Trump, Terrorism and his acolytes
Terrorism is a virus which uses race and religion as vectors to destroy the civilised world. It is perhaps more dangerous than the pathogen responsible for Black Death, which not only carried off nearly one half of Europe’s population but also gave rise to a spate of unprecedented upheavals which had a lasting effect on that continent, in the 14th Century. The world has long eliminated the bubonic plague, but terrorism remains resilient. For, no global effort has been made to get rid of the contagion of terror the way the world rooted out small pox because powerful nations unflinchingly use it as an instrument to further their military, economic and geo-political interests.
Ad hoc measures continue to be adopted all over the world to deal with terrorists and they only make terrorism more resistant. Newly elected US President Donald Trump apparently believes that he can tackle the menace by closing his country’s borders to all people from predominantly Islamic countries where anti-American terrorists are believed to be active. He has vowed to remove the scourge of ‘Islamic terrorism’ root and branch. This kind of branding of terrorism and ill-conceived US action are a huge propaganda victory for the terrorist groups who claim to be fighting a holy war in the name of Islam.
It is wrong to call savage outfits such as the ISIS ‘Islamic terrorists’ in that anyone who uses that label helps legitimise those savages’ claim that they are fighting for a religious cause. A prerequisite for defeating ISIS and others of their ilk is to help dispel ignorance through education and bring about economic development in backward societies which terrorists use as fertile recruiting grounds. If the US had allocated one tenth of the funds it spent on fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda for developing education and the battered economy in Afghanistan without leaving its Afghan allies in the lurch after it had achieved its goal of driving the Russians away, the rise of the aforesaid terror groups could have been prevented.
Similarly, it is wrong to identify mindless violence fanatics unleash by any other religion they claim to protect. Terrorism must be stripped of the many labels which have helped camouflage and market it, and eliminated in all its forms and manifestations. Strangely, the western leaders and media which have coined terms such as ‘Islamic terror’, ‘Hindu terror’ and ‘Buddhist terror’ have stopped short of branding terrorism unleashed by Caucasian terrorists in the name of their religion.
The recent Quebec mosque attack, which came within days of the announcement of President Trump’s travel ban, oozing with antipathy towards Muslims, reminded us of the LTTE massacres inside mosques in Kaththankudy (147 killed) and Eravur (177 killed) in 1990. Anders Behring Breivik, who massacred 77 youth in Norway in 2011, admitted that he had been inspired by the LTTE, which successive Norwegian governments have coddled. Canada has also been a safe haven for the LTTE. ‘Those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.’
Interestingly, President Trump, who has drawn heavy flak for his travel ban, seems to be a source of inspiration for some far right groups elsewhere. It is hoped that America’s neighbour, Canada, will be able to keep the resurgence of far right activism which found expression in the recent Quebec mosque attack, in check.
In this country, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has taken a leaf out of Trump’s book; it has called for sterner immigration restrictions to ward off threats to Sri Lanka’s national security. BBS General Secretary Ven. Galabodaatte Gnanasara Thera has recently told the media that such action is imperative to prevent religious extremists from gaining entry here. A group of BBS monks including Gnanasra Thera visited the US in 2013. If they were to visit that country again they would perhaps receive a red carpet welcome from the Trump administration.
It will be interesting to know what local and international human rights groups and the likes of outspoken UNHRC chief Zeid Hussein, who minces no words when he condemns rights violations in the developing world have got to say to Trump’s racially determined immigration policy. Trumpism, as it were, has shown signs of being contagious. Silence is said to be the voice of complicity.