Tag Archives: terrorism

Thought #60. On #BritishThreatLevels hashtag.

In the wake of the Manchester terror attack, British citizens stoically stick to their singular national character in an attempt to try to lift their mood. They would go to any lengths to turn a deaf ear to terrorists; in other words, if terrorists expect Brits to panic, they must be mad. Such an ingrained sense of fun and humour can only be found in the UK. And that is extremely good for them, an effective and natural antidote to a terrorist threat.
Twitter is flooded with messages showing wry humour about the #BritishThreatLevels hashtag. Just to put you in the picture, among the highlighted tweets with that hashtag you can find:

– A photo of a quirky man holding a pint of beer and asking “You want some?”.

– Another snapshot of a hedgehog typing in something on a computer keyboard with the message “Signing off an email with ‘Regards’ instead of ‘Kind Regards’ because the recipient has annoyed you”.

– A text like this “Overtaking someone while walking and having to keep up an uncomfortable pace to stay ahead of the person you overtook”.

– Or “When someone waves at you in the street and you wave back only to realise they’re waving at the person behind you”.

– This one was hilarious “Replying ‘You too’ when the waiter says ‘Enjoy your meal’.”

– And last but not least, “We’re British, you don’t scare us until you raise the threat level to: ’The only tea we have is Lipton’”.

From today onward, Manchester dwellers will never be the same; this is something blatantly obvious. The victims were mostly children, the most innocent human beings. Not only did the suicide bomber perpetrate a barbaric act of violence last Monday, but the threat of further attacks is looming on the horizon. However, the trail of destruction left by those “losers” (as Trump called them yesterday) will not undermine the way British people live their lives. At least, I do not think so.

But we cannot afford for a surge of Islamophobia to emerge on account of fear, helplessness or hatred.  Islam has little to do with terrorism. no silver bullet could have prevented the bombing. Only by upholding the principles of democracy and freedom, by integrating diversity of cultural expressions and religions, will we be able to overcome this tremendous problem and defeat those inhuman and savagely cruel behaviours.

If we turn to dividing our societies by religious beliefs, our behaviour will inadvertently come back to haunt us. Those fanatics are i n deadly earnest when they say they want to destroy all forms of democracy. What do they do to persuade people to join their crusade? The brains behind terrorist organisations such as ISIS or Daesh persistently try to brainwash people, in particular, vulnerable or ignorant individuals. And they do it by using our hate and our desire for revenge which, in this case, is our Achilles heel.

What we are seeing now should not be a country teetering on the brink of a war against Islam. I believe that the Brits’ reaction to the increase in Threat Level is a powerful example of what we must do: to lead a life filled with hope and endurance. Maybe it is high time that European citizens thought about their present and future role in this ceaselessly changing world. Brexit may not have come up trumps, but some Brits are teaching us a lesson.

Thought #57. Is torture ever justified?

 

Does the end justify the means? First and foremost, the mere fact of writing down these questions repels me. We live in a so-called developed world in which governments must uphold the principles of democracy. I would like to express my disapproval towards those countries that profit from information extracted by others under “enhanced” interrogation methods.

Unquestionable as it is that not only our country but the rest of Europe is living under an undying terrorist threat, we cannot move the goalposts at our convenience. By doing that, we would jeopardise fundamental human rights and that would be legitimately punishable by international law. As democracy should oblige, it is not enough to condemn the violation of the rights promoted by treaties such as the Geneva Conventions or the UN Declaration of Human Rights, we ought to obey the rules to the letter and without exception. That is the definition of law, isn’t it?

If a country uses military intelligence reports based on information gathered out of torture, they are backing it up; as clear as day. In face of persuading public opinion, politicians could claim that not by any means is this behaviour tantamount to condoning the violation of international law. It just so happens that, for the vast majority of us, overlooking the means borders on justifying them.

Giving terrorists a taste of their own medicine is not a solution. It is deeply cynical to try to conceal this countenance to torture. Must we applaud those who turn a blind eye? Is torture ever justified? We must respect the law and promote the principles of democracy with firmness. Only by being consistent with the treaties we signed, will we be defending civil liberties.