Sunday, January 11, 2015

Two small points on common reactions to a terror attack

After my last post on reactions to a terror attack, I want to make an observation about a couple of the very common and standard responses that I have seen.

1) Terror has no religion. This is commonly spouted by most politicians as well as liberals while condemning the latest terror attack. Case in point, the French President himself said in the aftermath of the attack that the person involved had nothing to do with Islam. Or if we go a few months, back, Barack Obama said ISIS had nothing to do with Islam. Pretty much, every politician in India including Narendra Modi also says the same thing.

I do not agree with this politically correct - bull shit or capitulation. First of all if you say - terror has "no religion" - then are you implying that it has something to do with those who have "no religion " ? Are you implying terror has something to do with Atheism ? But more seriously, if the terrorists are actually telling us that they want an Islamic state or are doing it to avenge their religion's Prophet, how can it have nothing to do with religion ? It can be argued and it should be argued that it is possibly based on a very wrong and distorted view of that religion - and that wrong and distorted view needs to be challenged - sure, but to deny links with religion and all that goes along with its indoctrination and training is simply being in denial.

2) All Muslims must apologize for a terror attack done by Muslims. This is another common response - typically from the other side or the right wing - which asks, nay demands, all Muslims not just condemn but apologize for the misdeeds of the terrorists.

There are a lot of problems with this view:
a) The ones that you are able to communicate with and have a dialogue with, are living in the same society as you are, and have nothing to do with it. If they had anything to do with this, then you wouldn't know them or speak with them anyway.
b) How does a Muslim living in say India or Indonesia bear any obligation for the misdeeds of these terrorists - you cannot logically link the responsibility.
c) What benefit will you gain anyway if a few apologized for the sake of it - it is pointless. What next ?

What happens by making these sort of petulant and stupid demands is that the real issue of terrorism and how to counter it gets lost and gives the opponents of those making this stupid demand a chance to accuse people of bigotry and racism and the debate gets lost. And if you are unlucky you get pwned very badly too :)

So what can you do or ask of Muslims if anything at all ? Nothing in my opinion. Those who are actually living in these middle eastern countries or African countries, from where this radical Islamic terror is emanating - have to find their own solutions. And those living in the democratic world - are and have to be part of the debates in these societies.

Edit: Curiously enough, Garry Kasparov had to see the following today evening itself....

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How do folks react to a a terror attack by Islamic Terrorists ?

So, yesterday, we had yet another terror attack, by Islamic Terrorists. As John Stewart says, you just can't make sense of these things.

Having said that, many folks (and I am guilty of judging myself) do react and we then get to see the views, and more importantly the inherent biases within the people in their reactions.

And in these myriad reactions, I did some very, very broad generalizations to categorize the reaction of the different types of people as to how they react to a terror attack by Islamic terrorists. Note : these reactions are when a "western" or democratic country is attacked and not say for ISIS related attacks in the middle -east.

 I wonder if others think this categorization is reasonably accurate.

PS: Where should anyone stand on such issues ? Apart from a feeling of solidarity and grief with the victims, there is no one right answer that I know of, for all the other questions. Where do I stand - I admit I am what a lot of people would call a bigot in this matter, and my views are probably closest to Type 2. I could be Type 1 as well if you consider that in India - Type 2 is not really a category. And my biggest problem is with folks in Type 3 - because they control the dominant media narrative. But more bitching about that on some other day.

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