I watched Imperium a few weeks back. I was interested in seeing the transformation of Daniel Radcliffe from the Harry Potter stereotype, as much as I was interested in the theme of the film. An FBI agent infiltrates white supremacist gangs and factions to foil a plot to use dirty bombs in a rally. It was a difficult film to watch, almost cringing at the actors portraying the faction members. And it was difficult to watch knowing the fact that it’s not just a film but a true reflection of the society. These groups exist and these ideologies exist — knowing that was revolting enough. But assuming in reality, the clans must be behaving like this as well made the feeling much worse. I knew that somewhere, this must be happening already, as we are sitting on a ticking time bomb, and it’s just a matter of time when it all blows up. The Charlottesville incidents just proved my fears; not the first instance, but certainly the most broadcasted event in the recent times. It’s time to wake up to racism, and terrorism. And more importantly, to rid off the media bias and call a spade a spade. Charlottesville attacks were terrorist attacks and the governments must gear up to quash such extremist views.
9/11 had permanently changed the world. It made the world polarised. On one side, 9/11 meant more woes to the Middle East because that would just let Uncle Sam interfere in the region in the name of national safety, something that it had been doing for a long time anyway. For the Middle East, American intervention is seen as a symbol of West’s imposition of supposedly higher moral values in the region. This resulted in spreading of Islamist extremism like a wildfire since 9/11 that didn’t stay localised in the Middle East but spread across the globe. Disgusting is the ideology — of killing people of different faiths and race, and disgusting are the people who preach this and carry out the attacks. This is straightforward geopolitics so far.
Yet the less talked about change about 9/11 is equally sinister, and it’s not easily perceived. 9/11 brought the fear into the minds of the people — especially in the west. That these extremists can run their killing spree in the west, and that it’s not an issue of mad people killing each other in a faraway land — it blew the bubble of security people were living in. Growing up in the subcontinent where India had been constantly battered by terrorist attacks, we never had that safety bubble that it wouldn’t happen to us. In a day, that absurdity suddenly seemed quite possible.
Fear brings the worst out of us humans. We lose our sense of reasoning and stop trusting people. We look at everyone with suspicion. The heightened fear of a Muslim extremist attack became so apparent that overnight anyone with a Muslim name or appearance was subjected to scrutinies, hate crimes and proving their allegiance to the state. I’d like to mention another brilliant film that captured the transition of mentalities about Muslims during this epoch — The Reluctant Fundamentalist. People felt threatened and wanted to do something to feel safe again. And that paved the path for white supremacy and neo-Nazism.
White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi rhetoric is not new. They have always been around but never reached a critical mass since WWII, because most people didn’t believe in their threats, nor did the groups have issues to preach their hatred against. 9/11 gave them an enemy. And with people losing their sense of judgement, the white supremacist doomsday threats started to appear credible.
Extremism alone didn’t pave the path for these extremist right wing voices. Over last few decades, the world had become more mobile than it has ever been. With an increased level of business and exposure to education, geographical barriers seemed to be disappearing. That facilitated greater global mobility and it’s evident that the net immigration has increased in the West, especially if in G20 states. Also, apart from the skilled migrants, a number of unskilled immigrants had been on the rise as well, caused by heightened social, political and religious unrest in countries. More people in those conflict torn countries were forced to flee in fear of their life. Not only did these new immigrants raise fear of the increased risk of extremist attacks (“who can say they weren’t terrorist disguised as normal people” etc.), but businesses employed immigrants more to pay less for the same work.
And thus, migrants are linked to joblessness, social unrest, their inability to integrate into the society and imbibe ethos of the state. People started to have a feeling that the minorities have better privileges than the non-migrant population of the country. A feeling that they are losing control of the stronghold they had over the local communities. The situation has worsened with the global economic downturn, and the working class was hit by the housing bubble, unemployment, relocation, poverty. In desperate times, people look for either something to salvage themselves or blame someone for their misery. Immigrants were an easy target. And thus the majority of the large economies with a high net positive migration has witnessed a growing sense of nationalism.
