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Tackle Terrorism Rather Than Terrorists

Issue 38, September 16, 2012

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

The world otherwise peaceful has been infested with terrorists. We have national terrorists and transnational terrorists. National terrorists have been often locally deprived people often fighting for their rights and privileges denied by the authoritarian administration. National terrorists are confined to their nations. Transnational terrorists have been terrorizing people elsewhere in the world in the hope of prevailing their supremacy. Knowing all these facts, the world leaders have been fighting against terrorists in a piecemeal basis rather than destroying their breeding ground.

Until the September 11, 2001, USA did not seriously take the terrorists’ attacks on innocent people elsewhere in the world. In March 2001, the Taleban terrorists blew up two huge Buddha statues carved in stone in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Many Buddhists begged the Taleban administration not to blast those statues but they did not listen to the appeals of the Buddhists; they even refused to give the broken pieces of the statues of Buddha. None of the international community did take it seriously and did feel it a serious threat to the peace in the world even when the Taleban administration knowing the Buddha the symbol of peace destroyed the statues of Buddha.

Then, the transnational terrorists attacked the twin towers in New York, USA on September 11, 2001 killing 3,000 innocent people of various nationalities and faiths. Suddenly, the US administration woke up and thought it necessary to do something to punish the perpetrators of the terrorism. It mobilized the world opinion in its favor forcibly saying, “you are with us or against us.”

The US administration went to Afghanistan and destroyed the Talebans as they refused to turn over the leaders of the transnational terrorists. As the US administration had cut off only the heads of some terrorists not the deep-seated roots of terrorism, the Talebans have been coming back and terrorizing the Afghans and the multi-national army working in Afghanistan.

Then the US administration went to Iraq and finished off the Iraqi government and hanged its president called Saddam Hussein. However, the US government did not attempt to destroy the breeding ground for terrorists. So, terrorists have been coming back with a renewed force and vitality challenging the multi-national army working there.

In the last week of November 2008, transnational terrorists have managed to kill about 200 people of different nationalities in Mumbai, India. This was not the first such assault of the transnational terrorists on the Indian soil. Every time, India faced such a terrorists’ attack, its administration points its finger at the Pakistani administration for sending such terrorists. However, Indian authorities have never thought of cutting the roots of terrorism elsewhere in the world.

The U.S. Pastor Terry Jones burning the Koran provoked strong reactions from the Muslims in 2010. The anger settled down only after taking the lives of more than 10 people in the Muslim world.

On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist killed six persons belonging to the Sikh community, and him at the Gurudwara: Sikh religious shrine in the USA. The gunman went to Gurudwara and fired indiscriminately killing six worshippers and later shooting him. This was the kind of the barbaric act any fanatic could commit.

A Pakistani imam accused of planting pages of the Koran among burnt pages in the bag of a Christian girl held for blasphemy. Imam Khalid Chishti allegedly told a witness, after tampering with the girl's bag, that this was a "way of getting rid of Christians", a prosecutor said. "The imam was arrested after his deputy Maulvi Zubair and two others told a magistrate he added pages from the Koran to the burnt pages brought to him by a witness," an investigator Munir Hussain Jaffri said. According to Mr Jaffri, Imam Chishti had told them: "You know this is the only way to expel the Christians from this area." The investigator said the cleric had been arrested at his home on Saturday (September 1, 2012) under Pakistan's blasphemy law. The case has sparked international condemnation. Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws are often used to settle personal vendettas, correspondents say. Last year two leading politicians were assassinated after speaking out against the legislation. (Source: BBC NEWS, ASIA titled “Pakistan 'Koran plot' imam remanded in blasphemy case” September 2, 2012).

On September 11, 2012, a group of people wielding automatic weapons attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya protesting against an American film denigrating the prophet Mohammad. The US ambassador and three other US officials died. They took the lives of the people not linked with the issue these fanatics have taken up. A film reportedly produced in the USA portraying the Prophet Mohammad inappropriately provoked anti-America protests in the Muslim world. American ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other colleagues lost their lives on the night of September 11, 2012 when protesters burned the US Consulate in Benghazi in Libya.

