Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1145, 25 April - 1 May 2013
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1145, 25 April - 1 May 2013

Ahram Weekly

Terror, terror everywhere

It was a splendid day, filled with the promise of all the joys and delights of the light-hearted spring season.  The crowds were out in droves, anticipating the thrills of their annual historic marathon.  Without word or warning, the thrills turned to chills as terrorism struck, one more time.  The bright rays of the mid-day sun could neither warm nor heal the bereaved hearts of Bostonians, stunned by the senseless, savage act of slaughter and destruction.  The perpetrators were two deranged misfits, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, radical Muslim immigrants from Chechnya.

Once again all were quick to condemn Islam for the despicable act, and not the crazed hatred of misguided fools and mad fanatics. There is neither excuse nor justification for such heinous crimes, but there is underlying hatred for one man to another, one nation to another, one religion to another.

As we watched the horrific deed unfold on television, we heard the same query of 12 years ago, on September 11, 2001–“Why do they hate us so much?”  The question is simple, the answer complex, requiring detailed and lengthy analysis. In fact, there is no answer!  It is buried deep, down in the bottom of the human soul, long before Cain and Abel.

Americans are oblivious to the fact that their one-sided foreign policy has spawned evil and hatred for decades, and particularly among Muslims throughout the world and Arabs in the Middle-East . One cannot help but recall some of the incidents so ably described in the famous book:“The Ugly American”, which was made into a movie starring Marlon Brando.  Their policy in the Middle-East is biased, naïve and short-sighted, to say the least.

How often the world forgets that Islam is the most peaceful of all religions preferring to describe it as a bloody faith ruled by the sword of Jihad. And what religion did not wage war for its cause?  The world did not condemn all Christians or Christianity for the likes of Timothy McVaigh, for the Irish Resistance and their myriad terrorist acts against the British, or the Ku Klux Klan and their atrocious crimes against African Americans.

Terrorism is neither an Arab nor a Muslim phenomenon.  It has plagued this world of ours for thousands of years.  It exists and thrives everywhere, in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America as well as North America.  Neither the US nor is Boston unfamiliar with terrorism.  In the 1850s John Brown, a radical abolitionist attempted to free slaves by a series of terrorist attacks “to force the nation into new political patterns by creating terror”. He was caught and executed for treason in 1859.  His death helped indirectly to bring on the Civil War.

Following the US Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan was created using violence, lynching, murder and other acts of terror to intimidate and bludgeon America’s black population.  It was a nation-wide organization that was anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic as well as anti African.  All Protestants were not condemned for the KKK.

On December 16, 1773, 50 Bostonians known as “The Sons of Liberty” disguised themselves as Indians and raided 3 British ships in Boston Harbour.  They dumped the contents of 340 chests of tea into Boston Bay, because they refused  to pay higher taxes on tea to the British government. This was clearly an illegitimate attack on British property.   Known as The Boston Tea- Party, it is listed as an act of terror which led to the American Revolutionary War of Independence 3 years later. To Bostonians and to all Americans it is an act of protest and of liberation.

Few terrorists describe themselves as such.  Only opponents describe the other side as terrorists. It all depends on which side you are on.  Militants, guerillas, freedom-fighters and nationalists are other names used to describe terrorists. They are all emotionally charged groups or individuals driven by an ideological cause whether political, religious or social.

History is replete with acts of terror.  During the 1st century AD, Jewish zealots in Judea province used acts of terror against Roman rulers and their Jewish collaborators, including temple priests, Sadducees, Herodians and others.

Political assassinations are also described as acts of terror, and the US is well familiar with those, having lost two Presidents and several prominent figures including Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.   WWI was instigated by the bullets of Gavito Princip, an assassin who shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

Nationalism is the main ideology that is linked to terrorism.  Of course there are the deranged sole criminals, tortured by a society they find cruel and unjust, perhaps the motive behind the Boston catastrophe.  Movements like the Irish Republican Army or the Jewish Hagannah and Irgun are rebels with a cause. Their methods are said to have inspired the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood who used similar tactics, bombings and assassinations as a means of protest, using religion as a front.

Violence and terror are nothing new to the world or to the US.  They are however no less dreadful or deplorable.  Whenever innocents are victims we should rise and condemn such acts as long as our hearts are still beating.

It is a mad, mad world we live in, as it always has been and always will be.  To survive we simply have to accept without accusing, blaming or condemning a particular race, religion or nation.


Anarchism is a game at which the police can beat you

                                   George Bernard Shaw ( 1856-1950)

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