Woolwich and Terror: We Must Resist Having Our Enemies Constructed For Us

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An astonishing, unprovoked knife attack has taken place on the streets of Britain.  Woolwich? No, Birmingham.  Just weeks ago, 75 year old Mohammed Saleem was butchered with a machete just yards from his front door as he returned home from mosque – in what police believe was a racially motivated murder.  The fact that this story likely comes as news to you, epitomises our misplaced ‘islamaphobia’ and our unbalanced view of terror. We must resist having our enemies constructed for us.

Constructing our Enemies

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Before and since September 11th 2001, there has been a conception of ‘Islamic Terror’.  The choice to define terror as somehow fundamentally Islamic in nature is a gross mischaracterisation, fuelling a view that Muslims have some predisposition to ‘radicalisation’.

There are people using violence as a tool to further their religious, political or other ends all over the world; of all colours and races, of all faiths and no faith.  However, today’s media narrative for terror and terrorism is Islamic Terror.   This means that only this type of purposeful violence is deemed ‘Terrorism’, while other acts are relegated to murder, politically motivated, or simply insane.

Did you notice how all terrorists used to be Irish? And suddenly, they are all Muslims?  Well, they’re not.  But if the media agenda is Irish Terror, or Muslim Terror, then is can start to look that way.

The case I am making is not some tit for tat squabble about the balance of terror – as in, no YOU’RE a terrorist!  Instead, I am seeking to highlight a serious issue: the ways in which (particularly) UK and US citizens are having their minds shaped about relative terror.

The Balance of Terror

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What happened to a human being in Woolwich yesterday was barbaric, mind numbing tragedy.  One can only imagine the fear, confusion and agony of dying in such a way.  Passers-by, family and friends will likely be traumatised for days, weeks, months and years.  This is what happens when someone is taken from the world in a senseless, bloody way.  Reactions trend toward shock, anger and a thirst for justice – for the scales to be set right once more, so we can sleep at night, safe in the knowledge that balance has been restored.

Now, if we can understand that in Woolwich – why can’t we understand it in Iraq, Afghanistan Pakistan, and…Birmingham?

In recent years, UK governments have aided US governments both politically and logistically to kidnap, torture and murder people across the globe – without any judicial process.  That’s not an opinion, that’s a fact.

British citizens were kidnapped from foreign soil, held in Guantanamo Bay for years without trial, tortured and finally released without charge.  The UK parliament recently approved the establishment of Secret Courts to avoid exposure to the public at large of further complicity in rendition and torture. 

In 2011, Daniel Crook, a Grenadier Guardsman serving in Afghanistan drank a bottle of vodka.  A 10 year old Afghan child, en route to pick up some yoghurt for his mother, came across the British solider and asked him for some chocolate.  Crook responded by stabbing the 10 year old with his bayonet, puncturing a kidney.  The boy’s father, Haji Shah Zada, 72, told the Guardian newspaper that he could not understand why his son was attacked and had received no apology from the British forces.

These cases are just snapshots among a vast array of incidents across the globe which confirm that the true balance of terror in the world is far more nuanced than the 6 o’clock news might suggest.

Exporting Death and Destruction

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London Mayor Boris Johnson has said the murder in Woolwich had nothing to do with British foreign policy – as if it foreign policy was some fanciful, far removed and abstract thing.  One does not have to condone such atrocities as the Woolwich murder in order to appreciate that they may well be impacted by foreign policy decisions in a very real way.  The un-tempered rage that can result from egregious injustice can and does drive people to extremes.

The US has engaged in extra judicial killings on an industrial scale.   So long as UK foreign policy is indistinguishable from that of the US, we will continue to reap the whirlwind for it.  The might of the US/UK militaries make them almost immune to conventional warfare, which means civilian locations become the arena for perceived ‘payback’.

For instance, the US deploys unmanned, weaponised drone aircraft into the airspace of sovereign countries and assassinates citizens from the sky. A pro-drone Republican Senator in the US stated recently that at least 4,700 people had been killed by these attacks in recent years – equivalent to almost one hundred 7/7’s.

Worse, a recent study by the Stanford and New York University Law Schools revealed that there have been 49 civilian deaths for every ‘known terrorist’ killed by drone attacks in Pakistan – that means just 2% of more than 3,000 Pakistani people killed by drone attacks have any evidence or suspicion against them.  But the drone has become the US’s weapon of choice .  In June 2011, the US launched a drone attack a day on Yemen.

