Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Struggle Against Terrorism

Cambridge defines terrorism as “violent action for political purposes”. Though bloody acts of violence killing innocents have been a part of many revolutions in the past, it is only in the last two decades that terrorism has taken its present form. Earlier the acts of violence were highly localised with the perpetrators not able to woo a mass support base. Now in the era of globalisation with the help of the internet, a large scale operation can be planned and executed with a high level of collaboration among terrorists in different parts of the globe. Propagating the terrorist ideology and wresting support from an increasing number of people has never been easier.

Don’t mistake me now. I am not going to blame either globalisation or the internet as the root cause of terrorism as seen today, but there is no mistaking that they have played an important role. But what specifically happened in the last two decades for terrorism to become such a dangerous development?

For one, public usage of the internet started in the 90s and here it is easy to see the connection between this contrivance and the formation of a global terror network. Secondly, globalisation has led to a flattening of the world. By a flat world, I mean that we are on the path towards the formation of one global society. The levels of business collaboration among countries has reached a stage which has no precedent and with outsourcing, off-shoring and other means of international collaboration, the economic prosperity of all the nations involved has only been on the rise. This whole article is almost entirely based on the ideas discussed by Thomas Friedman in his book “The World is Flat” and thus I am not duplicating his book here by explaining how globalisation leads to economic welfare. Anyway, this is essentially a development only possible in a capitalistic society where margins of profit determine the success of a business. Now let me connect this phenomenon to the rise of terrorism.

The world is now changing at a pace faster than it ever has, and at that speed many of us have been caught unawares. In this scenario, with no guidelines at all, MNCs have exploded, a dominant middle class has been formed, but many have borne the brunt of globalisation because in a capitalistic society, social responsibility may be insignificant in the face of profit. And thus only the lucky few who have been fortunate enough to gain a significant level of technical expertise to take advantage of the latest technologies empowering international collaboration, have joined the bandwagon thus far and the rest have been left in the lurch. This has bred an escalating feeling of frustration and yes, frustration borne out of the inability to break the shackles of the local society and government, and enjoy the fruits of globalisation.

Local societies in many places especially the Arab world are so rigid that people are not empowered enough to use technology for the benefit of their society. Moreover, a flat world means that no one can any longer hide behind walls of the nation’s foreign policy and thus any shortcomings in their society are increasingly noticed by the world around, and vice versa they can no longer, not notice the prosperity in the rest of the world. And considering a history that speaks of a superior prosperous society, it would be too harsh to blame them if ego does not get the better of them. And at the same time, the reluctance to evolve with the times has resulted in the formation of a different ideology, an ideology that promises prosperity to the same level as their history speaks of, without any change in their society, an existence back to the medieval period, where they are on top and the rest are too weak to even think of a collaboration. And the power in the hands of the proponents of this new ideology is the very same power that flattened the world – technology and the internet.

With that, the scourge of terrorism was born and after a first look at 9/11 and other terror attacks all over the world (most recent, the Jaipur blasts) there seems to be only one solution, a solution which comes more from the human heart than the rich brain nature has endowed upon us – “To go hard on the terrorists”. Crack down on all the terrorist networks. Have tougher anti-terrorism laws. Identifying all breeding spots and a quick retaliation and counter strike to trade blood for blood will certainly solve the problem in the short run. Fear of retaliation would be a perfect disincentive against further terrorist attacks. This is an easy solution for the leaders, which also gives an impression to the general public that the government is strong and wilful to take up the fight against terrorism. It immediately creates a feeling among the public that some action is being taken.

Fortunately, for us there is a precedent right before our eyes to see why the above solution is all wrong. Analysing that precedent, it is easy to see that make shift solutions of retaliation, though augur well in the short run, are not going to make even an iota of difference to terrorist strikes all over the world, if at all, the number of strikes is only going to increase.

George W Bush, the eminent President of the USA, recently slammed Presidential hopeful, Mr. Barack Obama on this issue among others. He justified his War against Terrorism drawing a parallel to the Second World War. He talked of the appeasement policy that bred Hitler and about how it eventually led to an even greater disaster. I have no idea of American Politics or of the collective American psyche, but I feel Bush is blind or at least has a veil shrouding his eyes. Either way he is yet to perceive that the world has changed. He certainly has not noticed that after almost seven years of his War against Terrorism, the problem has only exacerbated. He may have managed to confine Osama to the caves, but he still has not understood that in a flat world, even a caveman with internet access can wreak havoc. Think about it. Our own asset is now being used against us.

What we need here thus, is a more proactive solution, a solution that is more pragmatic and long term. Actually we already have a solution. We have, in our possession, a strong weapon, to battle the scourge of terrorism. The leaders today know of this weapon, but are either unwilling to go through the arduous process of wielding its full power or under-estimate its potential. Either way, our leaders and their political and security advisors are not using their faculty of thought to the full extent.

