Sunday, April 23, 2006

'Speech vs Violence'

Is it a viable idea to stick to a "no negotiation" stand when it comes to terrorists? Does it make sense to give terrorists more respect than they deserve? Or is it terrorism in the name of counter-terrorism when authorities refuse to talk with 'rogue' forces?

I side with speech.

It is painful. It is frustrating. Its outcomes are subject to exhaustion, not common sense. Agreed. No dialogue is easy. Talking a terrorist out of an act of aggression is just as difficult as convincing your wife of the futility of shopping, or teaching your child to stay away from the cookie-jar, or wooing a hostile board to vote your way. It is but a part of human lore that people don't listen unless they have to.

Here comes an argument in favor of using force. How else can you make someone listen? How else can you corner your opposition? How else can you expedite the process of mutual exhaustion?

Definitely not by force, I would say. Not military force, at least. My refutations lie in the questions themselves.

We need "mutual" exhaustion, not one-sided rampage. Even if the fight is God vs Some-Stubborn-Jerk-Out-There, a true and lasting solution is impossible unless the exhaustion has been mutual. This is required because permanent solution to problems come when people "listen", not when they "oblige." None of these two conditions are met by application of brute force.

It is still beside the point to me, though. I believe in relativity of all but one thing -- human tragedy. It is the only absolution and I see no reason to support anything that spreads it. I do not condone it for whatever purpose one might suggest. Not even for the sake of national security. A bullet in my chest would hurt me regardless of the shooters political alignment. Violence instigates more violence only, it never passes on the message we expect our counter-part to listen to.

Examples should serve well to drive the point home. The IRA and the Basque denounced terrorism and chose to engage in dialogue. An interview in PBS suggests that IRA's case had to do with frustration due to stagnance in the crisis while Basque's was with the thought of disconnecting itself from human suffering due to public disfavor against violence since 9/11.

Britain and Spain continued conversation with these two terrorist groups despite all else. It paid off. Pictures from the rest of the world are at your disposal. I feel it unnecessary to walk you through to the other end of the road.

Had the US ever listened to growing complains from around the world regarding it's foreign policy, I don't think there would have been a 9/11. Still, given that these guys were rogues who cared for nothing good, a little after-thought in the proper direction would have at least left the world a better place to live in.

When people think America/New York, they think The Statue of Liberty, not the Twin Towers. Yet the lady in the sea didn't get hit by an aeroplane. It was a stupid message, but it wasn't entirely irrelevant. The world would be better off without US policing and their ill-motived financial watchdogs such as IMF or WTO. A step in the direction of re-considering these is the only thing that'll win the hearts of the commoners. Not stealth planes, not nukes, not handshakes, not emergency food aids.

1 comment:

Monwar said...

1. I think your example relating the Statue of Liberty is misplaced. It was too low value a target. Shows how Mr. Laden perceived America!

2. I guess you need to be a bit more 'relative' about human suffering too. It is extremely difficult for us to be so, perhaps the hardest thing. Pain/Death are the biggest of human limitations. We can not conquer pain as 'human beings', but we can at least try to be not afraid of it. Big words, even stupid words, but why should your support against suffering be absolute?

I wonder, have I become a nihilist! Anyway, I hope you get my points, dear friend!