Terrorists and Barbarians

A friend was on the train near King’s Cross when the bomb exploded. Fortunately, she escaped with only a few cuts and bruises. I breathed a sigh of relief when other friends replied to let me know that they were safe and well.

My condolences for the people who lost their loved ones. After the initial shock, what crossed my mind was that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. While they grief, remember that their pain is no less nor no greater than the pain of the people who lost their loved ones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. The lives of the civilians in London and New York are no more and no less precious than the lives of the civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.

If Bush and Blair thought that bombing Afghanistan in the man hunt for Osama would put a stop to terrorism, now is a good time for them to rethink their strategy. Let us not forget that after all the bombings, Osama & Co. were nowhere to be found.

The invasion of Iraq on the pretext of protecting the world from a tyrant who could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 40 minutes has been proven to be the farce that it is. Being the deluded individuals that they are, their failure to produce any evidence of weapons of mass destruction (surprise, surprise!!), did not stop Bush and Blair from maintaining that the invasion was still justified in order to bring democracy to Iraq. Let us not forget that the American and British governments once channelled funds into Iraq for Saddam’s arms program 1, 2, 3, 4. If Saddam is a tyrant and a monster, what is the term that befits people who created the monster?

When the US and Britain bombed civilians abroad, they claimed they did it in order to bring peace and democracy to the world. When their civilians were attacked, they called it terrorism and barbaric. In what way is the killing of civilians in London more barbaric than the killing of civilians in Afghanistan? Shouldn’t Madeline Albright be labelled a barbarian when she said that the death of half a million Iraqi children was a price worth paying? What makes the lives of Iraqi children of less value than the lives of British and American civilians?

In his first statement after the bombing, Blair promised swift retaliation for the terrorism in London. How many sane people believe that swift retaliation would put a stop to this madness? I have a theory that one need not be very clever in order to be a politician. George W. Bush is the perfect example. Tony Blair has not been too disappointing either.

Contrary to popular misinformation disseminated by mainstream media, terrorism did not start with 9/11. The attack was not launched by people who envied America’s freedom and democracy. What transpired on that fateful September day was the culmination of decades of notorious American foreign policy in the Middle East 5.

For people in certain circles, it is no secret that since the 1940s, the doctrine of US foreign policy is that the vast energy sources in the Gulf will be dominated by the US and its clients, and that no indigenous force will be permitted to have a substantial influence on the administration of oil production and price. A book can be dedicated to the dirty tactics (in fact, a few books have been dedicated to the subject) used by the US government to achieve this objective no matter the human cost.

No US president has ever apologised for their foreign policy that have caused much suffering to people aboard. In 1998, President George Bush said, “I will never apologize for the United States of America – I don’t care what the facts are”. Being America’s closest ally, I doubt that any British Prime Minister would apologise for any wrong doings either.

I am tired of the hypocrisy and double standard. I am tired of hearing the word “Islamic” prefixed to the word “terrorism”. I am tired of hearing the word “Muslim” appended to the word “terrorist”. The Afghans whose villages were destroyed by the allied troops could easily brand their attackers “Christian terrorists”. Definitely not the bringer of peace and democracy. I doubt that the Afghans jumped with joy at the honour of being the collateral damage in the war on terrorism.

As I watched the news about the attacks on mosques and Islamic Centres in retaliation for the London bombing, I couldn’t help but to wonder if the Irish community suffered the same backlash after each IRA bombing.

July 2005 marks the tenth anniversary of the massacre in Srebrenica where eight thousand civilians died at the hands of the Serbs. I have never heard the western media refer to the criminals as Christian fanatics, or Christian terrorists, or Christian extremists, or Christian militants. I think we all know what the headlines would look like if the situation were reversed and eight thousand Serbs were slaughtered in Srebrenica.

I believe that the solution to end this reign of terror is not in the hands of political leaders with hidden agenda. I believe the solution is in the hands of ordinary citizens. Americans and British in particular should start questioning the actions of their governments abroad that have brought terror to their door steps.

A person does not just wake up one morning and decides he wants to strap a bomb to his body and blows up himself and everyone around him. What kind of desperation drives him?6

He does it because he is an extremist, I hear some say. If that is the case, the next question we should ask is what pushed him to the extreme.

Could it be that the helplessness he felt when everything and everyone around him were destroyed turned into vengeance?

Or perhaps he grew up in a refugee camp and watched his father beaten and humiliated by soldiers armed by American tax payers.  Or maybe he had lost count of the number of unarmed children shot dead by the soldiers.

Or perhaps he had watched helplessly while his child died when she could have been saved if only they had access to basic healthcare.

Who are the barbarians that inflicted such pain and suffering on him and his people?

Everyone has a breaking point. Only the most deluded among mankind would believe that they can terrorise other people as they please with no risk of repercussion.


  1. M. Dobbs, “U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup“, The Washington Post, December 30, 2002.
  2. D. Leigh and R. Evans, “UK taxpayers forced to pay millions for Iraq arms“, The Guardian, Friday February 28, 2003.
  3. D. Leigh and J. Hooper, “Britain’s dirty secret“, The Guardian, Thursday March 6, 2003.
  4. W. Blum, “Rogue State“, Zed Books, 2002, p.121.
  5. J. Muir, “Explaining Arab Anger“, BBC News, Wednesday, 19 September, 2001,
  6. Edna Yaghi, “The making of a suicide bomber, Thinkpiece.

Related links:

14th July 2005


8 thoughts on “Terrorists and Barbarians

    1. mazliza Post author

      On the right bar, click on the either “Entires (RSS)” or “Comments (RSS)”. You will then be asked to choose a feeder. Choose one you prefer. I use BlogLines.com


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  2. Pingback: Islamic Terrorism: An Oxymoron – Mazliza Othman

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