I don’t see any difference between nationalism and racism. Nationalism is a concept to differentiate people who belong to the land, pledge their allegiance no matter if the state is right or wrong, and dissuade diversity. The plague of nationalism is on the surge across the world, but it’s particularly noticeable in the US and Europe. There are docile ones, such as outfits like organisers of #whitelivesmatter, and there are the Neo-Nazi clans. It is even horrific to find that the right-wing nationalist outfits are finding their feet as legitimate set-ups. Recent elections in France, Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Switzerland – nationalists have not only found their foothold in the legislative system but also were close to winning the elections in some cases. That was scary.
It was scary seeing nationalist parties gather so much support, with their politics of hate, but two biggest events last year completely upstaged the notion that common sense will prevail. The UK left the European Union, spurred by the campaign full of lies and scaremongering about immigration. And on the other side of the pond, Donald Trump has become the most powerful man on earth. Different countries, same rhetoric. The UK, despite its receding importance in the global political landscape, delivered a boost to all nationalist voices around the world. The aftermath of Brexit is, of course, the election of Donald Trump. Desperate working-class people, trying to change their living conditions, have fallen prey to the opportunist vultures, supported by expensive campaigns, sourced from the donors who benefit most from the election results.
It’s a long prelude to the Charlottesville attacks. The conflict was always due coming. The signs were all there. Brexit wasn’t that much of a threat on a global scale, although the heightened levels of hate and race crimes since the Brexit results show that a lot of people wore a mask before, of being open-minded, liberal – and suddenly, their true self is out in the open. But the biggest threat is the orange clown sitting at the White House. A complete moron with immense power is never a good combination and seeing all nationalist people across the world hailing him a hero, it spells danger. This may sound controversial, but Donald Trump, with all his shockingly horrific views on Americanism, being elected to the White House is equally cringeworthy as was the declaration of Al-Baghdadi his Caliphate. One’s vile, the other’s evil, both morons, both have thousands of moron followers who hails them and acts to their orders without thinking…you get the picture, right?
Charlottesville is scary for another reason. For the nationalists, the common demographic happened to be white working class – disenfranchised, marginalised public. However, many of the Charlottesville alt-right protesters were university students, a segment typically seen to be left wing. It is worrying that the sphere of influence has grown in size. The anti-immigrant nationalist rhetoric has reached beyond its grassroots support base. People are more prejudiced and eager to show their racial bias under the helm of the new leaders. Yet the situation observed in Charlottesville was more disturbing, seeing the alt-right drop its reformist mask and show their white supremacist face. They gave Nazi salutes, bore the Confederate cross, chanted anti-Semitic slogans, and then stooped to another low by planning to use murdered Heather Heyer’s funeral. This is the real face of America’s alt-right. If their agenda of nationalism is desperate, their white supremacist ideology is pure evil. And if you think that’s an American problem, you’re making the same mistake as done while branding Muslim extremism a Middle East problem. Just look at the anti-immigrant sentiment that swept through Britain post-Brexit. Then there are anti-Islam Britain First and EDL, who want to portray every Muslim in the UK as terrorists. But there’s a larger hidden threat, from lesser known outfits, such as National Action.
Terrorist. That’s a term I consciously avoided so far because media semantics is another area that needs immediate rethinking. Okay. Imagine a terrorist. What do you see? A Muslim man, long beard, possibly carrying a rucksack? Was it far off my guess? What about hate preacher? Middle age Muslim man with long beards and even better if he wore a cap? Well, as far as Islamist terrorist or hate preaching goes, these images probably match the profiles of the most notorious ones. How do the following people fit in the profile of a terrorist? Timothy McVeigh, Anders Breivik, KKK, hundreds of killers involved in school shootings, IRA, ETA. They are all white, perhaps Christians as well. And that’s just one demographic section. There are examples from all corners of the world. There are governments carrying out organised ethnic cleansing – directly or indirectly. The new addition to that list of terrorists is James Fields. Yet, we seem to be too frivolous to use the term terrorist with Muslim attacks and try our best not to use the term for any other community. What about hate preachers? What about The Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Britain First, EDL, Nigel Farage and UKIP, Front National, Jobbik, Geert Wilders, Golden Dawn? What about Katie Hopkins? And above all, the Donald Trump, spending more time posting halfwit tweets slagging off half the world’s population? Do you see these people as hate preachers? I guess not, but they no doubt are. The jihadi extremists do it in the name of their religion, and the other bunch does it from a moral high ground. They think they represent liberal western civilisation. They are wrong. Their views are as primitive as is the Islamist terrorists they are directing their hatred.
