When Aylan Kurdi fell in the sea, he was too young to understand the consequences. The boat was overcrowded, but as short as the memory of a toddler is, he was not concerned. He was hungry and had already cried several times but in this boat filled to brim with refugees there was little else in the name of food. Aylan didn’t see nor did he understand the wave which toppled his boat. All the passengers, including his parents, were shocked till the time there instincts took over and they all began desperate efforts to swim. Sea was too turbulent for that. Sixty people, including Aylan , his brother and mother died that day. They were all running from Syria, once their homeland, ruled by a despot but at least peaceful.Today Syria burns, its fires have already consumed about 500,000, many more have been crippled and many others have finally found peace in the depths of Mediterranean ocean.
Iraq and Syrian civil wars forged ISIS, Russian conquest and Afghanistan tribal wars consolidated Taliban, denial of rights of equality to Tamilian population gave birth to LTTE. In fact, in almost all cases, terrorism is fathered by conflict. Since the dawn of modern age, history bears witness, that the big powers have fanned the conflicts for their own petty interests. Balkan was initial venue of big power games, which ultimately ended in World War I. Middle east and Asia became another centre of rivalry of USSR and USA. Uncountable have died and are dying because of repercussions of the USA’s policy of containment of communism. Even more unjustified was the wars that were fanned for mere petroleum.
The penchant to create conflicts to gain some strategic advantage, to get some material gains, to topple a legitimate government is not new. As I have already told, this greed caused World War I and did not cease even then. Use of violence against State to topple or oppose an unjust rule is also not a new phenomenon. However, terrorism, which is use of violence against innocent citizens of a country to create fear, or to gain some limited objective is a recent thing. It has been used by Palestinians, LTTE, and Islamic terrorists throughout the world. This new type of terrorism appears to be a direct result of emergence of indirect control by all powerful nations and an assumption that the government and people of the State are identical. Unable to actually harm the state, the terrorist organisations rely on sporadic acts of violence. They do so to remain popular, to create terror, to project their relevance to their followers, to keep an issue alive, and to force the State to retaliate thus alienating more people to terrorist cause.
The largest irony in this sorry state of affairs is the role of the most powerful nation of the world. I say irony, because the role of USA in fighting terrorism is filled with contradictions. It is the largest democracy in the world but it has supported limited, powerless and despotic governments throughout the world without impunity. It has largest army, but it has never shied from using guerillas and mercenaries against it’s adversaries and for toppling unfriendly regimes. USA’s foreign policy is anti terrorist, where it seeks to create a global solidarity to fight this menace, but in almost all cases terrorist activities at a place are a result of direct and indirect actions of USA. It recognises terrorism of Al Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban but fails to realise how its old ally Pakistan is breeding ground of terrorisms of worst sort.
A few examples of how American actions breeded terrorism would suffice. Taliban was formed by the militias USA helped to fight Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda was formed by Osama bin Laden who was once supported by USA. Palestinian terrorism is a direct result of forming a Jewish state in Muslim homeland and then supporting every transgression by Israel. ISIS was formed in the aftermath of Iraq invasion and attempts to topple Syrian government. Communist militias in Coloumbia were a product of USA’s support to efforts of minority government in that nation to purge communists. The list can continue for many more paragraphs.
On the other hand, USA has killed Osama Bin Laden, it toppled Taliban government , its continued presence in Afghanistan is the only reason why Taliban has not returned to the country. It is bombing ISIS strongholds and is sharing vital information about various terrorists throughout the world. It is forming and leading coalition of the nations of the world against terrorism.
Perhaps the biggest lesson the world can draw from history is to understand that any dishonest intermeddling in affairs of other people will eventually prove disastrous. By dishonest I mean presence of either unjust means or unjust goals while taking a decision. Being completely fair, respecting wishes of other people, supporting democratic governments and democratic values unconditionally and checking spread of fundamentalism are indispensible if we want to contain and eliminate terrorism.
We also need a world, where one or two countries, no matter how powerful, can easily dominate will of any other country. Though sovereignty has become a grund norm in international law, its direct and indirect violation through overt and covert means continues. In most cases terrorism is outcome of denial of nationalist aspirations. In a situation like this fundamentalism readily fills in the ideological space, giving rise to terrorism. International bodies must be made more democratic, representative and powerful. Security council has been immasculated by the veto powers of five permanent members. It has failed to take action against countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that promote terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
USA would have to realise that if it truly wants to fight terrorism; it will have to support true representative democracy in all the nations and all the organisations of the world. Policies during Obama administration have been promising, Iran and Cuba, old arch enemies of USA were extended a friendly hand. One can only hope that the future governments of USA would bring these policies to their logical culmination.