This is not the way to address grievances

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The world has become very strange. The bizarre and gruesome events in Sri Lanka last week make one painfully aware that criminals come in all forms and disguises. This time they were hiding behind the cloak of honorable members of the business community who had no transactions in mind except to put into action their deviate ideas of mayhem and destruction.

In that they are criminals, there is no question. For what they were planning to perpetuate was an act of violence against innocent people. The authorities must deal with them swiftly and firmly. And we the public must be supportive of counter-terrorism agencies as well, for indiscriminate violence touches each one of us.

While terrorism is being exercised often on a large scale against innocent people through state-sponsored mandates supporting indiscriminate bombing and killing, there is no excuse for those fringe elements who have decided to settle their grievances through the bodily harm of innocent people who had no part to play in whatever has disturbed the twisted minds of these violence-prone maniacs.

The regional violence that is being perpetuated today on a daily basis may have contributed to the rise in this perverted way of thinking. It is creating hate-filled minds, a phenomenon with dangerous consequences. We have seen some of that on our own soil, where extremism and fanaticism has led to some very hostile acts against innocent people.

A line is being drawn between friends and enemies. It is the “us against them” syndrome, which is most disturbing. Who are these “we” and “they”? Are we not all human beings? And should we not address our injustices through legal forums rather than band together and hatch plots to harm others indiscriminately? Are we not aware of peaceful precedents that were used in our historical past with remarkable results?

Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela battled grave injustices, but they did not do it through violence, which would have in turn begat more violence. They did not tarnish their struggle with false claims of a religious or cultural fervor. Instead, they mobilized their resistance through peaceful means. And forever they shall remain icons of a civilized world.

Those today that choose to promote their terrorist activities behind the cover of a spiritual cloak are nothing less than criminals, suffering from the perverse logic of revenge or power. Theirs is not the cause of freedom or justice or misplaced rights. It is about spreading mayhem and death. These thugs target innocent civilians which only serves to expose their cowardice.

They should not expect any sympathy from those of us who are appalled at the extent these criminals are willing to go to in order to spread their message of terror. There is no end justifying their means, except perhaps a one-way ticket to the gallows. And there will be no reprieve in the Hereafter. No religion condones the indiscriminate killing of the innocent. It is time for the rest of us to aggressively denounce and reject the message these fanatics are attempting to spread through their despicable activities. Let us expose them for what they are and seek them out no matter where they dwell.

Let the message reach them loud and clear. We do not condone the means they have employed, regardless of their grievances.

The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena


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