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The Senselessness Of Terrorism


Daily Guide July 19, 2014

Cameron Doudu

You buy a ticket and board a plane to conduct your business somewhere, perhaps other than where you reside. Maybe you’re returning home from abroad.

You are full of anticipation. You are going to meet loved ones, whom you have not seen for quite some time. You are going to visit familiar places. Eat familiar dishes.

Hear the noises that filled your ears in years gone by. In short, you are going to live life as you would like to live it, were work and other necessities not in the way. Or you are going to carry out work at your destination that will contribute greater happiness or contentment to your later life.

But sitting somewhere, unknown to you, someone is planning to deprive you of that beautiful life you have sketched out in your mind.

That someone is a terrorist, who will try and bring down the aircraft that you are boarding. No one can see him, where he is hiding. No one even suspects that he is going to get that plane. For thousands of planes fly each day, without being attacked.

But in particular cases,  in some unknown hideout, surrounded by equally evil-minded fellow-conspirators, a terrorist ”leader”  has dispatched instructions that will ensure that his bomb or missile will  bring down  your plane

That is precisely what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 on Thursday, 18 July, 2014. The plane was shot down in the Ukraine, in an area near Donetsk, held by dissidents fighting against the Kiev-based Ukrainian Government.

The plane, a Boeing 777-200, was carrying 298 passengers from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. No less than 189 of the passengers were Dutch nationals.

Another 44 were Malaysians. Others came from Britain, Australia, France and some other countries. May their souls rest in peace.

One cannot help but pity poor Malaysia Airlines. Only 4 months ago – on 8 March, 2014 to be exact – another Malaysia Airlines plane en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur disappeared and is  believed to have  crashed, for it has not been heard of again, despite an extremely thorough search by experienced international investigators, of the area in the ocean where it could have crashed.

One wishes the Malaysia Airlines authorities, their fingers burnt by the earlier disaster, would  have been wise enough to  avoided Ukrainian air space altogether. That air space had been declared safe by international authorities, it is true. But these authorities are capable of under-estimating the danger to be found in certain areas. I believe that British Airways and a few other international airlines had stopped flying over Ukraine. Malaysia Airlines might have been flying that route because it is shorter and makes better economic sense. But economic sense at what cost?

backed dissidents trying to use military attacks to bring down the Ukrainian Government. Kbacked dissidents have been provided with missiles by the Russians. In fact, the dissidents y have already managed to  down some military planes belonging to the Ukrainian Government. That’s why the belief in Kiev is that it was some of these same  missiles that were used to bring down the Malaysia Airlines plane.

The Russian Government has, as could be expected, denied providing any missiles to the anti-Kiev dissidents.

On 18 March, the UN Security Council met to hear speeches that condemned the attack on the Malaysia Airlines plane.

The Council was given a detailed report on the air crash by the US Ambassador to the UN, Ms Samantha Power.

She stated that Russia continues to assist the Ukrainian separatists, and that it could not be ruled out that Russia provided technical assistance to the Ukrainian separatists during the operation to shoot down the plane.

This was because (she said)  the missile used – a sophisticated SA11 capable of bringing an aircraft down from a height of over 30,000 feet – could not be operated by people ‘without special knowledge’.

In other words,  direct or indirect Russian involvement is not being ruled out by the US. But whether Russia was involved in the actual shooting down of the plane, or merely in providing training that could eventually be used to commit such a crime, remains to be proved.

Ms Power also revealed that anti-Kiev Ukrainian dissidents had boasted in tweets and other social media messages, that they had downed a ‘military plane’. The dissidents deleted this message after they had [probably] realized that they had made a mistake and shot down a civilian airliner.

Ms Power added that if it was established through investigations that Russia played any part in the downing of the plane, the international community would make sure that Russia endured a “heavy cost” for so doing.  She urged Russia to help end the war against the Kiev regime.

What can one say about a crime like this? That it is a crime against humanity?

Of course, it is.

That the perpetrators of the crime should be taken to the Hague and tried by the International Court?

Of course, they should. But who will find – and arrest – them? Only Russia can do it, and it does not look as if she will do it.

Certainly, not on the say-so of the United States. For  Russia can cite any number of cases in the world whereby the US has assisted dissidents – in Nicaragua and Bolivia, for instance mention a few.

But it would be wrong for the rest of the world to fold its arms and pretend that this is a confrontation between the United States and its allies on the one hand, and Russia and its allies on the other.

Too many innocent victims are claimed by these senseless acts of terrorism. And increasingly, terrorism is forming part of insurgencies whose effects should be strictly localised.

At least 80 children among those killed in this air crash. What offence could they have committed in their young lives to subject them to such a terrible fate?

That is what makes terrorism such a senseless crime. Even if the terrorists have legitimate grounds for fighting, once they begin to kill innocent people, they become nothing but simple criminals.

There is no way murderous terrorists who have been able to achieve power can win  the respect of decent people around the world.

Even as their hands are shaken in line with diplomatic  practice, the terrorists should be aware that those who deal with them are bound to retain a certain amount of disgust for them —  at the very least in their sub-conscious minds. They  ask themselves this:

“I shook hands with someone whose hands are soaked in blood – can I ever clean my hands enough?”



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