And this is what is worrying. That these opportunist people are given a platform – by the media, by the public, by the system – to spread their hatred. There was a speculation whether Charlottesville spelled the end of the alt-right in America. On the contrary, it was found that its supporters became bolder and flew Swastikas on their house in the open. It was all there in Charlottesville – Confederate flag, Swastikas, Nazi salute, chants like “Blood and soil” and “Jews won’t replace us”. It was a shameless display of blatant racism and equally shameful silence from a waste of a space president. He stayed silent as long as possible – which already emboldened the Neo-Nazis, and then a meek criticism that seemed completely unlike Donald Trump speech. His vocabulary does not stretch to repugnant. Then he made a U-turn by calling the protesters alt-left and tried to blame both parties of intolerance. And then he defended keeping the Confederate statues that caused the clash. The president spoke of bigotry, yet he turned out to be the biggest bigot during this crisis.
The killing of Heather Heyer and the two police officers are abhorrent. It was unfortunate that it took the death of three people to get the condemnation of the rally it deserved at the very first place. But it’s not all gloomy. The resistance and the counter-protests have gathered more supporters than the white supremacist militias did. It is a consolation that the picture is the same in most of the places, wherever the fascists held a rally, they either give up or outnumbered and overshadowed by the anti-racism supporters. There was a stream of photos that went viral where one Neo-Nazi is seen to be punched in the face after he did a Nazi salute. Now, the judgement is divided whether the use of violence was justified. Probably not. But let’s draw a parallel here. During an Islamist terrorist attack, the entire Muslim community is expected to prove their allegiance to the government, criticising the attack. If they don’t do it, it is expected that they discretely support terrorism. The white supremacists, on the other hand, adhere to the views of America’s dark racist past. If the Muslim terror suspects and sympathisers can be kept under surveillance and arrested, why couldn’t their counterparts? And lastly, it’s crazy how a Muslim terrorist is shot dead within seconds whilst Anders Breiviks and James Fields are safely led away by police, despite their crime was equally despicable. And supporting a movement that committed the most heinous crimes of the twentieth century, the neo-Nazis show that essentially there is no difference in them and the supporters of Islamist extremism. Their objective is no different. But there is not attempt to criticise them as terrorist sympathisers.
From that perspective, the best work is probably done by an anonymous twitter user @YesYoureRacist, by identifying all alt-right supporters on the rally. In a group, people do awful things, but when they realise that they are singled out, that might put an end to their little adventure with the big boys. It’s sort of vigilantism, which is a questionable trend, but it should have been the police and intelligence to identify them and monitor of their movements. They failed, so somebody had to bring it out in the daylight. The little escapades of these tin soldiers had to be made public. Some might end up losing jobs, being socially outcast in the community, rethink their mistakes and follow a normal course of life. The few others, let’s call them terrorist material, should then have to be kept under surveillance by the police as potential terror suspects.
Nazism didn’t happen in Germany overnight. It started with the election of an overzealous maniac by popular mandate. And the history repeated itself again last year. Unless uprooted at its nascent stage, it will be too late. The right-wing already are in the motion. They are given more voice in the media for some reason anyway. The popularity of the right-wing press is mind-boggling. Perhaps the media watchdog wanted to observe the freedom of speech a little more. But what is freedom of speech for rabid dogs? That’s what these fanatics are. It’s a pity that many feel marginalised in the new ethical world but joining a fanatical movement is not going to solve the problem. Brexit happened last year. Trump was elected eight months back. Where did all the promises go? Apart from the failed attempts to implement racist Muslim ban and the Mexico wall, Trump managed to do fuck all. Either people are already beginning to realise that it was all lies and empty boasts, or they are brainwashed enough not to see that nothing’s happening. They have become right-wing automatons. They can’t see that religion, culture, social cohesion — none of it is the root of the problem. It’s the wealth, and its distribution. This sentence might make you brand me as a Commie, but I don’t mind, just as I think that if you support this then you are a racist, and you are trying to sugar coat it with patriotism and culture and all other nonsense.
