There is something very horrific about the image of several armed men in an enclosed space shooting at people who are not even their enemy by conventional descriptions. What happened at Paris has shocked everyone to the core and the world will take some time to recover from the nightmare.  The fear is that, before people do so, another attack may happen and more innocent lives may be lost.

The first lesson we don’t always recognise is that all non-combatants are innocent. Because global media is in the hands of the Western world, the focus is always when the terrorists attack and the rest who fall everyday at the hands of the West are rarely noticed. Nor does it explain why it happens.

This is only natural as the Western powers are at war and their focus is on their own side, but as it happened during Bush’s Iraq war, those who died on the ground were forgotten and only the scourge of Saddam Hossain was reported.

In this, the media was a partner as they decided to conduct biased war reporting at the request of the US powers. That is why, it’s always important to remember that there are victims on all sides no matter even if they are not shown on TV.

Terrorism is a form of war by one group which is not resourced or organised enough to fight a conventional army. The image of the terrorist we have today is that of a ragtag band of people regularly beheading people.

However, as history has shown, terrorism is not an action but a reaction. In the Middle East, it began in the days of WWII when Israel was created. Terrorism was not a big force then, but with time it has grown bigger.

The 1967 Israeli –Arab war led to great resentment against the West and the Palestinian-led terrorism began. It is the weapon of the less resourced side that uses fear and anxiety through random actions as weapons. So terrorism rarely if ever occurs where democratic decision making exists and the Middle East is no exception.

The third lesson we will not learn is that politics produces its own reason and justification. To blame a particular type or variation of religion or Islam or any other faith will be wrong for exactly that reason.

During British rule, all those who resisted violently were called terrorists, and innocents were killed on both sides. The legendary Khudiram Bose tried to kill a judge but ended up killing an English family consisting of women and children.

Thus he was demonised but the British never explained that the violence they perpetrated on India led to this extreme situation.

The Anushilan and Jugantor parties were motivated by the slogan of patriotism, however violent they may have been, so it’s not the idea source that is the issue but what triggers the reaction.

In the Middle East, Islam is the source of social and political mobilisation as it’s part of their external and internal culture. So whether Shia-Iran, Beirut, Lebanon, or Sunnis – IS, al-Qaeda et cetera – the chances of secular terrorism is going to be low.

Every state there including Israel is faith-based. Nor are these positions interested in engaging with Western ideas or concepts because to them, the secular, democratic West appears as a very unfair and cruel force.

The history of that violence began in an era when the West didn’t have to explain their behaviour to the world. That world has changed but the problems that were created by that attitude have not. Unreason once sown in the soil continues to breed bitter fruits often for a century.

The fourth lesson is that terrorism is a description and not a name of an enemy.  Once, al-Qaeda was thought to be the main enemy and both were synonymous, but today that has paled in comparison to ISIS. So if the problem doesn’t go away, neither will terrorism in any shape or form.  So the unlearnt lesson from Paris is to tackle the issues that breed terrorism and not the phenomenon only.

The final lesson is that not all the options are open to all anymore. The ISIS members are ready to kill the innocent and die, and for them, the enemy is the West and not a particular power or people or group.

For the conventional army of the West, apart from bombing, the only other military option is to go for a ground war. That, security experts warn, is exactly what ISIS wants. It will pin down a large army, commit them to more war and thus radicalise thousands more. And that may lead to the next wave of terrorism.

Such wars can’t be won as experts are saying. Some are even saying only Muslims can tackle ISIS which means ME forces, but given what they have experienced in the past, the chances of that happening is very slim.

They may also ask for a reward which in all probability is the rearrangement of Israel which the West can’t agree to. Which is why the chance of Paris being the last violent act is rather remote.

13 Responses to “The lessons from Paris we will not learn”

  1. alamgir kabir

    all shocked events are being caused for western aggesive state policy

  2. desi reader

    just to correct the author – democracy is not ‘western’ since it was born in india. and secularism existed in eastern states organically due to the dharmic religins being less rigid and more fluid, and because of a lack of centralised church or mosque based authority like in abrahamic religions – thus the need for secularism arose in the west because of a their own deficiencies and problems.

    • Sumit Mazumdar

      That is too ethnocentric. There existed other non Abrahamic religions, and there had occurred before “election” of King Gopal in Bengal. Why would you ignore Greek and Roman democracies? Many of the small African communities had democratic practices.

