Will the Road of Terror Ever End?

Traditional Versus Contemporary Terrorism: Some Issues

Contemporary terrorism differs in nature and approach from the nineteenth century terrorism because earlier it was linked only with national struggles for independence and social justice and they used to do best to avoid civil causalities, whereas, recent form of terrorism made almost no difference between particular regime and ordinary citizens. Very recently, the attack on Sri Lankan Cricket team in Pakistan is the clear example of dangerous wavered terrorism. This is the first time a cricket team has been targeted by violent militants in Pakistan. It was shocking and extremely sad. But the real target seems to have been to make headlines around the world. And there is also a more ominous message: militant groups can strike at any time, at any place and against any target. The fact the attackers got away poses enormous problems for the authorities in Pakistan, where governments have a poor record against terrorism.[1] Some time in the 1970s, the Association of Chief Police Officers told the UK government that it was no longer possible to prevent public disorder in the streets as could have been done in the past, without any new Public Order Act[2].

For Eric Hobsbawm, public disorder, even in the extreme form of terrorism, does not depend on high-tech or expensive equipment, as was demonstrated on 11 September 2001 when the hijackers of the planes who had brought down the Twin Towers were armed only with carpet-cutters.[3] This means that the need is not of some more stringent public order laws but some thing else. In this contemporary hyper-globalizing world, we require to revisit many traditional and contemporary issues of politics with completely different dimensions. In the words of Upendra Baxi, 'There is no doubt that the logics, languages, and rhetorics of contemporary human rights provide a crucial element for the evaluation of the legitimacy of not only the practices of political power (at all sites from the global to the intensely local) but also from the justice-qualities of the arrangements for social cooperation (such as the family, the market, or social and human rights movements.) A new kind of normative politics thus emerges, however riven with tensions and contradictions, concerning what it may mean to say 'human' and having 'rights', and the contestation over the nature, number, limits, and scope of human rights amidst the rather endless and unproductive contention about their 'universality'[4]. 

Contemporary Tougher Job

It has become a tough job these days, to remember the peaceful days of past where there were several instances of optimum use of money, energy and power. This sight often remains absent in present scenario. Moreover, the large scale terror mines in South Asia, viz. the Islamic terrorism has not only established itself in Afghanistan and Pakistan but also expanded to other parts of the world. This is shaking our conscience to the ultimate and is forcing us to think and question ourselves as to whether the roads of terror would ever end? The answer definitely seems to be in negative in the given set of circumstances where the economies are largely concentrated and the human resource has become available at negligible price to be used as the instruments of terror, which are even cheaper than other arms and ammunitions. The resulting impact is the outbreak of intense terrorist activities resulting in grave threat to human civilization.

The terrorist activities are undoubtedly being used and abused for fulfillment of ulterior objectives by a few, who attempt at setting up their hegemony and for which they exploit and manipulate the poor and make them robots to work towards selfish and inhumane targets. The terror is used and abused by the powerful to maintain their hegemony. We face exhumation of cultures and societies. Certainly, this calls for introspection as to how the wings of terror would be curtailed. 

Various thoughts on Terrorism

There are indeed various theories and thought processes. Some perceive that by terrorizing terror, extinguishment of terror can be achieved. Some other perceives that terror may end with the fulfillment of the desires of the people who are igniting the fire of terror. Some other perceives that terror may see its end by stopping the flow of funds to the people who are responsible for perpetuating terrorism.

'We the witnesses;
The witnesses of treachery;
The witnesses of atrocities;
The witnesses of human erosion;
The witnesses of cruelties;
The witnesses of mass extinction'

In the bloody sub continent, where the witnesses have lost the capacity to be witnesses; witnessing the destruction and loss and an unending trauma of political, economic and social deterioration. In this scenario, there is no single theory which may kill the virus of terror. Since, terrorism is the creation of human mind, so the theories of terror and the approach to handle or curb terrorism may vary from place to place and situation to situation. 

Education and income are the two fields which should be stressed upon to generate satisfactory solution as economic security coupled with qualitative thought process and positive energies shall act as a deterrent for the hazardous growth of terror. It is thus required by the nation states of this world to collectively focus on bringing in peace and harmony amongst the people by bridging the gap between unequals and imparting proper religious education and social and economic perspective to the people so that they not only start respecting humanity but also learn the art of peaceful co-existence in which there is no Osama killing the people but there is Mother Teresa working for the betterment of the people, where the kids are not taught to become Kasabs but are taught to become Gandhis and Lincolns and where we have terror modules terrorizing disease, poverty, calamities, ignorance as well as illiteracy and inequality and recessions and depressions so that the people of this world have a comfortable sustainable living rather living an anxious life wondering for future. 

Lacqueur squabbles that there will perhaps never be an authoritative guide to terrorism because there is not one terrorism, but a variety of terrorisms: what is true for one does not necessarily apply to the others[5]. The desired result against terrorism lies in convergence of many policies and laws, due to the varieties of terrorism. Definitely, if we work in a concrete manner and aim to end terror, we can certainly achieve our object and ensure a prosperous living for the people of this earth and then the road of terror would come to a conclusive end. What society chooses to recognize becomes important in that society[6]. Humanism, secularism, social and economic justice, compassion towards all living creatures except dangerous animals, which threaten human extinction, must be fundamentals valid the world order.[7] 

Eagerness of Contemporary Civilization

The contemporary civilization is waiting eagerly for the day when the pain ends and the witnesses can be absolved of the requirement to recount the loss to the society and the dove of peace and prosperity ends the trauma of black chapters of history and the witnessing of pain ends and the illustrious notes of happiness and glory and magnificence takes its shape.

End Notes
[1] Shaikh ,Dr Farzana, 'Sri Lanka Cricket Team Terror Attack Pakistan Militants are sending out Warning', 04.03.2009, Mirror.co.uk. 
[2] Hobsbawm, Eric, 'Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism', 2007, p.139, Little Brown
[3] Ibid. p. 140
[4] Baxi, Upendra, 'The Future of Human Rights', p. x, 2008, Oxford
[5] Lacqueur, W., 'No End to War', New York and London: Continumm
[6] Bono, Edward De, 'Why So Stupid?', 2008, Westland
[7] Iyer, Hon'ble Justice V.R.Krishna, 'Law and Life', p.147, Universal

Purti Marwaha is an Advocate, Delhi High Court and Partner with Dhir & Dhir Associates, New Delhi.


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