That’s all pretty terrifying.  Yet, a recent Gallup poll revealed that whilst the majority of US citizens opposed drones in US skies, even if aiming for suspected terrorists, 65% approved the use of drones on foreign soil.

Regular people like you and me, living in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere are terrified to attend family weddings, funerals and other community events in case the US military strike:

  • Up to 92 civilians, mostly children, were killed in the Azizabad airstrike – where large parts of a village were destroyed in efforts to kill one Taliban commander.
  • 47 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in the Deh Balla wedding party airstrike in July 2008.
  • 37 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in the Wech Bagtu wedding party airstrike in November 2008
  • Up to 147 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in the Granai airstrike in May 2009

This is what that looks like from the air….

The Quest for Justice

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For those families outlined above, there has been no justice.  Those that killed them have not been brought to justice and the methods used to kill them are still in operation on a daily basis.  The most recent drone attack occurred in Yemen just days ago, killing at least four and as many as seven civilians.

If we can understand, and (judging from social media streams) identify with people who feel outrage at the unprovoked death of one man on a London street – then how on earth can we not understand the outrage at these deaths on the streets of Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan?  It is utter hypocrisy that one person’s genuine anger at constant, unpunished murder is deemed radical, and that another person’s upset at rare, unlawful, punished murder is deemed rational.  Their feelings of outrage stem from the same quest for justice – a hunger for the world to be righted when wronged. This is common humanity.

Those who cannot see a parallel in terror between 7/7 and these drone attacks on civilians have a skewed view of justice.  They weigh the value of life in an imbalanced way – some lives are more worthy, more real than others.  This is the dangerous thinking that we should all be focussed on stamping out.  The misguided premise that some people are less equal, less worthy than others has been the root cause of most of history’s blackest pages, from slavery to the holocaust.  It is this that needs to be dealt with – not any individual religion, race, or political ideology.

Bringing the Peace

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Dr Martin Luther King Jr spoke beautiful words on the need to retain our love for all people if our commitment is to make the world a better place: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”.

Sadly, the majority of people in the UK today are failing to hold their government to account for its brutal treatment of their own fellow citizens, let alone of those in faraway lands who they will ever meet.  The price of this, is that we leave others to advocate on their behalf.  Some of those people will use courts, some of them will use meat cleavers.  If we want to see less hatred, death and destruction, then we must each be more loving, respectful of human life and involved in building communities that thrive.

There is a petulant, jingoistic, easy patriotism doing the rounds today.  This is embodied by EDL thugs smashing up mosques, and people changing their Facebook profile pictures to Union Flags.  Then there is another sort of ‘patriotism’ that asks more of a person; community spirit.  It motivates people to reach out to their fellow citizens; to ensure the streets are safe and tensions are calmed; it holds one’s tongue before making knee jerk comments defaming entire communities for the actions of individuals. Community spirit begs us to ask the question ‘How can I help?’

In conclusion, some affirmations that we should each keep in our minds in the coming days, months, weeks and years:

We cannot have peace at home while we export death and destruction across the globe.  This is not the threat of some murderous lunatic, it is a social law as valid as the physical law of gravity.

We must not allow enemies to be constructed for us – or value their lives less equally.

We must not allow the misrepresentation of the balance of terror in the world to deter us seeking equal justice.

We must not abandon the quest for justice to those with hate in their hearts.

390 thoughts on “Woolwich and Terror: We Must Resist Having Our Enemies Constructed For Us

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  5. The Woolwich killing unusual for Britain but a every day occurence where British so called interests exist, when you put a pretty face dressed in a uniform that would flatter the most unendowed, the identification of our home grown boys as to those who do not look like us nor have what we conceive as our culture.
    This is a time to remember we all live on this planet and are all having a right to exist as much as any other, we must be wary of supremism and class indoctrination, which seems to have a wide following.

