State sanctioned violence has no place in modern world

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From Myanmar to India there has been a disturbing trend of bigotry against minorities

By Tariq A. Al Maeena

I have always spoken out against terrorism, be it an act of an individual or a group. And those that carry out such deeds are nothing short of criminals. Not because I was championing any particular cause but, in the belief, that God has not put us on this earth to harm anybody. That is simply not our role.

Over the years, the world has turned mighty strange. Events across major cities make one painfully aware that criminals come in all forms and disguises. Individuals or groups with an axe to grind for a particular cause have taken it upon themselves to spread mayhem within their communities. Whatever their objectives, their success in reaching their ideals was negligible.

In recent times, we are witnessing a dangerous form of terrorism. Some may call it state-sponsored or state-sanctioned, but it is terrorism all the same. While terrorism is being exercised by fringe elements who have decided to give light to their grievances through the bodily harm of innocent people. In the twisted minds of these violence-prone nuts, there is also terrorism at a large scale against innocent people through state-sponsored mandates that bomb and kill indiscriminately, and for that, there is no excuse.

“Those individuals who choose to promote their terrorist activities under the guise of secular threats are nothing less than criminals, allying with fascism. Theirs is not a cause for freedom or justice or misplaced rights.”

 

In the Middle East where wars and violence seemed to overshadow the headlines, regional violence on a daily basis could well have contributed to the rise in this perverted way of thinking.

It has transformed minds into a hate-filled psyche, a phenomena with dangerous consequences. We have seen some of that on our own soil, where extremism and fanaticism had led to some very hostile acts against innocent people.

A line is being drawn where friends and enemies are being grouped. It is the ‘us against them’ syndrome that is disturbing. Who are these ‘we’ or ‘they’, I wonder? Are we not all humans? And should we not address our injustices through legal forums rather than band together and hatch up plots to harm others indiscriminately? Are we not aware that such peaceful precedents were used in our historical past with remarkable results?

Further beyond our region, one cannot help but anguish over the plight of the Rohingya, a minority sect in Myanmar threatened to the point of extinction by the ongoing genocide by the Myanmar government, simply because the Rohingya look different than the dominant and ruling Buddhist sects. In Sri Lanka, there are also worrying signs of rising terrorism against minority communities based on their religious faiths. Be they Christian or Muslim, the minorities on the island today are unsettled and uncertain of what the future holds in a community where intolerance towards others is on the rise.

Alarm bells in India

But perhaps it is in India where alarms bells ring the loudest as the country’s minorities, a number well above 200 million people is today living in a disturbed state by what they perceive as a rising form of state-sanctioned terrorism against them. Reports of lynching, of forced conversions are well reported in the Indian press, as well as ill-advised exhortations by some party members in the ruling BJP government to rid the country of its minorities. When the government does not forcefully speak and act out against such acts of violence loudly and clearly, then they might as well be a party to the acts themselves.

Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela battled grave injustices, but they did it not do it through violence. They did not tarnish their struggle with false claims of religious or cultural fervour. Instead, they mobilised their resistance through peaceful means. And forever they shall remain icons of a civilised world.

Those individuals who choose to promote their terrorist activities under the guise of secular threats are nothing less than criminals, allying with fascism. Theirs is not a cause for freedom or justice or misplaced rights.

They should not expect any sympathies from those of us who are simply appalled at the extent they are willing to condone the spread of terror. There is no end justifying their means. It is time for the rest of us take a more aggressive policy to denounce and reject any form of terrorism, especially if carried out on a mass scale through state sanction.

Let the message reach them loud and clear. We do not excuse the means that they employ. The rights of all people, including minorities, have to be respected. That is the way of humanity. —Gulf News

{Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena}

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