Saturday, 23 July 2005

Terror around the globe

Well the terrorists are keeping us on our toes aren't they? Those of you in the UK will be tucked up in bed right now, but as I am six hours ahead over here I've already been watching the news. At least two bombs that have gone off in an Egyptian tourist resort. At least 43 dead and 150 injured at the last count, but this is sure to rise. Link here to the story if you haven't already heard.

I would imagine it will turn out to be the workings of an extremist muslin group...in fact I would put what little money I have and my beloved iMac G5 on it.

Iraqis have also had it tough with extensive casualties as a result of a surge in suicide bombings in recent weeks.

Pakistan was the scene of demonstrations against a crackdown on extremism in the wake of the London bombs.

On Tuesday the US embassy in Saudi Arabia warned US citizens there of a potential terror attack.

Fighting and skirmishes have become increasingly frequent in Israel on the run up to the Israeli pull out of Gaza in August. More suicide bombs on the part of Hamas; the Israeli army respond with fire power.

There are many other areas that I could mention.

Then, of course, there is London with our home bred terrorists. According to an ex chief of police, we could have up to three hundred such terrorists living amongst us and he claims the terror attacks could continue for the next twenty years.

So what do I think of it. Well, according to CIA figures, there are 1.48 billion Muslims world wide. Out of a population of around 6.5 billion (6,450,560,687 to be exact), Muslims make up a substantial proportion of the population. Of those 1.48 billion, the majority are living in peace, leading very normal lives. When you place the number of Muslims against the number of terror attacks, terrorists who follow a pervaded form of Islam are a minority. Unfortunately, a single suicide bomber has the propensity to murder many people.

Why do they do it? Who knows. What we mustn't forget however, is that the West has played a huge role in what is happening around the world. The West has had countless fingers in an infinite number of political pies. It has flexed its muscles and used trade agreements to control politics in other countries. The West has taken sides, (supporting Israel over Palestine for decades for example,) we have supported dictators such as Saddam Hussein, supplied him with weapons to fight the Iran-Iraq war and taken advantages of his country's vast oil wealth. When he turned against us, we crushed him. We educated Osama bin Laden. We were instrumental in the Taliban's rule over Afghanistan, providing them with weapons for their war against the Soviet Union. Then we left them to their own devices before crushing them after 9/11. We have had trade agreements with Pakistan and turned a blind eye to the atrocities in Kashmir. I could go on.

Is it any wonder that a minority of Muslims in these areas of the world are feeling like pawns in a Western game of chess? They watch as leaders are alternately supported and then dropped by the world's super powers. They have watched US and British rhetoric of 'the War against Terror' at work, providing excuses for the invasion of Iraq and the killing of innocent civilians in what amounts to a war over precious oil fields.

What we must not forget also is that the news we watch on TV or read in the papers is socially constructed. The stories we are shown are determined by the current political climate, those that are most likely to sell papers and the slant of stories often determined by the political orientation of the media corporation. Our support for the Israelis has been obvious in our one-sided journalistic portrayals of events in Israel.

In many ways, by getting so deeply involved in foreign affairs, we ourselves created the rift that is now being exploited by terrorists in the name of a twisted version of Islam. I do not condone the terror attacks, nor do I condone the atrocities that Saddam or the Taliban were involved in but I do believe that at the backs of our minds we have to be aware of the involvement of the world's super powers in what is now happening on our doorsteps.

Will the terrorists strike again? Of course they will. What is happening today has been simmering for the last twenty to thirty years. It is the culmination of training camps established decades ago spewing out brain washed men who believe they are fighting a global jihad against Israel and the West and ready to die for their cause. Unfortunately, they feel the need to fly the flag of Islam, to the detriment of Islamic communities around the globe. The book Al Qaeda is worth a read for the background on the origins of the training camps.

How will terrorism affect Britain? In many ways despite deaths and the obvious disruption, I think the terrorist acts we have currently seen and those still to come, will eventually benefit our multicultural society. London is a dynamic place where people of all races, religions, creeds and colours live together very happily. The bombs in public transport are targeted at all London citizens, regardless of ethnic origins or religious beliefs. I think, if anything, this indiscriminate bombing will bring our diverse community closer together. It affects everyone and therefore the only way terrorism can be defeated is if we act as a single community together.

Finally, will I be changing my plans as a result. Not a chance.

I would be glad to hear some alternative views so please feel free to comment away on the recent events.

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