From: Grant Callaghan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri 15 Nov 2002 - 21:21:29 GMT
Here is your well thought out act of terrorism with purposeful intent:
In the shadow of terror
All are victims of the Bali massacre
Monday October 14, 2002
This was a crime against all humanity. Its victims were Muslims, Hindus and
Christians. They included Australians, Britons, other Europeans, Americans,
Indonesians and south-east Asians of many, so far uncounted nationalities.
They were of all ages but for the most part young, partying inside the Sari
nightclub on Bali. They were all different. But what they shared transcended
the particulars of colour, language and belief. All were innocent of any
offence, oblivious to any threat. All were unsuspecting of fell conspiracy,
all unprotected and at their ease. And the toll comprises not just those who
died or were terribly injured, over 500 in all. It also includes perhaps
hundreds more who were there and escaped immediate harm but whose lives were
shattered by a moment of horror, whose consciousness will be forever
scarred, whose dreams henceforth may always be troubled. And in truth the
shock and trauma of what happened on Saturday night in Bali will spread ever
outwards, like tremors from an earthquake's epicentre. It will touch
eventually every corner of an inter-dependent and mutually vulnerable world.
Such inhumanity makes victims of us all.
The casualties of Bali could, and did, come from anywhere and everywhere.
And this gruesome attack upon them came out of nowhere, out of a balmy,
insouciant night, without any prior warning, without compunction and without
mercy. That it was a carefully planned assault seems clear. That a smaller
bomb, detonated moments before outside another nearby disco, and a third
device that exploded close to a US consular office, formed a trap designed
to maximise the carnage and intensify the sudden, enveloping sense of utter
terror also seems evident. That a "soft" target was deliberately chosen to
minimise the risk to the perpetrators only serves to emphasise the base and
cowardly nature of the act.
It was, whichever way it is looked at, an inhuman deed by people who,
whatever their convictions and motives, demonstrated a lack of common
feeling that places them beyond the pale of any concept of society. Yet
simply to dub this Islamic terror and to bewail some sort of global
confrontation between Islam and the west is to fall into the extremists'
wider trap. These skulking murderers besmirch and dishonour the religion for
which they claim to fight. They know nothing of Islam's true path. But they
are hardly unique. There have through history always been individuals
prepared cynically to exploit belief and to sacrifice others for their own
twisted ends. And the way to defeat them, as all history shows, is not
blindly to demonise whole peoples or faiths but rather to isolate and disarm
those small minorities who betray them while simultaneously addressing the
roots of their dispossession, ignorance and anger.
The linear connection of Bali to the fundamentalist killers behind September
11 does indeed appear all but certain. That al-Qaida, or groups affiliated
to it, or supportive of it, carried out this latest outrage is a conclusion
that, even without firm evidence, seems inescapable. That there has so far
been no admission of culpability is merely another, typical sign of
al-Qaida's hand. There have been indications in recent months that the group
was building up its strength in south-east Asia and especially in Indonesia
amid hardline domestic agitation over President Megawati Sukarnoputri's
support for US anti-terror policies. Malaysia earlier expressed its concern.
Singapore arrested several alleged operatives last winter. In the southern
Philippines, despite US military intervention, the al-Qaida sympathisers of
Abu Sayyaf remain unvanquished. Last month, fearing new attacks,
particularly by car or truck bombs, the US temporarily closed its regional
embassies. Last week it issued a worldwide alert.
None of this should be taken to imply that somehow Bali could have been
specifically foreseen or prevented. But it does surely demonstrate that the
threat directly represented and symbolised by al-Qaida remains undiminished,
despite all efforts at elimination, and is perhaps increasing. The main
difference now may be that the organisation has decentralised its operations
since its expulsion from Afghanistan and that small cells or even lone
individuals are now tasked with carrying out "freelance" assaults wherever
and whenever they can.
The broader pattern into which this may fit includes such recent incidents
as the gun attack on US marines in Kuwait, the ramming of a French oil
tanker off Yemen, the attempted assassination of the Afghan president, Hamid
Karzai, in Kandahar, numerous outrages in Pakistan, the killing of German
tourists in Tunisia and several other plots, executed or planned, extending
across much of the globe. Looked at in this uncomfortable context, the
trumpeted success of the US-led anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan now
seems ever more vacuous. The problem has simply been displaced and
dispersed. Nearly a year after Osama bin Laden and his henchmen disappeared
into the Tora Bora mountains, it is plain that their malign cause has far
from disappeared and is far from defeated.
Two imperatives arise in the face of this ramifying, many-headed menace:
that all that possibly can be done is done, collectively, to defeat the
terrorists; and that nothing is undertaken that may aid or assist their
campaign. In these key respects, there is an obvious danger that the current
US focus on Iraq is counter-productive on both counts. A war in Iraq will do
nothing to prevent further massacres of the type witnessed at the weekend.
Even the Bush administration will find it a stretch to blame Bali on Saddam
Hussein. More worryingly still, by inflaming opinion in the Muslim world and
beyond, war may disrupt anti-terror efforts, weaken or destroy the
international coalition and act as a persuasive recruiting sergeant for
al-Qaida, raising the prospect of yet more murders of innocents. If Bali
tells us anything, it is that the defeat of stateless, international
terrorism is the most pressing security issue of the day. It is far too
important to be misdirected or diverted for dubious, divisive reasons by one
country against another. Defeating terrorism must be the shared work of all
humankind - for all humankind is its prey. Our common humanity demands that
it be so.
* * *
I'm sure you've heard Bin Laden's recent telephone message praising the act
as a heroic effort for the cause. Having thought it over, my opinion was
and is: their actions are mindless, senseless and serve no rational purpose.
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