Sunday, October 19, 2008

Editorial: COMBATING TERRORISM, of Law Animated World, Vol. 4: Part 2, 30 September 2008 issue


is not easy, indeed it is one of the most difficult tasks, not only for the different governments at the helm, but also for the progressive people at large. It involves basic questions of theory and practice. And terrorism is not a uniform monolith either; it consists of various varieties in different circumstances. The world today is convulsed by Islamic terrorism but that too has different strands. Even Bin Laden’s tirades against the American tyrants are not just religio-fanatic but curiously advert to several ‘secular’ causes. As one serious researcher puts it: “The vast majority of Bin Laden’s public statements provide secular, not religious, rationales for 9/11. The principal purpose of the attack was to punish the ‘unjust and tyrannical America’. The casus belli he invokes over and over again is injustice not impiety. … Bin Laden almost never justifies terrorism against the West as a means for subordinating Western unbelievers to the true faith. Instead, he almost always justifies terrorism against the West as a form of legitimate self-defence.” And we know terror was and is used in legitimate self-defence or even in counter-offensives against oppressive/imperialist regimes. However, we unequivocally condemn terrorism of the type which indiscriminately kills and maims non-combatant innocents on whatever ‘noble principles’ or ‘high ideals’ advocated in support. The recent bomb blasts by Islamic terrorists in various cities of our country belong to this category. Long back Marx had so analytically stated, “Terror consists mostly of useless cruelties perpetrated by frightened people in order to reassure themselves. … the blame for the Reign of Terror in 1793 lies almost exclusively with the over-nervous bourgeois, demeaning himself as a patriot, the small petty bourgeois beside themselves with fright and the mob of riff-raff who know how to profit from the terror.” Today’s terrorists also belong to similar social groups, though here surcharged with religious frenzy. To combat it needs not just tough police and military measures but also mass awareness and education programs not only to isolate terrorists but also to fight against the glaring injustices in the socio-economic systems which give fillip to such outbursts §§§

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