To understand this solution, we have to first understand the root causes of terrorism. As written earlier, advancement in world society always has its flip sides. This is mainly because many want to enjoy the benefits of a prosperous society without accepting any changes to their way of life that would empower them to use the latest technologies to create an affluent society. How technology empowers a society depends upon one’s imagination in wielding it. And the right imagination comes from a right context. Thomas Friedman explains this point beautifully by recalling an anecdote.

An Indian Muslim family split in 1948, with half going to Pakistan and half staying in Mumbai. When a child in the family, asked his father one day why the Indian half of the family seemed to be doing better than the Pakistani half, his father said to him, “Son, when a Muslim grows up in India and he sees a man living in a big mansion high on a hill, he says, ‘Father, one day I will be that man.’ And when a Muslim grows up in Pakistan and sees a man living in a big mansion high on a hill, he says, ‘Father, one day I will kill that man.’” As Friedman puts it, when you have a pathway to be the Man or Woman of your dreams, you tend to focus on the path. When you have no pathway, you tend to focus on your wrath and on nursing your memories. Such contexts breed people who surrender to their bleak or rather rich dark imagination and use some of our finest technologies to destroy rather than to construct.

Further on I am going to use Thomas Friedman’s lines and as he puts it, if you want to understand the difference context can cause to one’s imagination, study the second largest Muslim country in the world, India. Being that the case, there are no Indian Muslims that we know of in the al-Qaeda and there are no Indian Muslims fighting alongside jihadists in Iraq. Yes, Indian Muslims do have their grievances about access to capital and political representation. Inter-religious violence has occasionally flared up in India, with disastrous consequences. But this is not the norm. Why?

The answer is context – and in particular the secular, free-market, democratic context of India, heavily influenced by a tradition of non violence and tolerance. The only large Muslim community to enjoy sustained democracy for the last fifty years happen to be the Muslims of India. Yes, there are tensions and economic discrimination. But the fact is, the Indian Constitution is Secular and provides a real opportunity for economic advancement of any community that can offer talent. That’s why a growing Muslim middle class here is moving up and generally does not manifest the strands of deep anger you find in many non-democratic Muslim States.

Where Islam is embedded in authoritarian societies, it tends to become the vehicle of angry protest, but where Islam is embedded in a pluralistic democratic society, those with a more progressive outlook have a chance to get a better hearing for their interpretation and a democratic forum where they can fight for their ideas on a more equal footing. The dominant feature of such a society is that authority comes from bottom-up, and people can and do feel self-empowered to improve their lot. People living in such contexts tend to spend their time focussing on what to do next, not on whom to blame next.

Thus, give young people a context where they can translate a positive imagination into reality, give them a context in which someone with a grievance can have it adjudicated in a court of law without having to bribe the judge with a goat, give them a context in which they can pursue an entrepreneurial idea and become the richest or the most creative or most respected people in their own country, no matter what their background, give them a context in which any complaint or idea can be published in the newspaper, give them a context where anyone can run for office – and guess what? They usually don’t want to blow up the world. They usually want to be a part of it.

Now as I was saying, we do have a weapon against terrorism. It obviously has got to do with changing the context and certainly leading to the formation of more open, democratic societies. But how do we go about it? Is it by bombing rigid parts of the globe and setting up a democracy by force? Such a solution will only breed more frustration. It will result in walls being constructed. The world will be surrounded by shrouds of secrecy and the aspect of trust, essential to the success of a flat world, will be all but dead. Such a solution will only un-flatten the world.

But we have with us capitalism. It was capitalism that created the flat world in the first place. The growth of business enterprises that use the benefits of the flat world positively, in the rigid Muslim societies will create economic prosperity in those regions, creating jobs and reducing frustration to a certain extent. But the problem of an unhelpful government still remains. No business would be ready to set up an enterprise in its presence. That happens to be one of the problems of capitalism, the lack of social responsibility. That is why the best way out is to breed social entrepreneurs, someone who burns with a desire to make a positive social impact on the world, but believes that the best way of doing so, is not by giving poor people a fish, but by teaching them to fish. Such considerate, responsible capitalists will gradually manage to empower the people in rigid societies and in time, changes in the governments will be automatically initiated, since, there is no catalyst to change, like the belief that ‘we too can become economically well-off’.

What we need is a proactive international collaboration in this direction and the sooner the world leaders realise this and thinkers ponder more on this idea and come up with more sustainable solutions with the same aim in mind, a wonderful global society has a future. What we need now is thus a Struggle against Terrorism, not an all out war, for a war would be more like killing the sinner without actually rooting out the sin.

Ps: My knowledge on the above topic is limited and most of it has been inspired by Friedman but if we can now initiate a global discussion on the above lines, the collective input from all responsible global citizens can certainly go a long way in initialising a change.


Aditya Nair said...