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  9. Response to this article is simple…. There are many people in this country that are ignorant to the fact of retaliation to what the military in this country cover up. The whole country was exposed to what the army personnel served up in Iraq by torturing foreign nationals that serve their country… Yes I said ‘serve’ their country and degrading them by urinating on them as we’ll as other derogatory acts that I don’t wish to mention. What happened to these to military personnel? Stories emerged of British military personnel killing thousands of innocent people for no reason whatsoever. The media were threatened by the government not to publish any of this news. The hanging of Saddam Hussain ‘accidentally’ being leaked. This country is as barbaric as them two men that mutated the poor Drumner Rigby. BUT what really infuriates me is that a 79 year old ‘Muslim’ man was attacked with machetes and killed mercilessly but this was not important enough of getting the coverage that Rigby did. And this wasn’t classed as terrorism but ‘racism’? Am I missing a point here? I love this country as I was born here and I love the people of this country as they are friendly and compassionate. But this ends when it comes to the Government and politics. I blame the government and the media for creating the term ‘islamaphobia’.

    • @ Proud British Muslim: I apologise as I have posted this before but after reading your comment I wanted to repost again directly to you Proud British Muslim…I extend it with love and peace to all your family and hope you understand what I try to convey. x

      I can not bring myself to post this on my FB page as it’s too personal and may upset and bring back awful memories for my family and friends so I post it here in the hope that it may make some people stop and think a bit more deeply about what’s going on…especially the people who have not been directly affected by Terrorism of any kind.

      My Personal Experience of Terrorism

      I want to apologise to any of my family who may be upset and angry about me writing something so personal about a family tragedy that to this day still affects us on many levels. I truly hope you understand why I do this. This is the most difficult post I have ever had to write since joining FB. May I ask you give me the respect of reading all the way to the end please x

      To any friends who are offended by anything I’m about to say…..well…maybe you should remove yourself from my friends list. If you do, I still wish you love and all the best. X

      20 years ago my family were hit by the most traumatic event we had ever faced. My young brother , he was 26, was murdered whilst on active duty in Northern Ireland. He was murdered by the IRA. He left his wife and 18 month old daughter with us.

      Up until that point in my life I thought I’d felt pain and heartache…..I had no idea. The pain I felt instantly turned me into a person who could for the first time in her life, truly say she felt hate…pure unadulterated searing hate. I even remember my Mum say to me “I always told you all to never hate anyone, you may DISLIKE but never HATE…..I just feel HATE”….

      We’re the kind of family, a family huge in numbers, who were taught to deal with EVERYTHING with dignity and strength. Therefore we all pulled together, and I mean ALL, friends and family….and we got through bringing him home and saying goodbye.

      We did this with our heads held high, because once again when our heads dropped…especially on the day of his funeral, my Mum told us “Get your heads up, we will not give them (IRA) the satisfaction of seeing us cow-towed or getting anymore satisfaction from the pain they’ve caused.”

      And we did it….if she, his Mother could do it what right did we have not to??? So I’d like to suggest that everyone screaming for revenge should show Lee’s Mum the respect of deciding how people should behave by following her and her families lead.

      However, as the months passed I got increasingly angrier and angrier, the pain just grew and grew. I began to notice that if I heard an Irish accent I’d clench my teeth, my body would tense and the hairs on the back of my neck would stand up, the rage would begin to pump through me to the point I would start shaking some times and would have to leave wherever I was as quickly as I could. I’d be thinking…”Was it you….or do you know who did it…..”

      Then one night whilst lying in a bath I really became aware of what I was thinking……I was lying in the bath, planning how I could find out who did this, this “being” who had inflicted this pain on my family and who ripped from me one of the most precious people in my life. To the point I was visualising getting a gun and putting it to this persons head……the image shocked me so much I remember my eyes flying open and me sitting bolt upright in the bath and sitting there shaking.

      I was stunned that me…someone like me….those of you who knew me before we lost him can vouch for the type of person I was and hopefully am again…who would never dream of hurting another human being (unless in self defence or to protect my family) had actually went through that thought process. Of course my own children also came into my head,

      I was now thinking in a way that could have the most devastating effect on my kids, therefore, again the terrorist wins and my children would be without their Mum and my Mum would be without her daughter. How ridiculous would that be????

      I have never discussed this with anyone before now.

      At that moment I realised, I’d become the same as “THEM” the people who had murdered my brother. I felt ashamed…totally ashamed…..and my brother would have been ashamed of me too…I was turning into the very type of human being he was trying to defend people from.

      This was also the moment I decided that in fact, I could not let them win again…they would not in essence destroy the person I was as well as taking my brother’s life.

      I decided that I would make a real effort to speak to people from Ireland…ridiculous eh?