One of the Manish Harijan’s paintings currently on display at the Siddhartha Art Gallery located at Babarrmahal in Kathmandu provoked a death threat. The painting depicts Hindu deities and Western superheroes provoking death threats to the artist. In a statement, Head of UNESCO Office in Kathmandu Axel Plathe said, “The right to freedom of expression must also apply to artistic expression. Tension that may arise between artistic creation and religious and ethical values should be openly discussed instead of becoming subject of intimidation or even death threat to the artist.” The UNESCO statement pointed out that the Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom of artistic expression stating, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. (Source: THT ONLINE, September 12, 2012). However, artists and any other persons need to respect the religion of any community. They don’t have any rights to denigrate any deity of any religion.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns film, defends free speech: The US government had nothing to do with a controversial Internet video about the Prophet Mohammad that triggered anti-American protests in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday, September 13, 2012. "The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message," she said at the start of talks with senior Moroccan officials. "To us, to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose: to denigrate a great religion and to provoke rage." "I know it is hard for some people to understand why the United States cannot or does not just prevent these kinds of reprehensible videos from ever seeing the light of day," she said. "I would note that in today's world, with today's technologies, that is virtually impossible. "But even if it were possible our country does have a long tradition of free expression, which is enshrined in our constitution and our law. And we do not stop individual citizens from expressing their views no matter how distasteful they may be," she added. "There are of course different views around the world about the outer limits of free speech and free expression. But there should be no debate about the simple proposition that violence in response to speech is not acceptable," Clinton said. (Source: The Jerusalem Post, September 13, 2012).

Shantimalika: a Nepalese women network for peace on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, expressed its concern about the use of Buddha’s image in shoes by an American firm. The company had used Buddha’s image in its latest fashion of shoes and ladies sandals causing pains to believers in Buddha. The network said that the use of Buddha’s image in shoes has affected the sentiments of millions of people. The network has demanded an immediate removal of Buddha images from shoes. (Source: HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE, September 13, 2012)

The Navy SEAL operation killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. Infamous and notorious leader of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden was dead. In addition, the US drone has killed a number of other al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in the world but al-Qaeda is not done, yet. However, the need is for rooting out the al-Qaeda if we are to travel in peace, and live in peace.

The breeding ground for terrorists has been the religious schools. You find such schools everywhere in the South Asian countries including Nepal. They teach two main things: hatred for the people of other faiths, and heavenly life after death if you could kill the infidels. If you want to open and run such a school you will get as much funds as you need from the oil-rich Muslim countries. Indirectly, all the people of the world using the oil from those countries have also been funding those religious schools.

And the conflicts among the religious fundamentalists have also contributed to breeding terrorists. Some religious fanatics are also responsible for causing religious conflicts in the world. We have already said that the Taleban blew up two Buddha statues but Buddhists by their nature of tolerance did not retaliate. However, people of other faiths were not so tolerant. For example, the Hindus demolished Babri Mosque in India in 1990s; in retaliation Muslims in turn destroyed hundreds of Hindu temples in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Until and unless we convert those religious schools into regular schools that would teach love and friendship among all the people of different faith, and people of different faith tolerate the people of other faith, the terrorists would be always there to kill innocent people and destroy our wealth and assets.

So, the leaders of the world-leading countries needed to work in tandem to destroy the roots of terrorism rather than simply destroying terrorists only. Destroying terrorists is only a half-done job; so it would never be completed if the breeding ground for terrorists were not converted into the ground for love and friendship. This could be done all the major nations influencing the oil-rich countries for stopping them from funding the schools that teach hatred for humanity.

All the violence have been happening due to ignorance of both the consequences of violence, and of bad deeds would not bring good results. Perpetrators of violence don’t think of the consequences they would need to face. When you kill someone either you will get killed or you will serve the life-term jail. However, some of the perpetrators of faith-based killings believe that killing someone they will land in heaven which none of modern humans knows where it is. So, the world leaders need to teach everyone, love is the only means of peace, and we need to respect everyone, and his or her belief. Teaching violence based on the sectarian belief will lead to violence and counter violence causing never ending of violence.

September 14, 2012

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