Very informative post..
The really gud thing about the post is that it takes a stand and offers a view rather than only information...
also...after this gonna be readinf "The World is Flat"[:)]

ANAND said...

very informative...but dont u think its more abt todays society than abt terrorism and the struggle???

crazyme said...

Kiran my friend.. what can i say...? You are a genius. I never knew terrorism had such definitions and your view is simply brilliant.

Daut said...

A very educative post. A comment I'd like to offer-

Does the internet only help terrorists?

I can imagine the resolve needed by terrorists to go about their work.
Still, I think that any exposure to the society will try to deter their resolve. Maybe they will grow to judge better.
Is it possible to influence these people with the power of the net?
If not them, the pool of young children who get recruited?

Cyclops said...

I believe it is society that breeds terrorists. To uproot terrorism, we would have to start from cleansing the society of some of its obvious evils.

Santi said...

Very nice blog.. I would like to point out on some of the paradoxes which may arise.. When the society produces social entrepreneurs, whose job is to empower people in a more of psychological perspective than a practical approach, it would do well.. But the changes which would come will take a lot of time, whereas terrorism is a quick fire way to make money also.. So why will a person go for a more acceptable way of doing things, when he has a quick fire growth.

Secondly, using the Cambridge definition itself, the political purposes are the core of such activities. Hence the money and the resources such as arms and ammunition are pumped in by the people at the top itself, for their particular reasons.. Hence in this scenario, it becomes very difficult for these social entrepreneurs to survive..

Ya, as you pointed out, cleansing of the society is the need of the hour, but such a process will take a lot of time.. According to me, we need to use all our available technology, the military resources, on which any country spends most of its money, in order to stop such acts completely.. Once that is done, the process of cleansing can be started of, and gradually we would live on a more halcyon world..

Cyclops said...

but how can an all out war not also simultaneously produce some disillusioned cadres?? After all in a war, it is said, both sides are the losers.... the how part on the use of the weapons and technology we possess should be given some serious thought..

do you have any ideas??

Santi said...

ya that is what was bothering me the most, after reading through my comment.. there are a lot of secret intelligence operations being run all over the world, if the best brains sit together and discuss a strategy, then there is viable solution possible i think.. I am not shifting burdens, but at least not competent enough now to give more of a specific suggestion on such an issue...

I think we should all read more on this issue in books and journals, then there would be a better platform of discussions.. We should devote some time of our day in thinking for such a cause, because in one way or the other it is going to affect us..

bbb said...

well these things are quite arguable.
democracy is said to be the best form of govt, but it is still only best.what i m saying is that in the democratic regime the decision are made by MAJORITY, this indeed creates lot of problems,coz for every decision a minority is opressed
a lot of examples are available in our country itself, which stood the test of democracy over 60 yrs.

picturisation of muslims as a sole responsiblities in terrorist activities is not good for the secularist stand of our country.(it is well indid=cated like that in the post). it can cause severe sentimentalistic feeling that support democracy.i know that u didnt intend that to happen but neverthless it feels that way.

terrorism has its roots to capitalistic interests, rem that osama has been trained by america against ussr during soviet union occupation of afganisan, similar with saddam. at any level we cannot idealise a profit oriented system as a an ideal one, well it is the best available opinion,till we know of its new problems,world is evolvoing.

utilisation of technology can be in my opinion the best possible way out if this, basic education is the best way, history and everythin we studied are biased to the resp govt that were in power.
a proper realisation of facts can act as a deterrent to these violent activities.

as long as capitalistic regime(i support it ) is there i can say with some degree of certainity that things will sta like this for atleast time to come, until they find a higher profit output in a world that doesnt have terrorism.well terrorism is the biggest reason for wars and the heavenly devense contracts being awarded to private firms. there are conspiracy theories stating that us deliberatly created post9/11 scenario with a clear political and profit minded approach.

k i ll stop this will reach nowhere.

kiran change the colour of fonts to white, it pains in the eye reading in this colour

all things said abv are my opinion and may be i expressed them in a informal way, apologies..

Cyclops said...

there can be non religious terrorist groups in the world.... but the basic reason for their destructive attitude is just the same... frustration.....

the islamic terror networks, was used just as an example coz as of now they epitomise global terrorism.

ISLAM is not a cause of terrorism, and i would never say that. but as i said, misuse of oil wealth and the xtremely posh lifestyles of the royal families has gone a long way in breeding frustration in the arab world.

and yes capitalism cannot alone be the solution... every device of human creation can have positive and negative impacts and that depends on human imagination alone.

thus as binoop said utilisation of technology can be the best possible way out if this, basic education should include a proper realisation of facts about nations' history can act as a deterrent to these violent activities. this will also breed the socially responsible entrepreneurs i was talking about.

and as of now, capitalism and technology are the best tools we have, and if we succeed in encouraging enough people to use their imagination constructively, this world will certainly go a long way.

Daut said...