      I realised that I had to stop how I was thinking, I needed to connect with the reality of people from Ireland, be that North or South, no matter what religion. I have to say that at this time I was angry with both sides of the Troubles….you have to have 2 sides to have a conflict. I had to stop this and turn it round…ME! No-one else could.

      Our family already included many Irish people and we had Irish friends. However, this resulted in me meeting two wonderful Northern Irish ladies who have been there for me and I hope I’ve been there for them. We keep in touch on FB and I love seeing the family posts and watching Joanne’s daughter grow up into a beautiful young lady, hopefully in more peaceful & safer surroundings than her mum did. I thank you both for doing that, it in some way adds some salve to wounds still very raw, it gives me hope that my brother didn’t die in vain. The only true memorial to all who lost their lives. I can only hope.

      What I’m about to say next is not meant in any way to diminish the horrific and appalling death of Drummer Lee Rigby, and the respects I feel his family should be extended.

      I have to ask this, yes, people were upset and angry when my brother was murdered, but I don’t recall a huge majority of people screaming racial hatred at the Irish or demanding we had marches to show our outrage at the Terrorism being inflicted on our own people. Does this mean my brother’s life was in some way less valuable?

      Obviously I am relieved that this is not the way people behaved but I think it’s a fair question for me to ask. And if it was less valuable…..WHY????

      At this point I’d like to say to people having a go about how soldiers aren’t heroes and if they didn’t sign up then there would be no war:

      My brother passionately believed in what he was doing. He joined the Army truly believing he was going to be protecting people. His intentions were honourable, as I believe are the VAST majority of soldiers. Do we get “bad” soldiers, ones who join up for the wrong reasons, of course we do…but that’s true of every other occupation. Your normal “Squaddie” truly believes and are prepared to lay their lives on the line for people they feel need protecting…that in my eyes makes them heroes.

      I will say that I disagree with our armed forces being in Afghanistan etc….but that does not diminish the admiration and respect I have for these men and women who patrol the streets truly believing they are there to protect people. Is this what we have become ….a species who sneer at others who realise they are putting themselves at great risk in order to protect more vulnerable people? As much as I can understand your anger…..I feel you’re directing it at the wrong people.

      Also, the people demanding a March against Islamic Extremists and to “Take back Britain”…..do you realise that these acts also put our serving army members at risk. Marches like these only incite more hatred, anger and, water any seeds sown by other factions…so you are in fact creating and feeding a situation that is already very precarious for the men and women you purport to be supporting and defending.

      Please stop and think about what situation you may create and who will have to deal with it, yet again putting themselves at risk………please, please stop and think.

      I would like to at this point give my opinion of the Muslim Community, which I feel I have the right to do as I worked within this community for quite a few years. The families I worked with, quite a significant number, treated me with the utmost respect. They welcomed me into their homes and showed great appreciation for any support I gave them.

      They celebrated Christmas and Easter with me and were just as delighted as any other Mum when their kids got a part in the nativity play. They appreciated the opportunity of learning more about me, my culture and my family. The community included me in all their own celebrations. I was shown nothing but care and love from this community and learned many things. I still count many as my friends.

      I also witnessed some attacks both physically and verbally that these ladies had to endure after 7/7. It didn’t matter that they were as horrified and as terrified of what happened as everyone else was. I also had someone spit in my face and call me a “Paki loving bastard” at one point…..My answer? “Better a Paki loving bastard, than an ignorant, disgusting excuse for a human being”….he got a bit of a shock at the retaliation and scuppered away…you see he was used to picking on the most weak and the most vulnerable. I do wonder however, upon reflection, where his hatred had stemmed from. A personal experience, or spoon fed the shameless propaganda from all sections of the media, both main stream and Social media that serves the most horrendous agenda…..

      So I hope everyone reading this understands how disgusted and angry I am at the MSM and the Government’s handling of this heartbreaking and appalling incident and why I feel sick to the pit of my stomach when I see the Racist and inflammatory comments directed at a Community who have as much control of individual behaviours within their community as I have of mine.

      When you start behaving as your enemy does…your enemy has won.

      My wee brother would not want me to keep silent this time, he just wouldn’t…it’s not what he died for.

      Drummer Lee Rigby, may you Rest In Peace young man, and be assured you are in good company and by all accounts so is my brother tonight.
      Much Love x x

    • Can you provide a link to these stories “of British military personnel killing thousands of innocent people for no reason whatsoever” and can it be proven to be true as in backed up with witness testimony? Thanks.