This is why, it is absolutely paramount that we do everything to prevent this wildfire of hatred. And for that, people will need to speak up. Disagreeing in silence will not give a clear message that you are opposed to the horrific ideas of the neo-Nazis. We need to square up to them. Protest can be as cynical as by brave Saffiyah Khan, smirking on the face of the Britain First scum, or literally punching them. You have to match them strength to strength. Violence cannot be the solution, but where the far-right form militias, hold camps on how to attack/fight the enemy (who is the enemy anyway?), or to the least, resort to intimidation and a racial slur, repeating lines of Das Kapital or Beatles is not going to make much difference, will it? There is no space for debate yet because that’s not what the Neo-Nazis are after. They have the pseudo alt-right mouthpieces like Milo Yannopoulos and Tommy Robinson but they are just red herrings, the agent provocateurs. They are dangerous as their reach spans the furthest, in terms of brainwashing the confused and misrepresented youth, but it’s the lesser known direct action groups that people need to watch out for. They are possibly hard to identify, and their whereabouts, therefore, stay unknown to the authorities and protestors. Take a parallel with the Islamist extremism. You have hate preachers like Anjem Chaudhury, who provokes the youth, and perhaps preaches them about carrying out attacks, but is never found to be linked directly to any of the terrorist attacks. Then you have/had the notorious terrorists like Bin Laden, Al-Baghdadi, the Samantha Lewthwaite…they are masterminds but are so heavily monitored that it’s unlikely that they’ll be involved in the attacks themselves. But it’s the unknown brainwashed misguided marginalised people, working in little sleeper cells, who are carrying out the majority of the terrorist attacks. London, Nice, Barcelona, Paris — it’s the less known or unknown faces that are involved in the attacks. Just like James Fields. An unknown and unsuspecting individual. It is important to gather and pass information so these terrorists are identified. Identified so police track their whereabouts and also identified amongst the anti-racism and other protest groups. Outnumbering the opposition is a great tactic and so far, it worked great in the UK where the protesters relentlessly outnumbered the right-wing demonstrators in every rally. And when the threat of white-supremacist zealots have calmed down, and people see the emptiness of their propaganda, then it’s the time to engage in talks. Talks to the vulnerable, underprivileged section of the population who have been continuously exploited and given false hope of a brighter future. It’s only by education, and by forming a truly inclusive society can we rid of the evils of racism and religious hatred.
Going back to where I started, talking about Daniel Radcliffe, I am a big fan of Harry Potter books. They drew inspiration from many modern day events and that’s why the significance of the books never fade away from the memory. You just keep on identifying incidents with the book, and you get a new meaning of the series. The reign of terror ran by Voldemort and his death eaters were reminiscent of the Nazi Germany. The persecution of the muggles and witches born in non-wizarding family reminded of the atrocities of the Third Reich. Apart from the historical accounts of the WWII, Harry Potter books showed how the reign of terror actually started. A sudden appearance of the dark mark in the sky. March of past by the death eaters. Death of an individual. The government’s attempt to play it down. Persecution of the ones who asked for tougher measures. Failures of the government to protect the vulnerable. Until it’s beyond control. This is how just things unfold in Harry Potter. And this is how the first signs have started appearing. Terrorism is evil for humankind. The governments are doing enough to curb Islamist terrorism, but not enough to eliminate the threats posed by the Neo-Nazis, the white supremacists, the alt-right. The threat should have been taken seriously for a long time, but the movement is nigh on getting its critical mass. It’s time to act fast. It’s not the time to be philosophical about the problem but quash it brutally, before it turns into a raging wildfire of communal hatred that will engulf our entire society irrespective of colour, race, religion.
I am an alarmist. And I see patterns. And the patterns like above do not bode well. At the end of Harry Potter, everybody fought together to defeat the evil forces of Voldemort. Battle of Hogwarts gave us hope. That in the end, the Good wins. Yet, the reality is far more complicated than the book. We don’t always get the happy ending. Can we fight together shoulder to shoulder forgetting our petty differences? Because that’s what is needed to achieve that goal. To give Donald Trump and his “fine people” alt-right a kick up their backside. Let’s hope that the history doesn’t repeat itself, and we keep on hoping that the threats of white-supremacist and far-right extremisms are uprooted at its nascent stage.