Are we just talking about a group of people? Just like the post said, terrorism is a part of the society and will grow from the conflicts in interest, ideology, ethnictiy, etc.

Cyclops said...

Terrorism is an assault on people’s fundamental human rights. The heinous attacks in recent years that have left thousands of civilians dead or maimed, are

many. The deliberate targeting of civilians, whether by planting bombs in restaurants or other public places or by bringing down buildings, killing

thousands, constitutes a serious abuse of fundamental human rights and runs counter to the to basic principles of humanity. Those who commit such atrocities

must be brought to justice. Deliberately attacking civilians should never be justified. Violence and terror will only breed more violence and terror.

However, in the aftermath of the Jaipur serial blasts and the human sufferings, this is also the time to urge our governments and political leaders not to

respond to terror with terror. We will be repeatedly exposed with human rights violations committed in the name of security as well as measures that

undermine fundamental rights such as encounters, disappearances, mass graves, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. It will provide an effective

smokescreen for governments to authorise arbitrary and long detention, unfair trial, suppression of political dissent, and minority persecution, knowing that

any criticism and discontent will be weakened.

The banned Students Islamic Movement of India might or might not be involved in the terror attacks in the recent past. However, because of the actions of

certain groups and individuals, entire communities are being viewed with suspicion. The stigmatisation has been compounded by the communal profiling and

detention of Muslims, previously in Hyderabad and now in Jaipur, and by some politicians and media outlets describing them as if they were all potential

terrorists. Whipping up public fears for short-term political gains is a dangerous business.
The photographs of defenceless Muslims, humiliated and terrorised, in Gujarat shocked all of us when they were published in 2002. But the abuses they exposed

were not an aberration. The images followed numerous allegations of torture and ill-treatment reported in police custody in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Data collected by the Sachar Committee, but not included in the final report, showed Muslims in much higher numbers as prison inmates in several States.

The only way people can be protected — from both governments and suicide bombers — is to treat every single human being as possessing fundamental rights that

no government, group or individual may ever justifiably take away. Human rights are grounded in fundamental values that create ‘no go areas’ — acts that one

human being must never do to another.Our Central and State governments have a duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent acts of terror, and to bring to

justice those responsible for committing or planning such acts. New beginnings should be explored and experimented with. The specific threat of international

and cross-border terrorism requires law enforcement agencies to develop special skills and techniques in policing, investigation and intelligence, including

international cooperation. Such techniques need to address the new characteristics of international terrorism, such as use of the Internet and other

technology. That may require new forensic and other law enforcement techniques, but it cannot justify the use of old unlawful methods such as torture and

ill-treatment. Human rights are not a luxury only for good times. They must be upheld always, including in times of terror and insecurity. Adherence to clear

rules, laid down in international conventions and treaties, is also important during this time, because national jingoism and social conservatism are also on

display abundantly.

Counter terror with justice, not with revenge.

(Courtesy Mukul Sharma, the Director of Amnesty International)

Daut said...

"However, because of the actions of certain groups and individuals, entire communities are being viewed with suspicion. "

That's sad but true. When terrorists in the middle east demand everyone to convert to Islam, it is human err that creates an outrage on Islam instead of the terrorists alone.

On a minor note,
Even the fatwa against terrorism has not worked. Looks like terrorists (in mid-east) have their own rule-book or perhaps they have sensed that the fatwa was apparently half-hearted. More seriously, they come up with their own fatwas. Two schools of thought?

Ańz said...

quoting: "When terrorists in the middle east demand everyone to convert to Islam"

..thats a wild guess, i suppose.

we do a lot of generalization..

Terrorism exist in many forms.
& when u say islamic terrorism, again many variants exist.. & certainly, no-where Islam is involved. The only reason we call it 'islamic terrorism' is because people with Arabic names are involved in those actions & they chant Arabic mantras. But they are not fighting for Islam.. they are fighting for their local needs..

in Palestine its for their homeland,
in Iraq, its against US invasion n so on..
i.e even in middle-east, its not a single 'islamic' force against humanity..

i would say: 'Iraqi Jihadis' would be fighting Afghan Terrorists if ther existed no bigger, common enemy!. Even during Saddam's regime , Al-Qaeda or similar groups had no scope for existence in Mesopotamia.

but when we come to central Asia, its more about hatred, political gains & mis-understandings.

So in our struggle against terrorism, we have to up-root each of its forms separately.


quoting: "misuse of oil wealth and the xtremely posh lifestyles of the royal families has gone a long way in breeding frustration in the arab world"

I'm posting this from the middle-east.. from an oil-rich country where authoritarian rule exist.. but all I see is peace..

the day i landed here, i'm flippin the pages to see if the immigration stamp is multi-coloured.. like it wer 2yrs back when Asian games was takin place.. negative. this time its an inter-faith dialog.

i saw more.. Irony: Another meeting to find solution for troubles in Lebanon parliament. And a foreign MONARCH handing over the solution to people of a DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC!!.

the only blast I 'heard' form the neighboring lands was that against Hariris; back to Labanon.

