Human Cost of Terrorism

Before starting my topic let us understand what terrorism is. There is no comprehensive definition of terrorism. According to authentic reports there are over 109 different definitions of terrorism. I would mention two of them, American political philosopher Michael Walzer in 2002 wrote: : “Terrorism is the deliberate killing of innocent people, at random, to spread fear through a whole population and force the hand of its political leaders”. The second definition that I refer to was propounded by Carsten Bockstette at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, “Terrorism is defined as political violence in an asymmetrical conflict that is designed to induce terror and psychic fear (sometimes indiscriminate) through the violent victimization and destruction of noncombatant targets (sometimes iconic symbols). Such acts are meant to send a message from an illicit clandestine organization. The purpose of terrorism is to exploit the media in order to achieve maximum attainable publicity as an amplifying force multiplier in order to influence the targeted audience(s) in order to reach short- and midterm political goals and\or desired long-term end states.” The second one was pretty extensive. We also have heard about state terrorism conducted by state to target its own citizens or foreign targets.

The international community as well as each individual of our society have dissensions about terrorism, some of us believe it’s caused by religious devotion and some think it is just a political game. Let us not shove our topic towards this conflict and focus on the topic, loss to humanity by terrorism. Along with innovatory intellectual, intelligence of brain, humanity is also a quality of distinction of humans from other creatures. Although humanity is associated with humans but still some peoples don’t posses this quality. I am sure you are thinking that I am talking about terrorist, but guess what? I am not. Well, then who am I talking about? I am talking about us. According to me terrorists are animals opposed to human beings characterized by an absence of reasoning or intelligence. We are also losing our humanity slowly but surely. Our humanity has been lashed and flogged by the whip of terrorism for years. The terrorists attacked not just our buildings, assets, wealth or our lives, they also attacked our most valuable quality and that is “HUMANITY”.

 We have suffered a lot for long time and are still in the state of terrorism. We are going through hazardous, perilous and unpredictable circumstances. Many of us have lost much to these treacherous situations of our world, we have lost our loved ones, our shelters and many more. Death of loved ones leaves a heartache no one can heal and when they are killed gratuitously without any reason, it makes our blood boil. These feelings of pain grow up and our ire rise up to outrageous anger. We then only think of returning the suffering and agony to those who gave us loss of loved ones. This is where we should restrain our hatred. I am not pleading for terrorist and neither am I asking you to forget their offenses and reconcile with them. I am not in favor of let bygones be bygones for extremists. But we should not take the authority of giving judgement or punishing anyone. It is not incumbent on us to react inappropriately. When some kind of misfortune or any explosion happens, it brings catastrophic and tragic damage to lives and properties of innocent people. Many people get wounded with severe injuries. Such damages are grievous but some of us get panic and their reaction is even much grievous, because they react negatively and help to increase the number of killings or value of damage.  They start opposing and criticizing the minorities aggressively and violently. Such extreme foolishness and irrationality would only aggravate the situation, and this kind of reaction definitely goes in favor of terrorists.

Because of these impatient people automatically the amount of loss increases, giving insurance to any terror act. If somehow they didn’t achieve their goal by detonation or any attack, such ignorant people work as their agents doing their job on their behalf. Either the terrorists will devour us or these irate people would. Such activities of them create repulsion and antipathy among human beings. Such odium helps terrorists to recruit more common people to join them and support them to achieve their objectives. We often see such violent reaction in western countries, one of them recently took place unfortunately in Christchurch, New Zealand. Bloodshed in mosque, church, mandir (Hindu temple), or anywhere else is equally condemnable.  This act itself was a terror attack and those who did it were not avenging anyone but were blindly and senselessly killing innocent people. WE should not water down our moral codes and ethics and never perish the difference between us and terrorists. We have government and forces to confront terrorism and we should let them do their job. The beneficial deed we can do is to support our government and help and console the victims of terror attack instead of making circumstances even worse. This is the worse form of loss made to human kind by terrorism, lack of humanity. Believe me death is not the biggest loss, not to remain human while living is the huge loss. Like Barack Obama said at his wits end,  “All of us must stand against hatred in all its forms”. I am really thankful to the government of New Zealand for doing quick justice so the situation didn’t get worse.

The second form of lacking humanity is very common in East, and that is not reacting or resisting. We should be at the end of our ropes with these deadly terror attacks. But we are just bearing them instead of trying to stop them. Even after decades of war in Afghanistan we have never found solution to this problem. We are getting used to with random and violent massacre of people. When we get news of any misfortune, we get panic and the first thing we do, we call our family members and if we hear from them that they are safe then it’s  no more a problem to us. My father was in Kabul for his project, when we heard a news of suicide attack on 4th of June 2018 in Kabul killing 14 people and 19 wounded. The news was very much horrifying to me and I was concerned about my father. We called him, but he didn’t reply.  Out of fear and stress my heartbeat was so loud  that I could feel and hear it. After two hours my father called back telling us that he was fine. Hearing his voice released us from anxiety and it really was relief to know that my father was safe and sound. My father had narrowly  escaped many terror attacks in Afghanistan like many of us had where death comes to us within inches unexpectedly. But when we survive such incidents, all that we react is “Oh God that was a close shave”. If we hear of it we say poor people, my sympathy and thoughts  are with them. I was the same and do you know when I knew my father was safe I thanked Allah and said “No worries everything is fine. Uff I bothered myself unnecessarily.” That was the most inhuman words I could have said, and I really feel guilty for that. Because nothing was fine if not my father but someone else’s father was killed in that attack; and I should show empathy for them rather than relaxing.

As a medical students we are taught that some bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections and kill bacteria. Such bacteria are called resistant bacteria. Don’t worry I am not going to give you a lecture about medical science. My contention is that if such small organisms like bacteria can show resistance to its enemy then what has happened to us. We can’t find a way to eliminate this evil of terrorism and not let them ruin our lives. If we couldn’t find any solution then we are worse than micro –organisms, and if we are opposing it but could not get any better methods then we should change our methods for confronting terrorism because if we keep on using the same recipes we would never get a new dish. Like Victor Frankl said,” when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”. I just want to say if we can’t help preventing any misfortune  we can prevent them from hurting our humanity and we should not let them make us one of them. Because both reacting inappropriately and not reacting to, are inhumanity. If we remain humans not by our features but by our character I am sure we will win this war with terrorism. At last I’ll plead with all of  you to react but be positive and benevolent to human kind. Brian Tracy said “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude towards what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”

Nahida Darwesh, The Peace Gong Afghanistan

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