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The World is a small place

The world truly is a small place… and the two terrorist incidents in this month have only proven this further. The first was targeted at one of the densest populated cities of Asia as terrorists struck at the heart of Mumbai, at the peak rush hours. On the heels of this cowardly attack, Oslo’s government center was targeted early yesterday.

In an ever-changing world where the mantra has always been “change is the only constant”, there has, in fact, been a constant. It is the fear among people across the world of being in a terrorist attack. The world is no more a safe place. And its not only some countries out of the limelight in North Africa… its right here amongst us in some of the most powerful countries in the world. Almost all countries have faced acts of terrorism in some form of the other. The reasons are many – Chechnya, Palestine, Kashmir just to name a few. The end result is, however, almost always the same. Death and destruction borne by innocents who have neither a say in “the cause” nor a solution for it.

Terrorist groups across the world have some things in common. Foremost of all, they all have an agenda. However far-fetched it may sound, none of the attacks are random or haphazard. They are always targeted and well-controlled. The terrorist masterminds are trying to make a point. They are trying to make people sit up and take notice. And the cost of failure in a terrorist attack is very high. To a certain extent, the horrific terrorist incidents of 26 November 2008 that happened in Mumbai were a failure. The attack was delayed  – a bit earlier and the number of casualties in CST itself would have been massive. The police came too quickly on the scene – the terrorists were forced to escape too early from Cama Hospital. And one suicide bomber got himself caught. Another common factor is source of funds. Almost all major terrorist groups are or have been funded at some point of time by major nations who are hoping to achieve a political goal through these underhand tactics. Whether it was Taliban and the US or LeT and Pakistan, the theme remains.

And terrorism is not something new. It has existed from time immemorial where kings of the past would bribe local barbarian groups to pillage and destroy villages belonging to their neighbours or enemies. These tactics were generally used before major battles to weaken enemy morale. The barbarians would launch attacks, steal food and valuables, rape women, kill villagers and raze buildings to the ground. In a time when standing armies were small and conscription was the prime source for troops, a public with low morale translated directly into an army with low morale.

So what can we do about it? After the attacks on the WTC towers on 11 September 2001, the US went ahead and practically ripped up Afghanistan. And then for good measure, Iraq as well. Now I know that there are a lot of conspiracy theories that discuss that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the US Administration to gain political mileage for the Bush Presidential campaign as well as to lay siege upon Afghanistan and later, Iraq. But if for a moment we take it on face value, the USA did not like the attacks and killing of thousands of innocent American citizens and was quick in delivering judgement, pronouncing the guilty and then taking punitive action. Yet at the same time, they advocate restraint to other nations who propose to take similar punitive action against perpetrators of similar crimes against their people. India has, for years, claimed of Pakistan’s support to terrorist activity in India and against her people. However, we are advised by the US to exert self-control and solve issues through peaceful dialogue. But dialogues have never solved any issues. They are just a way to brush issues under the mat. Today, India and Pakistan have reached an impasse similar to that of USA and USSR during the times of the Cold War. Both nations are in a highly armed state and sometimes it feels like we are sitting on a ticking time-bomb ready to blow up. Every time attacks like this happen on Indian soil, a Pakistani hand is suspected, often proven as well. Most political parties call press conferences to address the nation – ruling parties promise swift and decisive action while opposition parties are quick to point out the mistakes of the ones in power and suggesting remedies. Meanwhile on the streets, the common man at the epicentre of these dastardly attacks trudges on wearily, coping with it and placing his life on the line everyday as life again returns to normal. For some, of course, the definition of normal itself changes. They have lost a loved one or had a dear one maimed and scarred for life. And yet in a few weeks everybody else forgets the incident. Life somehow seems to be cheap as the fatalities are relegated to being just another number.

Ajmal Kasab has been in custody for almost three years now. And yet judgement is procrastinated again and again under the pretext of trying to obtain more information. I am convinced that were I to murder a fellow Indian, our legal system would swiftly dispatch of my case. And yet a person who murdered Indian citizens and committed a terrorist crime against the state, a man whose actions were recorded on live cam, a man who was apprehended on the scene of crime while perpetrating it, is kept almost as a state guest with full police protection and as good a counsel as our judicial system can muster. Sometimes I feel that it is not necessary to know the masterminds but to set an example. To pass judgement with a swift and cold hand. As they say

उसका ऐसा हश्र करना कि अगली बार इस देश की ओर जो आँख उठा कर भी देखे तो उसकी रूह काँप जाए

Categories: Random Stuff
  1. Pratibha Singh
    24 July 2011 at 19:36 IST

    I agree with you, common man suffers in all this when he can do nothing to serve or harm the cause of terrorists.
    My heart goes out to the families who suffer in such attacks while the terrorists, the Government and the Opposition and so on strive to gain mileage out of this.

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