In Saudi, things are different..
what i could make out is: the people are against rulers not becoz of corruption. but foreign policies.. especially with those in west.

Appreciating the initiative. Peace.

Ańz said...

well.. the above post is just to tell u tht here (in GCC) it isnt all tht dark.

like Bambu said, this 'll reach nowhere. & I'll echo him:
its a capitalist conspiracy.

and they have succeeded in it to an extend that [from daut's words:]today ppl respond to terrorist's words as if they were Islamic teachings

P.S: behinds the webs if any Agents are peekin on me.. Hold it rt ther!
I call my chicken Kentucky and my T-shirt says: I'm lovin it :)

Daut said...

That was not a wild guess, because it was a video and the message came directly from the horse's mouth(Yet, I have to assume that the translator was not a conspirator, atleast when he went live).

Daut said...

Quoting myself from my earlier post,
"it is human err that creates an outrage on Islam instead of the terrorists alone."

and yours
"and they have succeeded in it to an extend that [from daut's words:]today ppl respond to terrorist's words as if they were Islamic teachings"

Aren't we making the same point here? Or is English deceiving me?

If you were referring to the note I made on Fatwas, I've merely tried to point out that the terrorists have a different school of thought from Islam (the one I knew living in an Islamic state with Kiran, years back).

Cyclops said...

to anz...

havent clearly understood the idea of the capitalist conspiracy and how it succeeded in more people viewing terrorism as Islamic and...

my understanding on terrorism goes thus which can show this with a simple comparison.
When Britain was afflicted by Irish republican terrorism, most Irish people repudiated that terrorism. It was nevertheless the case that the great majority of the terrorists - more than 95 per cent - were Irish, or of Irish origin, and they drew overwhelmingly on Irish people to help and hide them.

This was not a funny coincidence. It was because the IRA preached a doctrine about Ireland and called on the loyalty of a perverted version of Irishness. Therefore, the words "Irish" and "terrorist" went together, hard though this was on the majority of Irish people.

the scourge of ira sponsored terrorism was routed out by people in england accepting the connection between irish and ira and then responding in a manner that public vigilance was directed at Irish neighbours...

the same is the case with islam and terrorism today.
In fact, the situation is more serious because we are dealing with a religion, not merely a national aspiration, and the demands of a religion are more absolute than anything else. If fanatics can persuade people that their religion insists that they kill others (and often themselves) in its service, then they will obey.

by subjecting a vast percentage of muslims to public scrutiny, as was done against the irish, also would not be the way coz as i wrote the ideology of terrorism is different.
but atleast we have to accept the connection between terrorism we see today and the extremist islamic leanings of the terrorists.

then, if we do not know the way the faith in question works, its history, its quarrels, its laws and demands, we will not have the faintest chance of distinguishing the true moderate from the fellow-traveller or of bearing down on the fanaticism.

and if technology can be used to propagate an idea which encourages people to critically analyse their faith, (understand, not telling others what to believe),people will reinterpret the old teachings bearing in mind the modern world, and then ensure other people are made privy to their reinterpretation, thus continuing the cycle of introspection and reinterpretation.


Cyclops said...

just summing up here....

frustration and hatred bred from political manipulations and misunderstandings cause people to accept and then propagate a different school of thought, sometimes a violent one that tries to justify the killings based on faith.

weed out the root, and presto, we have a solution.... so power and money, are two obvious reasons for political manipulation... and to a great extent accountability as seen in capitalistic democracies, where the vast public have a say, atleast theoretically, in the political process, will help in not breeding frustration....

there will still be a minority that feels oppressed,but no system is without a drawback. if we first realise that there is a flaw, then we can work together in rectifying it, which in turn will reveal more flaws and this process of self correction will go on.... and for this to happen, every human being should feel empowered. they should feel they have a say in the way their society works....

and as of now irrespective of the fact that there are certain authoritarian countries where peace prevails, the accountability given by democracy and a socially responsible capitalistic attitude, would be the ideal place to start.

G.S.Jaiswal said...

I like the comments and the conceptual article, terrorism multi dimensional causes and all of them relates to violence with political purposes, but when terrorism combines to religion it becomes disastrously dangerous,
What actually I think
i Democracy is one of the mode of administration which to a large extend be helpful,but democratic secular society must be effective and determined to combat the terrorists with all its sources on intelligence
ii for me the religion has already served the human society now it is breeding hatred and it has outlived its objectives hence the scientific temper should grow in people with spiritual attitude, spirituality and religion are not the same thing, hence let our human society grow with spirituality which is universal whereas religion is sectorial.
But this will take time hence in the present context the force has to be applied to curb its menace side by side let the spirituality grow.

Jeena Rachel Jayamon said...

