Terror alert: Hongkongers are no longer safe, thanks to America and its allies
Yonden Lhatoo warns that innocent Hongkongers are starting to pay in blood for the distant follies of Western governments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere
What goes around, comes around. This adage is the simple answer to the bewildered “why?” that I hear people asking all the time when they talk about the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Europe.
What we are seeing is the bloody blowback from decades of Western powers’ disastrous policies of intervention in the Middle East.
In a sense, terror has come home to roost. For decades, the US and its Western allies have bombed and bullied the Middle East without considering the long-term consequences of destabilising or destroying entire nations.
The last substantial count by a group of major human rights organisations put the total body tally from the war zones of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan during 12 years of America’s so-called “war on terror” at about 1.3 million. That was a conservative estimate – the actual death toll could be more than two million.
Think about it. You can’t kill or directly cause the deaths of two million people and expect no karmic retribution. The renowned American intellectual and apostle of conscientious dissent, Noam Chomsky, summed it up perfectly: “Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.”
The catastrophe of biblical proportions that former US president George W. Bush brought upon Iraq, turning a region that was once a cradle of human civilisation into a cesspool of terror, was a distant reality for Europeans.
Now the fallout has reached their shores and spread inland, after their governments spent decades supporting America’s Israel-friendly but cynical and downright murderous policies to create the collective mess that is Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, among others.
Chomsky, in naming the US as “the world’s biggest terrorist”, has regularly highlighted the massive resentment in the Muslim world caused by Washington’s drone assassination campaign and the “collateral damage” it has wreaked upon innocent civilian populations while going after alleged terrorists.
Of its vigorous execution by Nobel Peace Prize-winning president Barack Obama, he says: “By most accounts, it is generating terrorists more rapidly than it is murdering those suspected of someday intending to harm us.”
“Us” no longer means only innocent Americans, far away from the war zones, paying the horrific price for their leaders’ misdeeds, as they did on September 11, 2001, but Europeans as well, and just about everyone else now.
That includes Hongkongers. We had our first real taste of it this month when a family on holiday in Germany was attacked by an axe-wielding refugee said to be driven by radical Islam. Two of them were critically injured during the shocking assault on a train in Wuerzburg, a Bavarian city that most Hongkongers have never heard of, let alone travelled to.
What goes around not only comes around these days, it spreads to places that were never even involved, and devastates innocent lives that had no part in the root causes of the hatred and madness that drives such barbaric bloodshed.
It’s a sobering thought for us, living in what is probably the safest city in the world. What happens halfway across the globe is no longer something you only watch or read in the media and shake your head at. It’s not only real, it has grim, far-reaching consequences, and blameless people like us can end up victims anywhere we go.
Unless, of course, you’ve joined in the wholesale insanity over Pokemon Go, in which case, you’re far more likely to get hurt in a stupid accident right here on the terror-free streets of our guiltless city.
Yonden Lhatoo is a senior editor at the Post