  10. I agree – my personal opinion as that the whole world is equally savage, oppressive, corrupt etc and will justify its murdering in any way it can. The UK and USA are seriously fanatical dictatorships that the average citizen wouldn’t dare to admit as it would impose on his/her precious belief system. We love to hate, we love to kill, we love to get angry. Finally our enemies will show us what it is like to have trained killers (soldiers) mindlessly murder innocent foreigners and call it simply ‘collateral damage’. The UK and USA are the greediest countries on the planet and love to label anyone who questions our outdated monetary system and evil policies. We are determined to control the planet and make everyone become like us, feeding the elite with more and more money. We have invaded countless countries, killed more people than any other country, we ignore the REAL killers like cancer, poverty and our own cases of homicide, all of which kill many many more people than some fabricated ‘terrorist’ organisation would. Profit is EVERYTHING to the west. Oil, killing, murder, greed, corruption etc is part of the western ideology and as long as we go on policing the world and trying to force other cultures to be like us, the more they will naturally attack us. If we were so right, why do our own citizens have mass riots here? Until every religion is quashed, and the monetary system is quashed, and all cultures forget their precious historic pasts (which is only ever about the victory of mass killing and invasions) we will always have these babyish wars, where grown men squabble about who is best and who deserves all the oil, and who’s right and who is wrong. Britain has invaded many countries, beheaded many people, and all in the name of profit. Our soldiers are unfortunate victims of a system that exploits their lives in the name of profit. Our soldiers are no more than trained killers, just like the ‘terrorists’ around the world. Killing is killing. Murder is murder. No one attacks this country for no reason. Its time we woke up and stopped justifying our appalling behaviour, and that includes America. We are parasites that will ultimately ruin this planet unless some one wipes us out first.

    • So what does exactly constitute Racism? Calling the French ‘Garlic Munching Surrender Monkeys’ seems to be O.K. as is the classic ‘Italian Tanks have two gears. Stop and Reverse.’ Hilarious. Here’s another one. Japanese fella went on the train to Hiroshima. They dropped the Bomb. He survived. Went to Nagasaki on the train. Survived that one. He Cancelled his trip to Tokyo. We laugh, because yes it’s funny. And it’s funny because we truly believe we fought them because they were in the wrong. But, if I said, ‘The Nigerians were the biggest wankers going because they poked fun at the Ethiopians for their lack of food in 1984.” bet your bottom dollar that somebody, who didn’t read it properly, would accuse me of being racist. Er, no, I’m sticking up for the people who are being oppressed! People don’t understand that, though. They think your having a go at their race. No, like the French and Italians, I’m having a go at their NATIONALITY.

    • Another way of looking at it. We can all understand that we are all only a few ticks of the clock in genetic time from gangs of animals that used to hang around in trees. Since the departure from that environment our brains have probably reached the extent of their growth and hence reasoning capability, thereby still limiting our behaviour to that of pack animals.who are always defending or expanding their territory in reaction to threats true or imagined.Pardon me for the use of a cliche but we all have “a genetic monkey on our back”.

      • Good point -however, there is evidence that says genetics plays a very small part in our behaviour. We used to rape, kill and hunt wild animals. Are you saying we still do all those things? Behaviour comes about from our environmental experiences and belief systems. It wasn’t our genes that made us believe the world was flat and was orbited by the sun – it was the influence of the powerful religious institutions and cultural pressure. We only think we have to act in a certain way because we are from the animal kingdom, but in reality we choose to act differently to different people, depending on what kind of mood we are in. Monkeys can’t think…yet. They can’t question anything. They simply react. We have the power to make choices, but we are are too scared to stand out from the crowd so we act like clones, to fit in. We limit ourselves to being like everyone else, because we fear the responsibility of being individual. Deep down we are much more sophisticated and clever, but we make sure those abilities are suppressed, because everyone else does. We are all in fear, obeying the powers that be, living a life that the powers choose for us. If we dont play by the rules, they throw us in jail or take away our homes. We are conditioned machines, designed to slave our lives away so that the elite can get richer and richer from us. That is the prime purpose for all of us, and that is why we act like animals, not because of any genes. The elite want you to think its your genes, so you play along as a stupid bundle of monkey genes, unable to think, unable to create, unable to stop watching eastenders and getting drunk. We are all the same unfortunately, but it wont last forever, as people are wising up i hope.