First and foremost let me felicitate your genius excogitation on the topic terrorism....
I would like 2 suggest some points..Initially u r trying 2 find the 'Root Cause' of terrorism. It hasn't originated fortuitously.Definitely internet helped terrorists to establish a gamut of connections and a better source of immaculate communication which presumably laid down the 'global terror network'.It surely abridged distances..
It seems that u r a strong admirer of Thomas L Friedman. He explained the hue of terrorism impeccably in the book 'Longitudes and Attitudes' which is actually a collection of his columns which fetched him a Pulitzer prize. Another good work of Friedman 'The Lexus and the Olive Three' also elucidated globalisation and is also as good as his much acclaimed work 'The world is Flat'.
Coming back to the MNCs, the exploitation of the capitalist MNCs resulted the development of frustration in the minds of a group of people, who eventually consider themselves as part of the 'majority' who is destined to excruciate the worst parts of globalisation.The imperialist behaviour and imperious action of the MNCs is putting oil to the fire. The fact that globalisation made a group of people as hedonists also inspired their spirits. And u said people became more aware about the fierce face of after 9/11.Even decades after cold war the dispute between east and west and the conflicts between communist ideologies and capitalist principles still continuing ...
Now coming to the solution part ,it is an impetuous act to have open war against countries in the name of 'war against terrorism' .When people focus more on the ultimate goal, the path to it seems to be non imperative and ignoble. But it is high time to realize that violence is not an optimal solution and it only act as a catalyist to spread the chain reaction of terrorism. Youth should abdicate the paths of destructiveness..Think wisely and act accordingly...
Once again let me appreciate your hortatory step toward 'the struggle against terrorism'...

Cyclops said...

Terrorism: tilting at windmills

Praveen Swami

Does India’s struggle against Islamist terrorism really need special laws or a new federal police?

Ever since six bombs ripped through Jaipur earlier this month, India’s politicians have donned their armour,

sharpened their swords, mounted their steeds — and charged out at windmills.Both the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party have let it be known that sweeping legal and constitutional reforms are needed if terrorism is to be fought. In Prime Minister Manmohan Singh version of the argument, the solution is better implementa tion of existing legislation through a federal counter-terrorism organisation. BJP leaders concur, but also want new counter-terrorism laws to be enacted.

Even the best laws and trial practices, though, won’t help prevent or punish terrorism if police lack the teeth

credible investigations need.
If either Prime Minister Singh or his BJP critics are in fact serious about making India safer, they might wish to

focus their attention on enhancing the capacities of the institutions we have. Action in just three core areas

would enhance India’s security dramatically.

First, rather than expend his energies on battling the resistance to the creation of a federal police, the Prime
Minister could enhance India’s existing covert services.

Unlike almost any country of significance, India does not have a national criminal intelligence database that can process and disseminate information in real time — and this because bureaucratic wrangles have stalled plans for reforms cleared almost a decade ago. Its covert services are desperately understaffed, particularly lacking in
specialists with language and technological skills.

Second, the Prime Minister could push states to give Indians the policing they deserve. Most terrorism investigations flounder because State police forces do not have access to the criminal-investigation resources needed for high-quality investigation, nor the legal assets required to guide its course. If the perpetrators of
the Jaipur bombings are acquitted, it will be because the State police did not have a well-trained crime-scene evidence team, nor access to state-of-the-art forensics.

Finally, India needs to set in place functional regulatory mechanisms for the sale of explosives like the ammonium
-nitrate slurry used to fabricate the bombs used in the Jaipur, and ensure that mining detonators cannot be purchased by anyone other than legitimate users.

All of these are common-sense steps, long advocated by police and intelligence professionals. Sadly, India’s politicians still don’t seem to be listening.

Thinking-of-a-pen-name said...

hmm..quite thought provoking...gud job!

manishpulee said...

Sorry to say that I dont support ur claim Keesha...
Basically, capitalism, in whatever form it is incorporated is not at all a good solution. In capitalism, basically the power always rests with the profit centres and is never distributed but simply accumulated. Since capitalism involves a direct relation between money(capital) and power, power accumulation(or in modern terminology WORLD DOMINATION), would occur at the profit centres.
All terrorist/mass revolutionary movements have always occurred not because of the frustration of people, but simply because of the incorrigible lust for power.Just think about the Holy Wars from the Middle Ages, the French Revolution, the American Revolution,the Russian Revolution, the World Wars, the Cold War and the recent Terrorist Wars.It is indeed true that Wars would provide a very rich business, but the driving force is to gain power.
Terrorists using the internet to wreak havoc is a thing of the present day but even if there had been no internet the struggle for power would have gone on. The basic concept is not something new, but it is something vey old but manifested in new dimensions.
The concept of social entrepreneuership would be impossible to attain in a purely profit-oriented

manishpulee said...

society. There will not be any motivating factors for the entrepreneurs but a lot of demotivators will be there. The only way I can see to make this concept practical is to SEPARATE MONEY FROM POWER.I know that it sounda more improbable than anything else in this world, but it is the only way in which empowerment can be made possible.
The other possibility is to have a very large reservoir of money so that it is possible to make it a profit centre. If such a case is posssible, YES , then it can be achieved in a capitalistic society.

