Terrorism “Enough is enough” but for whom?

Afsan Chowdhury
Thursday, June 8th, 2017
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It doesn’t look like Europe and the US will be free of Islamic terrorism’s most violent activities soon. What the leaders are saying can’t be matched by action either as the cost for sustained anti-terror campaign is very high in every possible way, particularly economic and institutional.  The Western world is in short supply of both.

 

UK PM, Theresa May has said, ‘enough is enough” and has promised to go tough on terrorists.  This implies that she had not taken all the steps necessary to ensure the safety of her own people. It’s difficult to believe that the she had the choice to do both and she took the more unsafe step. Chances are that the transaction cost of making such a choice is high and she wanted to avoid it till the last moment. But if it becomes inevitable she will have to take it but whether UK will be ready to pay the price in the long run, one is not sure.

 

There is no question that most of the home grown terrorist in the West mostly come from erstwhile colonies.   It a fact of the West’s past that it would like to forget but the relationship between the West and its ex-colonies are not very positive even now and never will be.

 

While Europe has retreated from its colonies, the treatment migrants receive at the hands of erstwhile colonizers is hugely discriminatory. This has allowed memories of colonialism to fuse into present experiences making a small band of such people into active haters and a few into terrorists. And the West doesn’t know how to handle them.

 

“Reaction” or Islamic terrorism

 

While the phenomenon has been dubbed as Islamic terrorism, the fact remains that the overwhelming number of terrorists comes from the Middle East and North Africa with an odd smattering from elsewhere. But the main recruits are from the Middle East, an area where the West has been screwing things up for several decades.   Had the Middle East been Christian, we would have seen the rise of Christian terrorism. It’s impossible for the West to understand that it’s not about faith but reaction to a long history of suffering and reaction to it. However, by doing so, they can avoid the self searching which is so desperately needed if the issue is to be reduced a bit.

 

But can the present West – US and Europe- present a united face to the terrorists when they can’t even do the same to themselves?.  Even in times of such crisis the US-UK fight has been intense and the mistrust is clear for all to see. The Great Wall of the West has cracked badly and it means that the kind of shared enterprise that may have helped the cause is not there.

And committing terrorism is terrible “efficient and inexpensive” as Indian terrorism expert Ajay Sahani has said. Sadly as its own record shows, counter terrorism is equally expensive and inefficient not to mention counter-productive.

 

Only 3000 terrorists?

 

Take for example, the general estimate that there are 3000 terror suspects in the UK and many are clamouring that they should all be put behind bars. It actually is a good idea and one should proceed forthwith with it if it does reduce terrorism. However, the UK government knows that it will radicalize another several thousand because they are not motivated by greed by anger and frustration.  Putting 3000 people in jail also had a variety of costs and it comes with a total ban on immigration from its Muslim colonized countries in different parts of the world. It will mean disrupting relationships with the communities from which the 3000 come and its claim to be a leader of the free world.

 

What the West mistakenly thought was that that all the colonizing, brutalizing history and even the recent Middle East wars which has devastated so many lives were decisions without any consequences. This is where its weakness lay. Now that Europe is disintegrating, UK is isolated and its economic importance severely declining, it seems what the West faces is not Islamic terrorism as much as its payback from its own history.

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