As I write this, 16 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Barcelona, two were killed in Finland, and there were a number of attempts including in Buckingham Palace, Paris and Brussels. So the threat of Islamist terrorism is very real, and it’s not going to be resolved in our lifetime. But creating another monster to eliminate that threat is suicidal. Killing terrorists or even surveillance are reactive measures, which is necessary, but not sustainable. The threat of homegrown terrorism can only be countered through the social inclusion of the youth. And it is essential to change the perception of the public on terrorism. All the events above are well covered in the media. What unfortunately didn’t get so much public attention is the fact that the death toll is much higher in a number of attacks carried out in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Nigeria. Most of these are carried out by Islamist terrorists. The public apathy towards extremism outside Europe and North America is one of the main reasons how the dangers of religious/nationalist extremism have spread across the world. And the proliferation of the nationalism and racism. Islamist and Right-wing extremism aren’t even the two sides of the coin; they are absolutely identical in nature. They rely on hate, they are divisive and wants to destroy the fabric of the modern multicultural society. It’s reassuring that the threat of Islamist terrorism is well identified, but it’s also essential that we don’t turn a blind eye to the other. Wikipedia shows there are 199 terrorist attacks in August across the world. But Heather Heyer does not feature in that list of victims. She damn well should.
On the night of the 1st January when the country finished celebrating the New Year’s Day and looking forward to a long weekend, an yet unknown number of terrorists suspected from the group Jaish-e-Muhammad abducted a senior Superintendent of Police car and entered the strategic Air Force base at Pathankot and opened fire with a view to destroy the strategic military assets maintained in the base. Seven Indian lives were lost until now, whilst six terrorists were suspected to be neutralised. The operation is now declared complete, although it is not clear how many terrorists attacked the base and whether any escaped.
When I started my day on 2nd January, thousands of miles away from those picturesque yet dangerous terrains that abut Indo-Pak borders, I was completely taken aback! Not that terrorist attacks are unheard of in India — in fact, before 9/11, India had been subjected to numerous attempts since independence that the rest of the world dismissed as internal issues. Yet, in recent times, peace seemed to have returned to the Kashmir valleys and the attack sent a completely contradictory message, whilst the Indian PM recently paid an unexpected visit to Pakistan.
The fingers for obvious reasons point towards Pakistan, where regardless of all peace talks and all different political parties in power, on the issue of Kashmir, it is a bureaucratic and diplomatic dead end. Pakistan would never stop claiming for Kashmir fearing a political annihilation otherwise, and India would never give it away for the same reason, as well as Kashmir providing a natural deterrent to invasions without which, the border would be too close to Delhi.
Following the attacks, on the social media which, in addition to the news on Internet, is my window to what’s happening in India, there seems to be a another controversy brewing up. On one side, there are pacifists who are proclaiming #TerrorHasNoReligion and #NonStateActor etc, the bigger and louder voice are for imparting capital punishments to terrorists, strengthening the army and in some extreme cases criticising the government brazenness on waging war on Pakistan. For this majority, the suspicion, quite obviously turns to the Indian Muslim population, in where their loyalty lie. Political parties weighed in quite expectedly, all blaming the attacks to appear patriotic, yet criticise on various fronts to the incumbent BJP government.
The anger in the Indian public is understandable. For various reasons, India has been involved in numerous conflicts with Pakistan and although the relation thawed in recent times, the terrorist attacks in India have never ceased and in ALL cases, the links were found going back to Pakistan. All Political parties in power in New Delhi have said harsh words, then it no measure was taken, neither offensive, nor collaborative. Public is frustrated with the government inaction and the continuous disruption to normal life and the huge human loss incurred in the attacks. To the common public, such an attack should have been avenged, to make the perpetrators afraid of planning further invasions.
