A deafening blast; an explosion; the horrific screams; the senseless mutilation of human bodies; the smell of sulphur in the air; the smoke rising above the carnage; people running for their lives; life stripped of its sanctity – the world coming to an unexpected, unannounced end.
Just as the noise dies down, and the carnage nears an end. Just as the screaming stops, and the people begin to emerge. Just as the crowd regains composure, and tries to ascertain the damage, all hell breaks loose. Most of those who had been lucky enough to survive the first attack now lying here and there on the ground, their blood splattered all over the place, every single one of them, lifeless and dead.
Delhi, Islamabad, Rome, Mumbai, Lahore, Washington DC, Jerusalem, London, Ramallah, Karachi, New York. Every city of every country of the world, whether it is a bustling cosmopolitan economic hub, or the capital of the country, or a small town at the foot of a beautiful mountain, has, at one time or another, been the undeserving victim of a terrorist attack. Based on virtually no systematic pattern, without a shred of warning, with no respect for the value and preservation of human life, not discriminating between the potential victims of their heinous act, a suicide bomber or a terrorist causes life to come to a standstill and makes nations weak, not only to outside forces, but to rouge elements within as well.
For some, those who find the diplomatic process a bit too time-consuming and tedious, terrorism has become a norm; a way of life. Though it becomes an answer for some, it results in posing an infinite number of questions to those who have to suffer the horrific consequences. Not only innocent civilians and bystanders, but nations become victims as well, as their economies slowly begin to cripple under the burden of a deteriorating law and order situation.
Despite the world facing a severe economic recession, for the preservation and protection of the most fundamental human right to life, the global community – at the expense of economic growth, the cost of economic well-being and the stake of economic stability; is engaged in an endless war: the infamous global war on terror. A war that has stretched for over seven years, with hundreds of thousands of casualties and virtually no end in sight, despite the lives and the budget it has run.
Yes, terrorism must be fought with and stopped by all means, but violence begets violence, as Mahatma Gandhi so rightly said ‘an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind’. The persisting war on terror has not only continued to fuel retaliation, but has made the world a worse, rather than better place to live in, with nations being twice as far away from achieving the Millennium Development Goals today than they were before the war started. The fundamental purpose in fighting terrorism is to make the world a safer and better place to live in, but with the world continuing to ante up and increase hostilities, a time may come where there would no one left to make the world safer or better. Shouldn’t the global community unite in peace, rather than for war?
Aitzaz Rehman Sheikh