By P SUNDRAMOORTHY
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” especially the supporters during the emergency era in Malaysia.
Perhaps due to the lack of intellectual and objective reasoning by terror groups, thus, the only known strategy to gain support for its 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, are committed to the ideals of liberty, and the values of democracy.
Those who identify themselves with terror groups and participate in terror acts will rule as terrorists. They will never protect freedom, liberty and human rights. Tyranny without any doubt will prevail through dictatorship when a terrorist group becomes the ruling government. Only in totalitarian governments under tyranny rule can the culture of terrorism flourish and expand.
Democratic nations must courageously take measures to eliminate all forms terrorism. We act for the sake of humanity, freedom and democratic rights. Pluralism must be respected. We must not allow terrorism to breed in our sovereign nations. Terrorism will never be able to flourish in nations where civil rights, human rights and democracy are strongly grounded and protected by the people and the government. The respect and dignity for fellow humans must be constantly observed and practised. Thus, we must without fear condemn all form 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 in on the research team of Crime and Policing, School of Social Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia.