Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Osama Bin Laden

As you can imagine, I had and still have very mixed thoughts and feelings on hearing the news of the killing of Bin Laden

You may know that my sister was killed because she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (the US Embassy at the time it was bombed by one of Bin Laden's followers)

I might be expected to feel at least some sense of satisfaction or relief or something like that - but I don't.

Trying to analyse why, I have the following reflections:

1. My master told me to love my enemies, not kill them. That has implications for what I am to do and feel if someone who is only indirectly my enemy is killed by some other party unrelated to me. Of course "everyone who takes the sword will also die by the sword". So it was probably inevitable that Bin Laden would go in some manner like this, but I regret very much the fact that he was killed by US forces in this particular way.

2. As I understand it, under US law, a "wanted" person, after arrest, is supposed to be tried in court before judgment is passed and the person is released or sent to prison or execution, depending on the evidence: how come there was no trial in Bin Laden's case?

3. The hyping of terrorism has become a means of devaluing, degrading, eroding and reducing civil liberties - isn't it time now to re-examine the whole business of how governments and media have been handling the question of terrorism? Terrorism has a terrible impact on a few, but the state of civil liberties is gradually becoming insufferable for everyone.

4. Terrorism can only be confronted by addressing its root causes in Koranic teaching/ propaganda which has emanated from Saudi Arabia over decades, and which the West has tolerated in exchange for geo-political arrangements which enable oil to flow from Saudi Arabia to the West. In other words, the West's enjoyment of its standard of living is, at present, inextricably linked with its allowance of the sort of propaganda/ teaching which has led, and still leads, to terrorism. That devilish bargain needs to be modified so that we oppose the lack of intellectual and spiritual freedom in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other such countries, which should told clearly that that kind of Islamism, terrorism and Sharia law has no place in civilised societies. Moreover, that any country that practices Sharia law will not be traded with nor supported in any way. Countries that practice Sharia law should be regarded as pariahs, and their leaders regarded as criminals under international law.

5. Now that the people of the Middle East are themselves rejecting their regimes, or at least requiring them to change in line with the values of liberty and equality if not fraternity, perhaps we will see people from the Middle East and other parts of the world opposing more vigorously the interpretation of the Koran that leads to terrorism and Shariah law.

6. Democratic regimes in the Middle East may well be more Muslim than the current tyrannical regimes. But democratic regimes, however Muslim, will eventually learn that Islamism leads only to cultural decline, and that openness and liberty are the only values that lead to continued development, while equality and fraternity are the only bases on which a globalising civilisation can continue to be built.

7. The passing of Bin Laden can be the end of an era - or it can mean merely a continuance of the sort of unsatisfactory disorder that we have at present. Which way things go will depend on which choices we make. Clarity about the values for which we stand is more necessary now than ever before. Sphere: Related Content


Joanna said...

Thank you for a very balanced look at the issue in the face of so much hype, all the more remarkable for your sad loss.

keyoor said...

I read some time back that UK allows sharia courts. what is your opinion about that?