Whenever another suicide-bombing takes a heavy toll of innocent lives, I revisit my list of ways to prevent another one. So here’s today’s list and the reasons for the items on the list.
First, I tend to agree with the views expressed about the Manchester bombing by Tariq Ali, a British-Pakistani writer, journalist, historian, filmmaker, and political activist on a recent Amy Goodman show (May 24, 2017). Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:
“This atrocity happens, we all denounce it, everyone says 95, 96 percent of the Muslim community is opposed to all this—which is all true. Then people like myself and a few others from the antiwar movement say this is not unrelated to the war on terror that has been going on now since 2001. Every Arab country that’s occupied, wrecked, has a consequence in Europe.
So it’s—we’re part of a sort of really vicious, now, cycle, where the wars go on, and terror attacks, carried out usually by tiny jihadi groups or by individuals, as appears to be in this case, goes on.”
Keeping in mind Ali’s comments and putting on my hat as a political scientist, I think we have to look at the over-arching circumstances and conditions that are leading state actors and non-state actors to engage in violent extremism against each other and kill innocent civilians who are directly targeted or get trapped in their cross-fire.
These circumstances and conditions, without drilling down into the colonialist history of the region and other regions that have been colonized, boil down to extreme inequality, impoverishment, and denial of the right to exercise fundamental civil, political and human rights on the part of literally hundreds of millions of people.
The non-state perpetrators of violent extremism in the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and now Europe, regardless of what we think of their values and choices, have either been the direct victims of these circumstances and conditions, or are related to these victims, directly and indirectly. Needless to say, the barbaric acts carried out by extremist groups of these victims are completely unacceptable, as are the same barbaric acts carried out by nation-states in the MENA region.