It is ironical that the day I sit down to write this blog, the United Kingdom faces its sixth terrorist attack this year. Countries like France, Spain and the US, have all faced terror attacks in the recent past – bringing alive the debate of terrorism and the need to contain it right in the living rooms of the citizens of both the developed as well as not-so-developed world.
The quest for finding solutions to global terrorism begins from understanding it.
There is no single, universally accepted definition of terrorism. The US Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.
The objective of an act of terror is either political or social. Both of these are closely linked with economics. Political and social manifestations often have underlying economic reasons. As a business journalist, I would be inclined to explore the solutions to terrorism in the space of economic and social development.
Provision of liberal education and promoting economic development occur to me to be the fundamental solutions to counter or contain terrorism. Radicalisation of youth is easier in cases when they are unemployed, uneducated, impoverished, disillusioned or feel ignored. Economic and social hardships make people, especially youth, vulnerable to be lured by terrorist outfits. Religion then becomes a handy tool to wield to influence vulnerable youth.
People who have lost their livelihoods or cannot fight for their rights or have suffered human rights violation often find solace in taking up arms to address their opponents or against people whom they believe are the causes of their suffering.
Using force or a military retaliation is not the solution to contain terrorism. Violence will beget more violence. World has had enough instances of violent attacks – and counterattacks have not managed to solve or reduce terrorism in any way.
An international body like the United Nations has a key role to play in promotion of education, economic development and spread of the universal principles of equality, liberty and natural justice in regions that are prone to be havens for terrorist organisations. Countries in the developed world should play an active role in promoting peace within nations – instead of exploiting conflicts between nations to support their domestic armament industry. Now with the developed world facing the wrath of terrorism on its shores – it is imminent that besides securing their borders, the nations also have to rethink of the way they deal with countries with dictatorships or military governments. Islamic countries of the world need to be brought on-board to deal with the common agenda of terrorism and asked to offer and implement solutions within their regions.
‘Come to equity with clean hands’ is an age-old legal maxim. Governments of the world today can’t be supporting terrorism on one hand and denouncing it on the other. It is high time that the perpetrators of the crime are not just brought to justice but measures are taken to ensure there are no more who perpetrate. The countries of the world must come together to solve the problem of terrorism not with fingers pointed to others but hands clasped together to help each other overcome it.