  3. Khalid

    There are so many terrorist groups who use Islam as their agenda like Al-Qaeda, Al Nusra, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Laskare Taiba, Bangla Bhai, Ansarullah Bangla team, Jemaah Islamiya many others. What is their agenda? Who are their enemies? Obviously attack of Iraq was a genuine reason for their grievance. But there were Muslim countries too who directly and indirectly supported the invasion.
    The highly respected columnists who are feeding us with their intelligent thoughts may throw some light after reading Quran and Hadith, where the guidelines are clearly revealed by Allah and explained by Prophet. Is it the duty of every Muslim to establish Sharia Law? Is it the duty of every Muslim to suppress or defeat all opponents of Islam? Is it allowed to distribute assets, wives and children of defeated enemies among victorious Muslim soldiers? Is it the duty of all Muslims to destroy all idols, statues of livings beings? If we read history, we will find defeated army was asked to convert to Islam or face beheading. ISIS is following every step. “To kill an innocent being is to kill all humanity” has been contradicted in other areas of scriptures when it comes to infidel and enemies of Islam. What are we watching now is a revolution to establish 7th century Islam. The Muslim countries in the region, which created and financed these monsters, are afraid to send their soldiers, who will be no match. Unfortunately, Bangladesh cannot escape. The powerful Prime Minister Hasina who once warned “ একটা লাস ফালাই দিলে, দশটা লাস ফালাই দিবা” has gone under the bed and requesting the people not to offend the hackers.

  4. Sukhamaya Bain

    Another piece of nonsense! And it is not surprising that Taj Hashmi fully agreed with this piece. Blaming the West for the acts of crime and injustice by barbarian people is a fashion in many parts of the world. The problem with that is that facts need to be hidden. One such fact in this case is what ISIS has done to the tiny and weak population called Yazidis; summary executions, eviction from homes and enslavement of women and girls. ISIS is clear that they did these for Islam, (not for anything like fighting the West). The broader fact is that ISIS wants to create an Islamic Caliphate. So, it is not the West, stupid! It is Islamic brainwash. That brainwash has made most of the Muslim-dominated lands of the world turbulent; and that will continue until Muslims embrace rational and secular thoughts.

  5. Akteruzzaman Chowdhury

    ISIS, Alqaeda, Bokoharam and other terrorists are like mosquitoes and chharpoka. They can go and bite all around the world. Israel is so small that you could say that it is the crotch of the world. All those bahadur terrorists cannot bite (or pick a hair from) the crotch because it is effectively covered and defended. That is my take of the situation.

  6. Concerns

    It is most disturbing & unacceptable to see so many innocent life gets killed by some misguided fanatics who has no sympathy for the victims & have very little knowledge about their own religion. What is more disturbing is that when the very people we are trusting to stop such atrocities are also misguided by their own intelligence agencies. Except maybe Russia, who we think is in the right path, stop the terrorists first deal with Syrian Bashar problems later. Since U.S. was trying and failing again and again to stop the culprits,it is time to take a on a new strategy with the help from Russia, who’s interest in the Arab world is far less than the other players, who is planning to cut it like a cake and take their pieces, by that time the cake will be stale and will taste like poison. In the mean time all of us, peace loving Muslims are getting cornered day by day! To solve any problem first you need to admit your own faults and then, only then can you take an honest approach to rectify your own mistakes, but if you’re in denial and think the entire world is stupid enough to accept all your BS explanations ,when plainly you’re as much guilty as the perpetrators, then we loose all hope. Having Russia/ Iran as an ally will definitely help, but now the poison has spilled all over Europe, we are horrified, if this can happen in a city like Paris, then the west have no other option to include all allied forces and also include other Muslim countries who are against such inhuman acts to fight with one common enemy, that is terrorism!

  7. Taj Hashmi

    Very well argued piece indeed! There is nothing to disagree with Ananda Das’s appraisal of terrorism by Muslims, and Western/Israeli reaction. Terrorism is the weapons of the weak, and most terrorists lose their battles and war, at the end of the day. IRA, PLO, LTTE, al Qaeda, FARC, ETA etc. are glaring examples in this regard. ISIS is slightly different from the classical terrorists groups. While most terrorists are non-state actors, ISIS is virtually a state-actor. Nevertheless, the Islamic State is a state, albeit an illegitimate state. ISIS will go the IRA or LTTE way.