Cyclops said...

Capitalism is never the best solution for the problem of terrorism, but it is the best we have now. Unless a new ideology establishes itself as a success, we have to make use of what we have in the best way we can.

And in the context of today's terrorism, the main reason it is so alarming is that along with money and power, religion is brought into the picture. Religion is something totally personal, but at the same time also an excellent tool for mobilising a society. The main reason why twisted versions of respective religions is able to attract people is because those people have nothing else to believe. In lot of ways, that is due to a frustration against personal enrichment. Unfortnately a capitalistic greed for money and thus power has played a huge role in exacerbating the problem. That is why we need a unique solution within the reaches of capitalism to cleanse it off the evils it might have done.

One example in this regard would be as follows. Very few governments were ready to invest in hi tech research on unconventional energy sources(especially the US), just because oil was availbale and a change would be tedious. The environmental advantage of that change was never an incentive for action.

Now fortunately, for environmentalists, oil price has been on teh rise. It may be due to speculatioon and factors not at all related to the environment. But the very fact that oil could become unaffordable is a great incentive for developing alternate energy sources.

In a way, a crazy logic would be that alternate energy lobbyists intentionally pursued a speculation policy to drive the oil prices high, so that people would take notice of them.

So whether we like it or not, it is money that governs our actions. In a similar vein as the energy problem, it is possible that a few governments or socially responsible entrepreneurs take action behind the sidelines, discreetly to create an economic incentive for social entrepreneurship. It may sound highly utopian, but the crazy thing is that the human ingenuity knows no bounds that it could be just possible.

Now how can that be done??? That is open for debate!!!

All i am saying is that without necessarily separating money from power, it is possible to couple social responsibility with capitalism. All we have to do is to make social entrepreneurship attractive in the face of profit, so that as Manish said we can have a large pool of money for ensuring the success of such an endeavour.

manishpulee said...

Keesha, the Japanese have been trying for long to develop IC engines which would not require oil but due to the intense pressure by the American Oil Lobbies, have not been successful. Even the seashores of Kerala hold an immense potential for nuclear power, far more than what France is able to produce.But ofcourse, this involves huge capital which is not unfortunately available.
Regarding the separation of religion from capitalism, for one thing the people in power will never allow that and for another thing it is always better to quench the religion with Science & Technology more than anything elae. This is where the social entrepreneurs would come in but again it would necessarily mean that America would have to contribute a large capital for this cause. Being a highly profit-oriented society, it is highly improbable that they would be willing to bear the expenditure for an unprofitable business.
As an alternate solution, I would like to suggest that instead of justifying capitalism and thinking within its constraints, we should try to broaden this discussion further by considering what else may possible, however Utopian it may sound at the start.
PS: Try to use some other substitute word for "frustration".

Attila said...

You generated this lengthy uvacha?? And you are just 20! Impressive job, it seems you must be well read.

The post is good, and a lot has already been said in the comments section, which due to the sheer length of it is impossible to read completely.

I don't know if this has been said already, but I believe terrorism can be eliminated by three weapons, used together, force, responsibility and media.

Talking of contemporary situations, terrorism thrives more in the Islamic world, because these societies have always been barbarous. The Islamic Caliphate expanded on loot money, and today, petrol money. Can you name a single Arab, or Muslim society where any ancient sciences flourished? NO!
Any indigenous talents of the people of west asia? NO! At least nothing comes to my mind. People have never had to feel the pangs of labor, and what it means to develop a society on sweat and toil. The moment they are made busy with hard work, and they are sufficiently employed in acquiring daily means of livelihood, lesser "masses" will be freed for terrorism. "Idle mind is a devil's workshop" as the saying goes.

Another weapon is media. The media can be used to illuminate the differences in the society of terrorists, and the outside world. If they can employ sufficient media penetration in our societies, why not us? If the hordes in terrorist societies are made to realize that they are being blinded into following their leader's trifle causes, they can cause a revolution large enough from within to take the steam out of the terrorist outfit.

And last but not the least, is effective implementation of force, putting the message across that we too are stubborn enough not to concede any ground to violent ideologues.

The worst case of terrorism is influenced by Islam. First of all, being an Abrahamic religion, it too has the disconcerting missionary zeal like xtianity and ancient judaism to prove other religions wrong, and to bring people under its religion because this was the way that they have been converting people through ages, eliminating entire jewish tribes, the zoroastrian religion, perhaps mongol shamanism, and killing and persecuting many in India to further the cause of their religion. This means of terrorism has always been there since the rise of the Prophet, subdued for a while perhaps by British Imperialism, and again evoked twenty years ago as you said, by Americans. It is an ancient enemy that we are fighting again comrade, lets hope civilization finds a way to cope with it.

