A heavy price to pay if terrorism is not eliminated

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 February, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 February, 2016, 12:15am

The social phenomenon of violent acts of terrorism has an intellectual and behavioural context that needs to be objectively analysed without prejudice.

Many would argue that the way to counter acts of terrorism is to address the supposed grievances that arise from deprivation of civil rights, human rights and democracy. Then, is the deliberate targeting of civilians, to indiscriminately murder and maim innocent children, women and men, not the deprivation of such rights? If it were not, then national and international conflicts and struggles for civil rights, human rights and democracy by using violence may be justified by extremist and terror groups. This mindset is most dangerous.

Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle for a free India and Martin Luther King’s campaign for equal rights for all Americans strongly denounced all forms of hatred and oppression, especially violence. Besides military strategies to counter violence by communist insurgents, Sir Gerald Templer most notably succeeded in the nationwide campaign against these insurgents by “winning the hearts and minds of the people” during the emergency era in Malaysia.

Perhaps due to alack of intellectual and objective reasoning by terror groups, their only known strategy to gain support for their irrational cause is by utilising violence and imposing extreme fear on children, men and women. Put simply, that’s why they are terrorists and not champions of social order and justice. Champions of civil and human rights are proponents in the sanctity of each human life, committed to the ideals of liberty and the values of democracy.

Terrorists operate on the principle of destroying anything that falls on their chosen path and their biggest obstruction is innocent civilians, regardless of colour, creed or religion. They blatantly discard all moral codes, social norms and values established since early civilisation.

Maybe the doctrine of totalitarianism justifies the root causes of terrorism. They want to decide what is right and wrong, good and bad for all mankind.

Those who identify themselves with terror groups and participate in terror acts will rule as terrorists.

Democratic nations must courageously take measures to eliminate all forms terrorism. We must not allow terrorism to breed in our sovereign nations.

Thus, we must without fear condemn all forms of terrorist acts, especially when such acts are carried out in the name of religion and God. We live freely and we die freely and this must remain constant.

P. Sundramoorthy, associate professor, school of social sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang , Malaysia