  11. The opinion you are trying to articulate here as an objective article while commendable is based on poorly represented fact, and at its heart is flawed as its just your opinion.

    Your focus on the media obsession on Muslim terrorists shows you have a very short memory. In the 50’s it was Communit insurgents in Cambodia Laos and Vietnam. In the 60’s the British were fighting Communist insurgents in Borneo, in the 70’s yes it was the IRA and the rise of Muslim terrorist organisations such as the PLO. You’ve cherry picked your examples, but the fact is terrorism comes from many creeds – most are political wrapped in a religious slogan. That is the terrorist choice not ours.

    For balance, as others have mentioned, you failed to state that the UK and US subjects/citizens were taken prisoner while fighting against UK and US forces in active conflict zones. As with prisoners of war they were interred, questioned and then released. While the torture and cruelty some encountered by a minority of jailers and intelligence officials wrong its nothing new, and has been happening for the last 150 years. Is it wrong yes, but is it new and specific to the recent governments – no.

    I will agree the secret courts are a worrying development, but so too would the loss of US obtained intelligence and support that may help prevent future atrocities against the UK.

    You also fail to mention that Daniel Crook got 18 months in jail for his heinous assault. Too little in my opinion, but that is a result of our judicial system and the liberal “progress” it’s made in recent years. In a civilised society that’s what we do. This non-combat assault was wrong, but how are the terrorists treated while doing the same? Most are praised, the dead made martyrs.

    What about the states supporting terrorism against us? Iran, Syria, Libya etc.. You fail to mention them, and what should be done with them.

    Again I conceded that UK foreign policy has had a part to play in the current climate, The second Gulf war was wrong and many people paid the price for that. However the Afghan was is a valid cause. You also sadly skip over the truth that many gulf states are pushing people to extremes by providing material support and exporting their own brand of extreme religious beliefs as the Saudis have done while rebuilding Bosnia and Kosovo.

    Ultimately you fail to acknowledge that many of the countries and organisations/groups involved are just being used as proxies by larger powers (Iran supporting Al Qaeda aligned factions in Iraq). How are we meant to combat these entities otherwise. What would your solution be?

    Drone strikes are a form of terrorism, but as opposed to being purely targeted at innocent civilians as the 7/7 bombers did drones strikes are used to eliminate hostile combatants. The collateral damage is objectionable, but in simplistic terms if he was not killed today how many more innocents may be killed tomorrow. The US has proven it can surgically strike at terrorists in the case of Bin Laden, but for many reasons it may not be practical to do so. However arguing this is a moot point as you would view it as an extrajudicial killing.

    Perhaps the most opinionated section of your piece is the one relating to patriotism and the EDL. You tar patriots with the same brush you use to tar the EDL – in essence doing what you accuse the media of doing with terrorists. Am I an EDL supporter because I fly the flag at home? No. Am I patriotic about my country, yes. As are many people, rightly so. We should ask what we can do for our country and community. We should hold the government more accountable, I do every time I go to the ballot box – as we do in a civilised society.

    We do need to think before we speak and I’d wish you had done so before writing this opinion piece. In a civilised country as ours why are you so shocked when people vent their feelings at such a barbaric act? It happens every time someone is killed, but because the media do not report it (unjustly so) does not mean it doesn’t happen.

    On your closing points

    1. Ultimately true, but what peace would you have? Our civilised way of life as we have known it for years or communist rule/sharia law/nazi rule. We fight overseas to proactively stop the erosion of our way of life.

    2. We don’t need to they are very real, powerful and focused. The issue here is they value our lives less than theirs.

    3. You are right, but not in the simplistic way you are trying to represent. The balance of terror is stacked against us; not just from Islamic groups/extremists but also from states/countries that use others as proxies.

    • I welcome your well argued response. The original poster fails to differentiate between state forces using imprecise weapons to target elusive people deemed to threaten whole communities vs fanaticised individuals who set out to murder random people on the basis that they somehow represent the state or group (usually religious) that they feel represses them.

      State actions & tactics are a complex mix of responding to threats to the national interests, damage limitation, moral judgement, practicality, etc. This can be corrupted by power complex (British Empire & argueably USA/Russia/Iran today) to bludgeon their will on other societies. Not justifiable on many levels, but seems part of the evolutionary process.

