04 December, 2008

The Problem with Islamic Terrorism- cross posted from my blog.

I am beginning to have a problem with Islamic terrorism. Don't we all? Not quite in the "they-invade-our-lands-kill-our-people-way" I mean that is heinous in itself- (And don't even for a minute think that I condone or even try to understand it). But this disliking Islamic Terror has more to do with the way that term is applied now. Very loosely. Very broadly and in a manner that encourages all those who are anti-Muslim to voice their ugliest stereotypes and innate racism- all in the name of trying to give voice to a peaceful dialog.

I am an atheist, so I have no special love for people who follow the religion of Islam- nor indeed for the Hindus, the Sikhs, the Bahai's, the Christians, the Taoists- nor the Buddhists and followers of any of the other faiths that might be there. But this lack of love is mostly for their idealogy. I do not subscribe to any and indeed the idea that people need an invisible being or beings or promises of hereafters to keep them on the straight and narrow is all very silly for me. But as human beings, I have no problems with any of them. As long as their particular blind belief is not shoved into my face and we can all live in peace and harmony and whatnot. I also find it horrible that I need to put in this disclaimer here- before I vent my feelings here.

I am beginning to have a real problem with the way, just after a terrorist strike- (the Mumbai siege is the closest one), mocking articles with "Religion of peace Strikes", or "Islamic terrorism" or even other pieces asking "moderate Muslims to speak out" begin to appear. It is irritating to hear of religious peace dialog and analysis on religious mindsets of people perpetrating these crimes. I am beginning to really get angry at how the whole issue of terrorism quickly gets sidelined in the invective poured out against "them" invisible, but at the same times acquiring the shapes of the minorities that one fears.

Because religion is not really a scary or dangerous thing. It is like a Kalashnikov- or a bomb. Basically harmless, unless used the wrong way. Maybe that analogy is not apt- religion is like nuclear power. A force that can be unleashed for good and also for evil- a force that needs to be understood. I know the evils that religious people are capable of. The misogyny, the child abuse, the abuse of power, the fleecing people of money, the creation of horror- but these are people who do these things. Not their holy books. Not their idols or prayer mats or shawls. And it is another set of people who very religiously follow the dictates of their faiths and their devotions to their invisible sky fairies and dedicate their lives to the service of their fellow beings. Again it is not the faith, but the person.

And the person is shaped by the place they are in. Buffeted by the mighty politic-cultural-economic-social winds, abraded by circumstance, molded by the pressure of the seen and unseen, felt and unfelt. Above all governed by their free will. Because the decision to pull a trigger or drop a bomb is only that- personal. Choice. Determined solely by the person alone. Exacerbated by tensions, by breeding, by education or lack of it, but in the end very personal. And rationalized in the name of religion.

Because that is what people do- try to find a nobler cause for evil doing. Religion, tradition, custom all make wonderful scapegoats. Formulated in the bronze ages in a very strange time, they have wonderfully archaic ideas- a veritable treasure trove for those who would like a roadmap for their evil. Religion on the whole is a stupid thing. And it has even stupider followers. Who do their best to justify their stupidity. And in all honesty separated from that particular religion or sect or group, these people would still be the same- in most cases. It is never the fault of that particular identity. It is the fault of the way that identity is manipulated, the way they are molded to behave in a particular way.

The problem with terrorism is that its victims are faceless and usually always innocents. The other problem is that the terrorists who perpetrate the acts are tools. The real masterminds rarely ever get caught in the line of fire. And the manipulation is done by a mere stirring up of discontent. Discontent against a group, a culture, a religion even a national identity.

And in exactly this way "Islamic terror" becomes manipulated to give rise to Hindu or Buddhist or Christian or maybe Jewish terror. Create walls, raise boundaries and break down bridges. "Terrorist rights" are scoffed at- forgotten is that at the core they are human rights. Totalitarian ideas and regimes arise- all by sampling giving human shape to the deadliest terrors of uncertainty.

Because the labeling is silly- it can also be one of several identities- Male terror thee aren't as many women terrorists- or brown terror- how many white or black people with Kalashnikov's and belt bombs do you see- or better still human terror- after all no other species carts around RDX quite like this.

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Blogger Ricercar said...

In general, I would say like everyone else that it doesnt matter 'who' the terrorists are or where they are from! A label or category is only relevant if there is something intrinsic about the classification, which brings gives rise to the terror. Lately, for the first time I have started wondering if that doesnt apply here ...

4/12/08 23:06  
Blogger Mukund said...

I think the act carried in Mumbai would be a very rare act. When i hear all stories coming from the newspapers i began to wonder on 3 questions. 1.How can anyone commit his life to a religion & then be disappointed that there was no god after all.Does their training also involves team spirit since this was a complicated. How can commandos be as motivated to root them out as much they were so much committed to destrucion. 2.Terrorist are surely a hardworking bunch,their values could be about passion,zeal & enthusiasm.To create a personality of a terrorist a Robo needs to be created in our science labaratory which would look at a crowd of 100 people & see who has a weapon & think of chasing him & killing that target. Hopefully the Americans & israelities or koreans & Japs may pioneer such technology. We Indians the dumbest & the most cowardice race in the world will shamelessly adopt their technology.I hope home minister P Chidambaram considers innovative proposals from indians & think in investing in technologies which has to neutralize advanced forms of terrorism in next 10 years or so. 3.After the 73 war by israel & (egypt/syria), the israelis identified that they had many weak spot in their war campaign, without getting defensive they went into a presecondary school & began to sell their military courses for the top 50 students. The program life was 9 years with 3 years paid by government & 6 years paid for actual service. In india i remember when the kargill war happened many one of my friend told me that when he wanted to join the army, the recruiting officer said how much bribe he was willing to way, he said even for giving our life for this country you need to pay bribe.How can this stupid indian army be made to go to accredited colleges & sell their career to great students. Unless they do these bold experiments we are as a nation going to live in thrash & muddy politics perpetuated by a 80 year old president & an equally old primeminister. The pursuit of mediocrity transcends our entire society.

9/12/08 05:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn fine, post. The analogy with nuclear power is very rich. :)

9/2/09 01:40  

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