Such expectations, no matter how patriotic they sound, are only emotional, passionate and impossible. Declaring war without any evidence is a direct breach of UN legislation and however frustrating it is, the government can’t but accept that outfits like JeM are non-state actors, they are terrorist outfits with no established connection to Pakistan government or army until proven. Is Pakistan not aware of these outfits training in its soil and then crossing the heavily guarded Indo-Pak border? Of course they are aware, we can’t be so naive to assume that they don’t. It appears that in Pakistan there is the elected government, then the army and finally the ISI — Pakistan’s secret service agency, and each of these three leaderships has their own agenda. So, as far as terrorists are concerned, the government view was perhaps to turn a blind eye on attacks on India, rather than have the attacks turn internal. Also, for a large number of Pakistanis and perhaps some Kashmiris, who believe that Kashmir should a part of Pakistan, these attacks are not terrorist activities, the terrorists perhaps were seen as freedom fighters instead. Considering the whereabouts of these outfits are known to government, what the Pakistan government has done would define whether there were heavy involvement and possibly supply of weapons etc. to these terrorists, or whether they were aware of the plans and did not take proactive measures to thwart them crossing the borders. One of the conspiracy theories floating around suggests ISI and Pakistan Army tend to keep the Kashmir melting pot simmering but not boil over, in the wake of the goodwill missions between the Indo-Pak governments to defrost the relations. This also highlights the lack of control by the government over the Army involvements in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, what should India do? There is not much more to do than what’s being done in this or the last terrorist attacks. The first target was to secure the base and the key assets, as well as ensure the safety of the civilians in the nearby area. The Punjab Police and the NSG has completed that task although clumsily. The other important task was to neutralise the perpetrators or capturing them alive. Although it’s been a long battle and the statement from the SP was perhaps confusing in ascertaining the number of terrorists, most of the terrorists are now neutralised and the operation is declared complete. An enquiry by NIA is already under way to probe the attacks. The investigation is essential and the outcome will lead the way how India government would respond to the situation. During the attacks, it emerged that the the right forces were not deployed or the right equipments were not available, which will need to be addressed for future crisis situations. All the unanswered questions that have been raised following the attack will need to find an answer such as where the other terrorists came from or how did they infiltrate the border security forces of India and Pakistan. Questions need to be answered why after the SP was abducted, there wasn’t a high alert? Another approach by Indian government is really commendable during the Pathankot attacks was not to point finger at Pakistan straight away without any inquiry. Considering the ruling party is Hindu supremacist, not being carried away with passion for an Islamist attack showed the sign of its political astuteness. At the same time, the Pak media seemed to have asked the pertinent questions on how the borders that are heavily guarded were breached, and the investigation committee should pass information back to Pakistan if the involvement was found. On the other hand, despite cries from opposition Congress to severe all diplomatic ties with Pakistan, that would make the discussions and negotiations that have just started freeze again, as before. The trend showed that whenever Indo-Pak peace talks started, the separatists replied with an attack. The peace process or at least the discussions should not stop as that would appear as victory to the terrorists. Last but not the least, the soldiers who died in the confrontation should be remembered and it should be made sure that the state looks after their next of kin, as well as of the taxi driver who was killed.
One of the greatest achievements of post-independence India was that it’s the world’s biggest democracy and the government is run by a well defined constitution. At times critics may have quite rightly pointed out that they could be sluggish and overly bureaucratic, calling for revisions to cater for recent times. However, in situations like this, the integrity of the Indian constitution can be fully appreciated that allowed the government to function in a logical manner, keeping the interest of the entire population in mind. India’s Gandhian peace efforts in diplomatic missions has earned the country many allies, as did the recent economic boom. An adolescent response by a declaration of war would not only destabilise the political and social balance in the subcontinent, but it would also undermine India’s position as one of the biggest emerging economies. Considering the biggest opposition to India is China — economically as well as politically, such a move would definitely lose India a few supporters. Also, in the politically volatile situation in Pakistan, the last thing expected is to push Pakistan in a state where the extremists take over the government and cause a nuclear Armageddon, leaving probably the entire Pakistan and a large part of India wiped out for generations. The international community will keep the safe distance, and although based on their economic interest perhaps most of them take India’s side, none of them would be involved in the conflict.
Apart from win-loss angle, a war situation should at all cost be avoided from a humanitarian point of view. That each human life is precious and a war would only mean loss of hundreds and thousands of the human capital, the true building blocks of India — this should be the first point of argument. People are outraged about the situations and causing storms in the social media, but all such petty activism is light-years away from the harsh terrains of Himalayas, where the military outposts are guarding the territory in the most unforgiving climate and landscape. Despite being strongly opposed to the idea of any army, in the volatile borders such as Indo-Pak or Sino-Indian frontiers, unless the governments reach a permanent equilibrium, armed forces and border protection is necessary, not just for preventing illegal land acquisition, but also for minimising terrorist infiltrations. We don’t want to see any loss of life as seen in this attack, but a retaliatory response to flex the muscles, is something that may appear heroic in the ultra-nationalist perspective, but going to an armed conflict wiping out cities and villages is not a sensible option at all. So, before one raises another battle cry to show raging patriotism, please ask yourself who would suffer the biggest loss? Even if there is a war and India flattens Pakistan, what will happen then? Would that not pave the way for more ferocious terrorist elements like Al-Qaeda or ISIS? Picture the sights of devastation seen in the war torn middle-east, of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan — despite being threatened many times, such destruction hasn’t touched India or Pakistan yet, and let’s all hope that the governments to be prudent enough to avoid such meltdown.
There are possibilities that a lot of insider information is passed over to ISI by Indians, unknowingly or being bribed. Such possibilities cannot be ignored, and rather than the lapse in technology, the insiders passing on information are bigger threats, helping the terrorists with details to make their master plans. A lot of information coming out of the investigation still doesn’t add up. Also, the focus should be on the people of J&K as well, because the terrorists may have received local help, without which, how did they managed to to their reconnaissance of the army base? There are a lot of grievance against the Indian government and abuses by the army. If such issues are not addressed effectively and the residents felt that their voices are not heard, it makes way for sympathising, if not directly supporting, with the partisan elements – terrorist or otherwise. I remember watching a recent documentary on Channel 4 called Walking the Himalayas, where citizens in Srinagar were asked about the political tensions and the presenter summarised that people don’t feel as part of India. Such statement is conflagrant because a major UK channel is endorsing the view that the population don’t feel to be a part of India based on the ten people he spoke to. But the more worrying fact is that whether that statement is true, that the population is felt betrayed by the Indian government and feel detached? Will there ever be a referendum on Kashmir? The present referendum in Crimea showed how easily the votes can be rigged and a region be annexed. So what chance have we got of a fair vote and the accept the results and work towards a solution? This brings more fundamental questions of what is a state and its necessity in our lives? Why do we live in a fragmented world, building artificial boundaries and then keep spending more protecting these frontiers? There are endless questions and the answers are not available or implementable as yet.
To conclude however, let’s spare a moment for all the lives lost, and think again before crying out for blood. And remember, that the biggest harbingers of peace are also the biggest warmongers and the more the other countries, communities, people get into conflict with each other, the more we spend on war machinery, the more money goes to the coffers of these vendors of war. Our emotions will only feed the interests of those leeches.So think carefully, and do the right thing, which is to look at the situation from different dimension and see who the biggest sufferers will be for our wrong decisions. It’s always us.
J’ai une connexion spirituelle avec la France il y a longtemps. Comme j’ai grossi dans une ville nommée l’un des «Paris de l’Orient» pour sa richesse culturelle, pour être mieux avancé en pensées et pour avoir un joie de vivre, dès ce temps-là, j’ai ressenti un lien très fort avec Paris, et la France en générale. Pour moi, il y avait toujours Paris, la capitale culturelle du monde, l’acmé de maîtrise intellectuelle, la culmination de la liberté d’expression. Et il y avait la reste du monde, séparés entièrement de ma ville de rêve. Et encore, la France était toujours le pays de la liberté, égalité, fraternité qui a formé le premier république moderne après la révolution sanglante. Quand j’ai entendu «La Marseillaise» la première fois, j’ai remarqué comment les mots sont complètement différent que les autres hymnes nationales. Il n’y avait pas aucun référence de dieu, ni prier, ni une explication comment magnifique son pays est. Au contraire, l’hymne parlait d’être armées jusqu’à ce que les champs sont remplis de sang de son ennemi. Première fois, ç’a semblait un peu violent, mais les mots aussi signifient la sacrifice française pendant la révolution. Sans ces sacrifices, la France comme nous la connaissons aujourd’hui n’aurait pas existé. Plusieurs siècles sont passés depuis «La Marseillaise» a été écrit, mais une phrase a tout à fait reflété comment l’attentats terroristes du 13 Novembre 2015 ont eu lieu — «Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras/ égorger nos fils, nos compagnes…». Les événements seront écrits comme un jour noir, pas seulement pour la France, mais pour l’humanité entière quand l’amour et la vie est bousculé par les mercenaires de mort.
C’est la deuxième fois quand Paris est frappé par les terroristes inconnus cette année, cachés derrière leur visages normale. Le visage de ces mercenaires n’étaient pas extraordinaire, ceux n’étaient pas marqués par symboles qui nous disent que leurs cœurs sont remplis de la haine. Au contraire, ces meurtriers peut-être semblaient tout banale, comme toi et moi, et c’est comment ils peuvent mélanger avec la foule avant qu’ils ont lancé leurs attaques. Précisément c’est une mission presqu’impossible quand l’on ne sait pas l’ennemi, ce n’est pas une guerre où l’on peut regarder dans les yeux des soldats et savoir lequel côté ils appartiennent.
