Monday, June 12, 2006

Ok, one more time...

So how is ignorance "the crux of the problem that is faced by the liberal democracies, with regard to the threat of terrorism?" John wasn't satisfied with my answer, and he seems to have mis-read what I stated in my first post on the subject, but I'll give it another go anyhow; he is correct about one thing however, I haven't done a good job of explaining my thoughts on this matter.

How is ignorance manifest in terrorism? I thought this was self evident, but maybe not...

When someone lacks the knowledge and experience that gives them a true appreciation of their own self interest (let alone the self interest of their family, or fellow citizens, culture, or whatever group they ultimately aspire to represent or be a part of), then they could be said to be ignorant (Sticking with the idea that the real problem is the kind of ignorance that results in a callous or malicious disregard and/or disrespect for the dignity, rights and/or physical safety of others).

For example, did any of the 17 alleged terrorist arrested in Canada recently really do anything to further their own cause? Would they have, even if they had successfully carried out an attack? No. At a time when the public support for the war in Afghanistan was strangely low, they probably only would have enraged Canadians, but that is just a guess on my part. They have succeeded in bringing the fear of reprisal to Muslims in Canada, but again, I'm guessing that isn't what they were out to achieve.

Take a look at some causes and movements where the use of violence is employed to try and bring about a desired end, the result is varying degrees of failure. Consider the Basque movement, IRA offensives, the infamous FLQ actions, or the Palestinian movement. Has violence helped these causes? Perhaps some could split hairs and say it has, but it's hard to say to what degree, and we'll never know what the corollary would have achieved.

In contrast, consider the movement to free India from British colonial rule, or the movement against South African Apartheid, or the civil rights movement in the United States. While these movements were not totally devoid of the use of violence, it arguably played significantly less of a role in each, and what is most outstanding about these movements are the leaders who emerged from them and the methods they chose.

Again, in a country like Canada where dialogue and debate are more highly regarded that violence, the young men who will soon stand trial as terrorists would likely have enjoyed much more success in life and for whatever cause they chose to support had they instead become impassioned advocates of peaceful progress or solutions.

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