Terrorism: the “Son of Hell”
By S. M. Hali
Renowned playwright William Shakespeare, in his epic play ‘Henry VI, Part II. Act V, Scene 2, states: “O war, thou son of hell, whom angry heavens do make their minister. Throw in the frozen bosoms of our part. Hot coals of vengeance! Let no soldier fly.” The bard, who is famous for his allegories, metaphors and symbolism, addresses “war” as “son of hell”. This poetic expression holds good even in contemporary times, where war continues to wreak havoc, devastation and bloodshed.
The face of war however, has changed as “terrorism” has overwhelmed the world and is inflicting chaos, mayhem, mass murder and destruction. This more hideous face of war is more dangerous than armed conflicts between nations. The enemy is faceless, resides amongst the local population, hides his identity as well as his heinous agenda and strikes with impunity when least expected. His targets are schools, hospitals, places of worship, entertainment and trade centers.
Pakistan is bearing the brunt of terrorism, which has spread like the contagious Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), which is extremely feeble and elusively fragile to withstand environmental exposures. Thus HCV moves through concealed routes of blood and secreted material to reach the sensitive organs like the human liver and brain to eke out its survival and consolidate its position, waiting months and maybe years to strike when it is strong enough to destroy the entire microcosm of the human body and cause a painful death.
Terrorism, being illegitimate and unconstitutional, tends to secure its existence and broaden its sphere of influence through clandestine means. Foreign support including ideological direction, lethal weapons and sophisticated equipment, training in militancy, financial sustenance, and ensuring availability as well as the management of space within local population, provides the terrorists the necessary impetus to solicit their warped philosophy, twisted logic and criminal designs. In fact it would not be out place to argue that the terrorists without the support of local sympathisers become “fish out of water” and their misguided thoughts leading to criminal acts of violence also die a natural death in the absence of requisite support.
Recent upsurge in terrorist activities and deadly attacks have traumatized the local population and left deep scars on the minds of every Pakistani. Thus William Shakespeare’s apt and pertinent description for the terrorists being the real “sons of hell” remains valid. These “sons of hell” have no respect for human life, be they women, children, old persons, invalids, sick or even those engaged in religious rituals. The terror mongers continue to spread the fires of hell for humankind although in return they earn the curses, condemnation and hatred of society. The sad part is that these “sons of hell” demand the imposition of Sharia Law but forget that no religion in the world propagates, slaughter, carnage and butchery of innocent people in the name of religion. Islam, on the other hand, is the religion of peace while the Almighty Allah has ordained that “…if any one slew a person —- it would be as if he slew the entire humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” (Al-Quran 5:32).
It is also ironical that the “sons of hell” motivate, brainwash and subliminally program their agents of death, the suicide bomber by promising a permanent place in heavens, where 72 houris await them after they pull the string of their suicide jacket causing death and destruction of the innocent victims.
The need of the hour is that since the terrorists reject valid logic to respect the constitution and these non-state actors remain loyal to their own perverted bent of mind, they should be dealt with an iron hand. Government must employ a comprehensive and an all-encompassing strategy to eliminate the threat posed by terrorism. The entire society must support the Government in its efforts to fight the menace of terrorism. The various opinion builders in society, the intelligentsia, academics and Media must join hands in combating the scourge of terrorism. Media should expose the real and brutal visage of the terror mongers. It should deny them the media space to propagate their perverse logic and heinous agenda of targeting humanity. There is ample warning and rationale for the media to retaliate because now it is being deliberately targeted by the terrorists, who have reached the conclusion that assailing the media will get the terrorist greater publicity.
The masses must reject the terrorists and their fake claims of religious leaning. The harbingers of death and destruction, the terrorists are actually criminals disguised in the garb of Islam. The entire society including common citizens, political leaders, teachers, students, Government functionaries, Judiciary, Police, media and intellectuals must condemn terrorists deploring their criminal activities. The Government must use all the implements and organizations available to it to defeat terrorism. It is time for the political leadership to show a sense of responsibility and lead from the front. Organs of law enforcing agencies are being used to protect the government, political leaders and other important personalities. The armed forces themselves are the prime targets of the terrorists. This leaves the ordinary citizens to fend for themselves. The current incumbents in power must endeavour to protect the lives and property of the people, who had reposed confidence in them to lead them and provide them safety and security. Top leaders must also reach out to the victims of terrorist strikes and share their pain.
Currently, the government is reaching out to the terrorists to negotiate peace. The terror leaders, who had earlier been rejecting dialogue, are now indulging in the exercise through their surrogates but with a sense of arrogance, which is due to a perceived sense of being the victors. The Government should pursue dialogue for peace but also make it clear that in case the talks fail to provide the elusive peace, it will keep its powder dry and reserve the option to strike hard. This will send an effective and meaningful message to the “sons-of-hell”.