The Biggest Threat of Civilization and Humanity [opinion]

Twenty first century terrorism has changed its face and nature with its broadening reach across continents and countries.

We have arrived at a point where its forms differs from country to country, and humans are massacred the same way as a domestic animal is treated or slaughtered for their meat.

If we look back at some of the barbaric acts of terrorists, the so called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) tops all in its brutality and in its reliance on mass media to transfer their messages of fear and intimidation to the public. ISIL members use mass media to justify their actions for their killings, and often use gruesome video productions in which they have their captives wear orange jumpsuits to mirror the apparel worn by prisoners at Guantanamo. What goes around, some people say, comes around.

ISIL carried out brutal mass and individual killings, such as those of American journalists James Foley (August 20, 2014) and Stephen Sotloff (September 3, 2014), British aid worker David Haines (September 13, 2014), Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, (January 31, 2015) and 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya (February 2015).

Although ISIL says it is Islamic, the terrorist group killed surprisingly more Muslims than Christians in the areas they control in Iraq and Syria. Like the Ku Klux Klan who preached hate in the name of Jesus Christ in the United States during the second half of the 19th century and the Lord’s Resistance Army who ravaged villages in Uganda, ISIL militants burned down mosques and destroyed ancient monuments and artifacts in Mosul, Iraq and Syria, in defiance with the will of the world and the feelings of humanity, so that people begin worshiping them instead of Allah or God.

How can a group that proclaims itself Islam, blow up copies of the Quran and kill their fellow Muslims, be they Sunni or Shia? Does shouting out God or Allah’s name while committing murder make their actions righteous?

Islam, as millions of Muslim attest, is a peaceful religion as opposed to a religion of war, and calls on its followers to choose community over conflict. The ideology and the practices of ISIL, indicates otherwise.

ISIL’s more recent mass killings of Ethiopian Christians, who migrated to Libya because of false promises of good employment made by human traffickers, appeared on video a month ago and is an additional proof that terrorists always have little regard for human beings and for people whom they perceive to be an opponent.

ISIL’s horrendous act committed against Ethiopians has aroused a lot of outrage both inside Ethiopia and wherever Ethiopians are residing abroad. It has also become crystal clear to everyone that no state is immune from the threat of terrorism, not even superpowers like the United States, Britain, and France. Terrorism has generally become a common phenomenon and a major war of the century. It is therefore the biggest threat to civilization and humanity, which requires ultimate solution.

After the terrorist attack in the United States by Al Qaeda in September 2001, countries that had turned a blind eye to terrorism begun to pay due attention. An increasing number of states joined the force against terrorism led by the United States even though there are still some scholars who argue that the fight against terrorism, itself, bred and is breeding more terrorism all over the world.

With acts of terrorism increasing in number, magnitude and scale, human rights violations have also risen. Ranging from ISIL, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Taliban and Hamas, all terrorist organizations are similar, if not the same. All of them share a common extreme ideology and the readiness to use violence in general and terrorism in particular.

While the list of atrocities being committed and the number of terrorist organizations continue to grow, the war against terrorism is increasingly becoming more difficult. Efforts to combat terrorism are complicated by a global trend towards open borders and expanded commerce. Despite huge financial resources being spent on anti-terrorism activities, the challenge is still not going away. Modern communication technologies and easy access to finances and financial institutions such as banking systems, coupled with human and arms trafficking across borders, exacerbate terrorism activities. The technology has made business faster, easier, and cheaper than ever before for terrorists and human traffickers.

Then what’s the answer to terrorism? How should we respond?

Although a wide range of people from President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair to religious figures of all faiths to public intellectuals, such as economist and Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, state that economic deprivation and lack of education are factors that may drive people to adopt extreme views, numerous academic and government studies indicate that thousands of terrorist groups and their members are from well-educated, middle-class or high-income families.

I would, therefore, like to argue otherwise. If poverty and inadequate education were causes of terrorism, even of minor ones, the world would be teeming with terrorists eager to destroy our way of life. Instead, I argue that terrorists are motivated by political goals, which they believe are furthered by their evil actions.

Answers to terrorism are not all the same it varies from country to country, depending on the characteristics of the terrorist activities they are faced with. Similarly, all terrorism activities are not the same. They vary and pose threats according to the conditions and opportunities in the locations in which they operate. Therefore, some possible solutions are the following, and all of which I believe contribute to curb the terrorism scourge that is endangering human lives:

First, unified and multifaceted approach is needed to address all sorts of terrorism. One of the most important approaches is increasing information sharing and collaboration between law enforcement and government agencies to be able to stop human trafficking. This is especially important, as it would reduce the susceptibility of citizens to terrorism outside their homelands.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal activities that have become profitable businesses that serve as revenue streams for terrorist acts. It now serves two main purposes for terrorist groups: generating revenue and providing fighting power. As a result, it has become an ever-increasing national, regional and international concern. Closing the road that leads into human trafficking and taking bold actions against traffickers will arguably result in closing down the source of funds for terrorists.

Furthermore, strict border control–in the place both terrorists and traffickers consider a haven for their activities and to recruit members, and to smuggle both humans and weapons, respectively- needs to be the focus area the Ethiopian government.

Second, enhanced law enforcement tools are one way out of the terrorist threats. The way we counter terrorism needs to include the use of exceptional courts where terrorists have to be tried and separated so that they can be isolated and exposed. This should be a vital part of the counter-terrorism efforts. As acts of terrorism have to be considered more severe than ordinary criminal violations, it leads us to the conclusion that the criminal code in itself does not serve as an adequate platform to define terrorism.

The other thing worth mentioning here is that the terrorism law, which Ethiopia already devised and ratified, has a great significance in preventing, combating and eliminating terrorist activities. What’s more, the country needs migration policy and legal framework by which it would manage illegal human traffickers. Because the world is changing so fast with increasing threats to humanity, countries including Ethiopia can never be indifferent to terrorism.

To sum up, things are much more dangerous now than they were 20, 25, or 30 years ago. There should be a logical response to threats of terrorism. Terrorism depends much more upon intimidation as observed in many terrorist groups’ attacks against innocent civilians, like in the recent Charlie Hebdo shooting in France in January and the ISIL mass killings against Egyptian Christians in February and Ethiopian Christians in April 2015. It is a worldwide problem that will not be solved through compromise, as demonstrated by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s failed attempt to reach a compromise with Adolf Hitler during World War II.

As As national security and energy specialist and former U.S. Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey noted,”Today’s terrorists don’t want a seat at the table they want to destroy the table and everyone sitting at it.” Negotiating with terrorists does not have positive outcomes as seen several times in the past. Instead, it encourages more and more terrorism. This indicates that the basic essence that fair and reasonable coercive action too important to deal with it. In this regard, the society needs to make a difficult decision. As many scholars say, the society must make choices, either to sacrifice some of its democratic values in order to be more efficient against terrorism or it must suffer a certain level of terrorism.

Whatever the case may be, cooperation among states of the world, including even those sponsoring terrorism, is the basic tool in the international struggle against terrorism. Therefore, there should be general agreement by all countries and people of the world that terrorism cannot be justified by any religion of God, or by any human standards otherwise.

Ed.’s Note: Shimelis Mulatu is a public relations and communications expert. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Reporter.nbsp

Source : The Reporter