc.?

Would there be few millions to eradicate disease and sickness? For physical and mental health of our children round the world? And few millions to understand and treat the psychosocial causes of terrorism?

Anger and revenge are understandable immediate human reactions to the events of September 11th. President Bush should be congratulated for very thoughtful leadership so far. Our future depends on the political leaders we have elected. We can only wait and pray that they make decisions that will be in the best interest of our safety and security.

In the meantime, let us love our family, our friends and our neighbours! Let us teach our children and ourselves sense of tolerance and kindness. And let us hope and pray that they grow up to be responsible citizens who will make a difference for the better.

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