Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ter-ror-ism [ter-uh-riz-uhm]

If you look it up in the dictionary, this is what it says about terrorism:


1. the use of violence and threat to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.

2. The state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.

3. A terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

The government and the media can refer to the bombings of the churches and the most recent attack on the Sikh temple in Sentul as arson, stone-throwing, or whatever other euphemism but there is no getting around the obvious.

These are acts of terrorism.

And we are dancing around, tip-toeing, walking on word egg-shells, so to speak, because we don’t want to confront the obvious: the government’s ploy of repeatedly politicizing religion has brought us to the point where terror is now being deployed by certain parties to achieve their political ends.

Terror, as defined by the dictionary above, refers to “the use of violence and threat to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.” Which part of this definition and description do the media not understand?

Terrorism has become part and parcel of how political intimidation now occurs in the country. There was a time when politicians made tacit threats and warned minorities in their speeches. We regressed, for example, to mobs on the streets, which would intimidate others from hosting perfectly legitimate and legal forums to discuss human rights issues. These mobs would be protected by the police and allowed to force the legal forums from being conducted.

In other words, those using intimidation were allowed to prevail.

We’ve also seen other acts and display of implicit – if not explicit – intimidation against religious minorities under other circumstances either on the part of politicians or civilians, which essentially went uncontained and unpunished. I don’t know what you call those kinds of events but when I look at the above definition, there is no doubt in my mind what those acts constitute.

So in 2010, we find that certain religious minorities are again being targeted. Their places of worship are attacked and it is clear that these acts are not random juvenile prank or acts of arson (which implies no political agenda). That much we can reasonably agree upon, right?

As a matter of fact, the timing of the incidents would clearly lead one to reason that what these acts have in common is their attempt to use violence to intimidate for a political reason.

Don’t count on the media to call it what it is. Don’t count on the politicians either.

But terrorism has come to our streets and our neighbourhoods.

I know for myself exactly where the blame lies for this state of our affairs.

Certain politicians have been good at fanning the flames. Now they reap what they sow.

Ter-ror-ism [ter-uh-riz-uhm].

G. Krishnan