    • Najma Yasmeen

      When it comes to Islam & Muslims, you act like you are the only source material. Intelligent people can see what is happening and can make up their own mind. For a Muslim crusader, you don’t see that there was zero sympathy when the day before the Paris attack, 40 got killed in Lebanon by ISIS for no reason? You and your kind of pseudo-intellectuals give me the creeps. Let the West deal with IS now because there are pressing issues that people need to be writing about. Like how hanging the 21 year old girl for killing her parents will not solve the drug problem that is destroying the young urban kids. J’taime le Paris slogan is making me not want to look at media anymore. White life matters more and it is a sickening feeling. Each life is precious.

  8. InterestedInHistoricalFacts

    Dear Author, you are giving legitimacy to the barbarians by writing an article that effectively supports terrorism. No civilised people should condone this act of violence perpetrated by IS. The barbarians and their sympathisers anywhere in the world, whether they are individuals, groups or countries sponsoring them, must not be tolerated and the civilised people in the world must unite to crush them.

  9. Silent Onlooker

    Some points for every reader’s kind consideration..

    1. Khudiram and the other Indian revolutionists acted within their own motherland and did not sail to Great Britain or other British territories to kill innocent British people. So, modern definition of ‘Terrorism’ never fits them. So is the point of comparing their actions with today’s terrorism.

    2. Did terrorism actually begin in the Middle East when Israel was created or long before? There were (and still are) a lot of tribes in the ME who would often get into clashes with each other for one or the other reason. Such incidents did not make into headlines or mainstream history lessons.

    3. How did the author come to the conclusion that only the West is ISIS’ enemy and not the other nations of the world? Isn’t ISIS trying to start their activities in India, Bangladesh and the ME countries? Is the author biased towards Anti-Western agenda?

  10. Sumit Mazumdar

    Das argues quite credibly that western media ignores the plight of the victims of western violence elsewhere in the world, particularly in the middle east. This is absolutely true. However Das is guilty of the same, viz., ignoring the plight of those Muslims/middle easterners killed by their neighbors. A few days before the Paris violence, twin suicide bombings of Shia processions in Beirut killed more than 40 people. A few days before that in Kabul terrorists beheaded seven ethnic Hazaras, who are Shias. Before that there were the Peshawar killings of school children. Before that …., you get the picture. It is not true that ISIS’ main enemy is the west! Mass graves of Yazidis are being found as Kurds have moved into areas once held by them. What were the Yazidis guilty of?

    Thus the analogy to the armed movements by Jugantar or Anushilani groups is a false one. If there is an analogy at all to other armed nihilistic movements, it is with the Naxalites from the 60s-70s in West Bengal, who indulged in killings of other young people simply because the latter belonged to the CPIM, Congress etc (not that the others did not return the favor!) Or to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge’s murder of 2 million of their own citizens who were considered to be “upper class”. There are two wars going on the middle east, and one of them is an internecine one between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with each jostling for greater influence. ISIS punished France for its bombing of ISIS strongholds, but their immediate enemies are the Shias of Iraq and Syria. Massive change in the thought process is required urgently, west or no west.

  11. Asis Das

    It looks like bdnews24 columnists have taken an stance to nuance the barbaric acts of terrorism these days. Mr. Afsan Chowdhury last weak lectured us on our non-right to offend other’s faith subtly approving the machette-weilfind killers of seculatist in Bangladesh and elsewhere. Today Mr. Das is lecturing on lessons to be learnt from barbaric killing of 130 innocent people. Have you gone completely out of your civility? How do you even dare to come up with this piece when the world is dumfounded with grief?
    So what according to you are the issues to be solved that breed terrorism? Letting al-qaeda rulling Afghanistan they way they were doing, helping establishing a caliphate by IS in Iraq and Syria, destroying millions of years of human heritage, closing all school, colleges and universities, hiding all girls and women under veils and restricting them in the kitchen???
    Think twice before advocating some that has far reaching consequences and feel ashamed not to feel solidarity with the ones who lost their lives on Friday but issuing this article.
    You said it already – the thing is the difference in value and moral. The west cannot go all out war against IS fearing widespread civilian casualties but for the ones you wish issues should be considered gives a damn about civilian.

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