Saif said...

a nice post, but it would have been a lot better if you had talked about other terrorist groups also ... i mean there are not only the
Islamic terrorist groups ... there are the LTTE, the Naxalites, and the Maoists ... also if you go by the definition of terrorism then the religious fundamentalists/extremists of any religious group including Hinduism, Christianity as well as Islam will also come under terrorism ... i will disagree when you say that all the Islamic countries breed terrorism ... don't get me wrong, i'm not at all defending the acts of terrorism or defending Islam, i'm just saying that terrorism is not only arisen by Islam, there are other terrorist groups also ...

i would also disagree with the above comment ... Islamic societies have not been barbaric ... Saudi Arabia was barbaric and cruel before Islam and Islam came into being to to curb that barbarism ... you should read some history to get a better idea ...

Cyclops said...

exactly my point.
when i was talking of islamic terrorism i was only saying in india's context... if thackeray's call a few months bak to constitue hindu suicide groups happened to come true, they would also then be terrorists(but not saying there are none now)..

but looking at the bigger picture, mostly it's just a petty power hungry ploy for breeding distrust (politics badly mixed with religion), which survives on the discontent the people in most places have of not being able to rise out of the ordinary, or even even able to make a life out of themselves.

all of us including business establishments, MNCs, governments, NGOs, every citizen, should now be involved, should collaborate in the right way to root out this scourge. The problem herein is how do you define the right way and one of the ways is what i talked about in the original post.


i can just say

but then i must say dat not one religion called"islam"is involved... there are many... it's just dat they are in the limelight so people know bout them...

Cyclops said...

thanks to all for commenting.. i hope to make this discussion more wide spread.

btw i totally disagree with Attila's comments.. but would be nice if his comments were challenged with solid examples.. trying to find a few now.. could do with your help!!!

Cyclops said...


couldnt agree with you more.
but was just talking in india's context as of now.
as i wrote in an earlier comment if thackeray's call a few months bak to constitue hindu suicide groups happened to come true, they would also then be terrorists

Lyfe said...

Ahh...I just read this article and was going to post a comment in the morning

when I saw attila's comment. I just had to coment after something like that.

There have been many scientific and cultural achievements attributed to

arabs. But oh, muslims in general were mocked here. Hmmm...does the mughal

empire sound like like a good enough counter example. They patronized art,

science, etc. Arab mathematicians populars the numbers we use(hence Arabic

Numerals). Check out the work of a guy called al khwarizimi or something(not

sure about the spelling). The word algebra comes from the title of one of his

books. Check Omar Khayyam's achievements. There are lots more. Never

generalize a notion without proper knowledge and perception.

As for their societies being barbaric, I am not sure what he means. If it

refers to practices like cutting of a guy's hands, well it is not as

widespread as it one was and it will continue to reduce in the future.

Actually it is not that different in so called 'other civilised' societies.

Some civilised societies can lock you up without you knowing why. In some

others you can go scot free, depending on your resources. My friend here

didn't give a specific example of barbarism or civilism, so I don't want to

go into any specifics either. So, reiterating what I said earlier, please, if

nothing comes to mind, go do some research.

I don't know how one can say that Arabs don't know the "pains of labour" as

that phrase is pretty ambiguous(contact me if anyone didn't get it). As far

as "not knowing what it means to develop a society on sweat and toil" goes I

don't know about arabs, but to be fair, do we know anything about building a

society? It was all done by our ancestors.

Now, as far as the media 'converting' the terrorists back goes, I think it is

fairly impossible to brainwash a person twice. Also, it is not like someone is going to force a young upstanding member of the terrorism community to watch the show that causes the "a revolution to take out steam". And lets be fair, the media needs to generate money. I doubt whether the "terrorst demographic' is a major source of advertising revenue. I have more points but I have to finish this comment before I fall asleep.

"Putting the message across that we too are stubborn enough not to concede" will only lead to tests of how stubborn we are. It take character to extend a hand to your enemy(I mean talks....).

The last paragraph of my friend Attila's comments is so incredibly biased that I don't want to waste any of my sleep over that. Please don't take this personally. I just say this in the belief that even though free speech is only a theory in real life, some kind of limited freedom of expression exists in the blogosphere.

I am too tired to comment on keesha's excellent post. I will hopefully do so in the near future.

Send your hatemail to

Vinod_Sharma said...

An outstanding post.The ideology of Islamic terrorism, unfortunately is not reactive and based on economic deprivation. It has evolved since early times into a clear objective: to establish the political rule of Islam over the whole world.

Unless this fundamental motivation is correctly understood, we will keep looking in the wrong places for an answer. Friedman's flat world does not factor in this disruptive ideology at all because it is has not been sufficiently impacted by it yet.

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