Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Deconstructing The Bangkok Post's Hypocritical Editorial on Terrorism: Do these Guys Read Their Own Writing?

The futility of terrorism

It is almost always a mistake to over-generalise and apply a one-size-fits-all philosophy to anything, including solving the many conflicts around the world. Because they all spring from different circumstances and have their own dynamics, they all require a unique solution.

Yet, at the risk of sounding overly simplistic, the rejection of terrorism is a very basic requirement for creating a peaceful world. At the same time, it should be obvious to anyone in this day and age that acts of terrorism of any kind are counter-productive. Given that it is so ineffectual, the question remains: why terrorism still persists as a strategy.

There have, of course, been historical incidents in which people who could perhaps be described as terrorists have achieved their goals. But those days are over. There is today a recognition among all governments that dealing with terrorists is unacceptable, and this philosophy has been formalised in a number of international agreements.

A crystal-clear example of the futility of terrorism was shown in the aftermath of the senseless bombing on Monday of a train headed from the Indian city of New Delhi to Lahore in Pakistan. As of last night, the death toll was at least 67. The clear intent was to derail the efforts to normalise relations between the two countries, but no sooner had the smoke cleared than high-level officials on both sides were vowing that this would not happen.

In fact, the incident has probably done more to unite the two governments and their peoples than several rounds of negotiation.

Also in the past few days, an Israeli -Palestinian peace summit was sabotaged by the refusal of the militant Hamas organisation to renounce terrorist acts, along with its refusal to recognise Israel and to abide by previous agreements. In this case, the militants may appear to have won because they forced Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to make a deal between Hamas and his own Fatah party in forming a unity government. But clearly the Palestinian people and the goal of an independent Palestinian state have suffered a major setback.

In southern Thailand, the violence raged on Sunday and the early part of this week in what the Post described as "the biggest wave of coordinated bombings, terrorism and murders ever across the four southernmost provinces". But everyone, including the perpetrators, must know that no matter how many bombs go off, there is no way the Thai government will be forced to allow the southernmost provinces to separate from the country. The only effect will be increasing fear in the general population, the same people the perpetrators supposedly want to help.

The premier terrorist organisation of the day, al-Qaeda, might be considered successful if its goal is to create mayhem in the West; but if the organisation's goal is to rid Muslim lands of Western dominance and Western armies, as was originally stated, it is a huge failure. On the contrary, al-Qaeda's strike on the World Trade Center provided justification for a massive Western intervention in the region which has caused untold suffering. A heightened US military presence for years to come is virtually guaranteed.

If it is so obvious that the methods are not able to produce their professed goals, you have to wonder what it is that terrorists anywhere really want. Perhaps it is just a feeling of power over something they hate, even if in the end their own friends and family members are among the innocent victims of their actions.

Surely there are legitimate causes championed by some who have turned to terrorism as a means to achieve them - an independent Palestinian state comes readily to mind - but these are much more likely to be realised by the methods of Gandhi than by those of Osama.

Highlighted Portion 1: The Thai government, contrary to what the editors suggested in this article, is willing to negotiate with the terrorists in the South. Therefore, the terrorists in the South are at least effective in getting to the negotiating stage, which is on the road to achieving their goals. The Thai government negotiates with terrorists. That is their policy. And the second part of the paragraph is just stupid. The "philosophy" of refusing to negotiate with terrorists hasn't been formalized in international agreements. And if it were true, Thailand is violating that philosophy.

Highlighted Portion 2: I think it is interesting how The Bangkok Post comments on the the Palestinian conflict, criticizing the Palestinian government for its non-negotiable stand, which prevents it from negotiating with Israel. Have these editors bothered to judge the situation in Thailand by the same standards?

Highlighted Portion 3: Who writes this crap? Seriously, the language is horrible. Anyway, I love how the editorial announces that in the first portion that governments should not negotiate with terrorists--even though negotiating with terrorists is the policy of the Sonthi/Surayud government, then it says that "
there is no way the Thai government will be forced to allow the southernmost provinces to separate from the country." Yet this editorial states that Israel should give land for peace.

Does anybody understand this contradictory sentence?
The only effect will be increasing fear in the general population, the same people the perpetrators supposedly want to help. The terrorists are not trying help anybody.

Highlighted Portion #4: Is that writing on the wall for the Thai government?

Highlighted Portion #5: I love how The Bangkok Post is the judge and jury on legitimate causes for terrorists. Personally, I think the people in the South who are not happy with the Thai government have a legitimate cause. And so does the Thai government, or it wouldn't be negotiating with the terrorists. Why does the Palestinian conflict come to mind and not an independent Pattani state?

Thai hypocrisy never ceases to amaze me. Terrorism is running rampant all over Thailand, yet The Bangkok Post sees the need to pontificate about terrorism in other countries as if it doesn't have a serious terrorism problem of its own. I think when people are speculating that the intent of the terrorists is to ethnically cleanse the Deep South of non-Muslims, there is a serious problem going on.

Before talking about Palestine, Al Qaeda, the US, and the India/Pakistan conflict, little Thailand better start to look in the mirror and ask the same question Americans asked after 9/11: Why do they hate us?

And if the terrorists have no political reason (which I doubt) and just want to randomly kill people, then The Bangkok Post better stop wanting to hold hands and sing Kumbaya with their unhappy murdering brethren in the South, because then it is time to saddle up.

1 comment:

Bangkok Pundit said...

I truly thought it was one of the worst editorials I have read. I mean it is precisely because of the number of bombs go off that makes it more likely that the Thai government will allow greater autonomy (whatever form this may take). If those who wanted greater autonomy were to do so through political means, would they achieve anything? No.

People don't go around bombings things because they think it won't work. They do so because it has shown in the past to work. Ask I commented on my blog, ask Manilla. The Minadanos didn't get an autonomous region by twiddling their thumbs in Parliament, they did so by staging terrorists attacks over a long period of time.