Category: Lessons

The history

So, where does the history of modern terrorism begin? Although it could possibly be disputed, we will call it the late twentieth century. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the militancy for the Islamic nation (in pursuing of political as well as religious goals) perpetrated such acts as the bombing of the World Trade Center.  There was also the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building and on the Tokyo subway that the gas attack of Sarin was on. The same time period also saw a rise in what is known as “single issue terrorism”. In other words, if the extension of domestic politics is terrorism, it is in the same way the war is for diplomacy, then it was the age of Environmental activism becoming Environmental terrorism, and the Right-to-Life movement becoming Anti-abortion terrorism.

Some other massive events that took place after the September 11 attacks in 2001 included the Moscow theatre hostage crisis in Moscow by Chechens who claimed allegiance to an Islamist separatist movement. Their goal was to get the Russians to withdraw from Chechnya. After a couple of days, the Russians pumped gas into the building and ended up killing more hostages than attackers. Things that make you go “huh”. A little heavy handed? Anyway, some of us remember that incident.

While Islamic forces, people for Beirut, ISIS and related middle eastern groups are definitely the major players in modern terrorism, we cannot blame them alone. We can’t even say they were first, if we go farther back in history (but that’s another story). Acts of terrorism take place all over the world, at any venue, at any time. They mostly target civilians, and women and children are not safe. The atrocities are unspeakable. Yet, these terrorists are a small subset of the religions they claim to represent. If we let them scare us, if we let them dictate the way we live our lives, then they win.

Treat Thy Neighbor With…? Respect?

On May 2, 2011, Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by US Special forces in an early morning raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Yet, his organization (along with affiliate ISIS) lives on, terrorizing the world we live in. It’s not only the Western world being terrorized, in 2014 ISIS invaded areas of Iraq and Syria, demanding allegiance of all Muslims worldwide on pain of death. And, they mean that literally.

So, what does this mean for us? And, who are we? I guess if you’re a Muslim, and living in the Western world wearing traditional dress, it means that the prejudiced lot stare at you, ostracize you, treat you as though you’re a terrorist even though you aren’t one. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a woman whose husband is arrested and his business shut down, all his inventory confiscated, your family’s livelihood gone, because someone reported “suspicious activity” to the police? Hmmmm…. Where do I stand on that?

On the one side, do I want all suspicious activity investigated? Oh, hell yeah. On the other hand, do I want some subset of our population targeted just because they look different? No way…. If we do that, then bin Laden wins. No way do I want him to even get ahead, let alone win.

And if this woman packs up her family out of sheer disgust and moves back to the middle east, can you imagine what she would say to her children, her neighbors, her family about us? I don’t want that kind of reputation. I don’t want us shooting ourselves in the foot. I don’t want us furthering the Al Qaeda agenda, do you?

So, I’m thinking maybe we should go back to that old adage, love thy neighbor as thyself. Maybe try to get to know some of these people who look a little different. Maybe do a little neighborly gesture instead of treating them like lepers. Who knows, it might work. It might not. It’s worth a shot though, right?