      Individual acts of severe violence are quite different. Unless the victim is somehow related & problematic, the target merely represents some group you don’t like. This seemed to apply to the IRA’s random bombings & now Islamic jihadists.

      I will always defend the individual’s right to protest, but can see absolutely no moral justification for killing someone who you perceive as a bit different in religious, cultural or any other terms.

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  13. It’s not difficult to posit these grievances. They’re pretty fundamental and basically involve storming into other people’s countries uninvited and annexing them. It’s the primary crime of aggression that is outlined in the Geneva Convention and which has been broken by the US and its allies on numerous occasions over the last 50 years. You want a world with less terror? Well you could stop participating in it for a start. Britain and the US’s role post WW2 has basically been to undermine democracies in favour of small, rich elites who run compliant, client states. This has led to directly to greater religious fundamentalism.

  14. The Sheiks in their palaces built of oil and the subjugation of their own people are laughing today.
    The Bankers in their mansions built on debt and the destitution of their own people are happy today.

    As one poor man, kills another poor man, who fought to make the rich men richer, because the other rich men threatened his home and his way of life.

    The poor men rip down the temples of the poor men who have fled persecution to be persecuted. The poor men who came to seek sanctuary have turned the sanctuary into a battleground.

    The rich men trade a bishop for a knight and leave an apple of Eris, a golden delight.

    And the world is how they want it more and more, and the rich get more rich, and the poor get more poor.

    Because bread is expensive, and circuses are cheap, when a hungry dissenter is naturally weak
    A divided people are already conquered and the powers that be, just got what they wanted.

  15. I don’t agree with the gist of this article. This statement:

    ” The choice to define terror as somehow fundamentally Islamic in nature is a gross mischaracterisation, fuelling a view that Muslims have some predisposition to ‘radicalisation’.”

    Is plainly counterfactual to anyone who lived on this planet since 9/11.

    Most terrorists are Muslim, like it or not.

    People attacking innocent Muslims in retaliation are not terrorists, they are hate criminals, just like people who attack gays or blacks. Learn the difference.

    The separation of church and state has not happened yet in the Islamic world. Therefore, political leaders have in the Koran the best weapon to motivate and manipulate credulous militants.

    People should never mistake Islamic religious leaders with the run-of-the-mill suicide bomber. The later are the organs and the former the organ grinders. That’s why I disagree with the late Christopher Hitchens statement about Iran, that war is justified to prevent them from having nukes, because we can’t have “apocalyptic regimes with apocalyptic weapons.”

    The same was said of Saddam, remember? He was about to attack the West with WMD in what would have been the perfect excuse to annihilate Iraq utterly. But it turned out he was not suicidal at all. He surrendered abjectly while having a loaded pistol with him, and lived to the very last minute before hanged. Iran’s leaders are no different, they are smart, politically savvy guys, not at all like the street credulous vest bombers they send to us. Suicide by sneak nuke attack is the last thing on their mind. Learn that difference too.

    And what’s with: “Did you notice how all terrorists used to be Irish? And suddenly, they are all Muslims? ”

    Yeah, I have noticed, because most terrorist are in fact Muslim. Times have changed, did you not noticed? It’s not 1980 anymore. In the Age of Faith, people saw miracles everywhere, in the Age of Technology people see UFOs. And it’s not the media; something actually happened; 9/11 happened and all the brutalities Bush unleashed and Obama continued actually happened and make the people they hurt want to hurt us back. And those people are almost always Muslim. Wake up!

    I am not saying terrorists are causeless. The great injustices done to Palestinians in the last 65 years with the help of the US and the UK, are alone enough to justify all those terrorists acts, form an impartial standpoint. Add Bush’ and Blair’s wars to that and you feel like rooting for the poor guys. But I don’t want to die because of mistakes made by our leaders for political purposes, so I am jolly glad to see terrorists in our midst stopped when we can. It’s a bad situation of our own making, but I am on Obama’s and Cameron’s side, sue me for wanting to live.

    The point of the article is badly done. To the dead there is no difference between manslaughter and murder, but to the justice system of the living there is. Similarly, our politicians misguided as they may have been, are not equal to suicide bombers. The difference is lost to their victims, but to the living world there is a clear difference, and to try to blur it is a mistake.