Mais attends! On ne se bat plus les guerres comme ça. Nous appuyons un bouton et tuons centaines n’importe qu’ils étaient l’ennemi, les terroristes ou les citoyens innocents. Et aussi, c’est toujours le débat adopté par les fascistes…la gloire de se sacrifier protéger son pays. Ils glorifient la guerre, promeuvent la haine contre les autres humains. Après la cauchemar du vendredi soir, il y avait déjà une tendance de condamner les immigrés Syriens et aussi déclarer qu’islam est une religion barbare qui promeut violence contre les autres religions surtout chrétiens. Tel points de vue seulement aggravent la situation, laissent les sociétés divisées en isolant les minorités. Comme les terroristes, les fascistes aussi ont rien à offrir pour améliorer l’humanité et seulement nourrissent de peur des citoyens. La France est en deuil et la gouvernement a promis un réplique «impitoyable», mais on ne doit pas oublier d’être vigilant contre le politique de droite, pour que la haine ne puisse plus exacerbé.
Le terrorisme est une crise de notre temps-ci, mais c’est plutôt comme une maladie qui a fallu éradiquer. Il faut utiliser la pouvoir dans une situation d’urgence contre les meurtriers, pour protéger les citoyens contre les attaques et les pays doivent être plus coordonnées, plus unifié. Mais avec la pouvoir militaire, la tâche sera seulement demi-complet. La lutte le plus difficile sera d’effacer l’idée du terrorisme, son existence hors des cerveaux des son poursuivants. Il faut enseigner qu’il n’y a pas aucune gloire à achever tuer les autres humains, il n’y a pas aucune éternité leur attend après la mort. Ça sera seulement la honte, la mépris.
La combat contre le terrorisme sera un affaire long, dur et grave. Mais il faut rester unifié toujours, et n’oublier jamais ceux qu’on a perdu. Quant à parler sur l’atrocité en Paris, nous devons aussi commémorer aux autres qui sont morts ou blessés aux autres coins de la terre — Liban, Irak, Kenya — n’importe où ces actes se sont passés, le sang saigné était toujours rouge. Aussi, les chiffres ne doivent pas nous dire comment réagir. N’importe si c’est un ou une centaine, la vie est hors prix, et donc la perte de vie à cause de ces actes de lâche faut être commémorés néanmoins. Mais aussi, nous devons former une société vraiment basée sur les trois principes — liberté, égalité et fraternité. Personne ne doit plus être jugé selon leur peau, langue, sexe ou religion. Que l’un est un être humain sera suffisant pour être traité avec respect, sans suspicion. Si nous pouvons intégrer tout le monde dans une société commune et leurs comprenons assez, il n’y aura pas aucune religion nous séparer ou faire se battre l’un contre l’autre. Le fait que nous sommes humains, et tout le monde sont pareils sera meilleur que n’importe quelle religion nous enseigne.
Alors, qu’est-ce qu’on doit faire? D’abord c’est très important que nous n’oublions pas Beyrouth ou Baghdâd, quand on pense aux vies perdues. Mais Paris a nous déjà montré le chemin! Milliers des citoyens gardant vigiles, les bougies, une pianiste joue au piano devant le théâtre Bataclan — ces images envoient une message très fort aux terroristes qui essayaient de briser Paris. Paris était frappé mais répliqué dans une manière typiquement français — d’être courageux sans violence, et donc les bruit des fusillades seront submergé par la musique, la haine sera remplacé par l’amour. La violence contre la violence ne mettra pas fin à cette épidémie, et l’on doit être ferme sur garder la liberté et l’indépendance pour tous, pas seulement pour la majorité. La guerre contre le terrorisme commence maintenant avec toi et moi. Et donc, allons-y être en deuil pour Paris, pour Beyrouth, pour Baghdad…pour chaque perte de vie clamé par les mercenaires du mort. Et allons-y célébrer la vie, célébrer la joie de vivre et se moquer de l’absurdité de fanatisme religieux. Allons-y, disons «Je suis Charlie Hebdo, Je suis Paris, Je suis Beyrouth»…