    The morality of war is hard to gauge until history can fill the scales with what was gained and what was lost. WWI, will always seem an utter waste, the high price of WWII most agree was worth paying. The current West vs. Islam conflict we don’t know yet. So far it seems a mistake to ram democracy down the throat of countries not ready for it, but If a nuke gets loose in Pakistan and we lose a city, views will change. Death and destruction dealt by democracies seems more palatable, world-wide, than when dealt by dictatorships and theocracies, because one stems from the elections of the clueless many and the others from the dictates of the corrupted few.

    • What is the difference between death and destruction dealt by democracies and that dealt by dictatorships and theocracies?. Chiefly that the polititicians of ‘democracies’ reek more of hypocrisy. It took someone with the courage of Mo Mowlam to talk honestly about the troubles in Ireland. Those that might have had the courage to approach mediation over the Middle East, Iraq and Iran are no longer given the chance. To me any government that has to resort to secret courts to justify ANYTHING has already lost the cause of justice. Why do you think so many people are clueless? Could it be that we are guided more by a public relations strategy than by informed debate? If this is democracy I’m not ready for it and hope I never shall be.

      • My objection to the article is that is a poor thinker stunt. It attempts to redefine “terrorist” so that the label will include governments who do evil and so prove the notion that most terrorist are in fact not Muslim. Well, they are.

        “Terrorist” is a well-defined term. It’s not a moral quantity. It’s merely a war tactic. The French Resistance were terrorists, the first American were terrorists.
        To flex the term as the author does is an exercise in semantic obfuscation, and too clever by half. English is rich in terms to describe what Bush/Blair did to Muslims, and what Israel is doing to Palestinians, take your pick, but “terrorism” is not it. Let’s speak and write with propriety and call a spade a spade.

        Israel rains murder and mayhem on Gaza: it’s evil, but it’s not terrorism. Obama obliterates innocent families with drones: it’s evil, but it’s not terrorism. Same as a fetus is not a baby and other semantic liberties people take for political purposes. Shame on them, and even more shame on those who fall for such smart-ass manipulations.

        There are good terrorists, those whose cause we support or approve of, and bad terrorists, the ones who target us or people we like. But they are all terrorists alls the same. The politically correct euphemism “freedom fighter” means “good terrorist.” But since 9/11, it seems there can’t be any good terrorists, since the word itself has become maligned.

  16. Pingback: The Construction of Terror? | haydenwritesthings

  17. Despite the blanket media coverage, terrorism is in fact very low down list of priorities for both America and its allies as they prosecute an endless war on terror that has in fact served only to massively increase terror (about sevenfold in Iraq according to estimates). Terrorism is simply not a high priority when compared to the actual goal, which is imperial control of the region. Indeed, terrorism is an entirely predictable consequence of the last decade of war, however our governments simply don’t care, although obviously they have to make concerned noises while using the terrorist threat to strip citizens of their civil rights. It’s a wonder that events like those that happened in Woolwich don’t happen more often. There’s one surefire way of addressing terrorism – take the grievances of these people seriously. Ramping up the violence just leads to a spiralling cycle of repression (state terrorism) and terrorism. Northern Ireland is perhaps instructive here. Obviously it’s not a utopia, however things are very different there now than they were in the ’70s and ’80s, and there are reasons for that…

    • “… take the grievances of these people seriously…”

      Which grievances are these? Killings in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? Or are they ok as long as its Muslims doing the killing?

      What if their “grievances” are that we don’ve live in an Islamic Caliphate? Or that women aren’t obedient enough?

      The violence in Ireland stopped because we brought the perpetrators into the political process… Yes, we listened to their grievances, but we didn’t give in to their demands

        • Internment began in 1971, after 3 off duty soldiers were killed. Internment ended in 1975, more than a decade before the end of the Troubles.

          I’m no fan of the way Britain treated Ireland historically, or of drone strikes, or of US & UK foreign policy generally.

          Yes, I think having a more responsible foreign policy will make us less open to attacks like Woolwich. It is in our own self interests to be more responsible. It will give less ammunition to the radical nutjobs.

          However, as with Ireland and the “Real IRA” and the like, the nutjobs will still be around, and they will still have demands which we should not give into.

          • It’s not that your point isn’t valid, it’s that it’s off topic. No one had suggested we submit to every demand of armed terrorists. We are talking about the role of consistent, unaddressed outrageous injustice in creating a cycle of violence.

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