The twin tragedies to make the headlines over the past weekend are reminders that terror does not make a distinction between rich and poor, Hindus or Muslims or Christians, and are basically instruments of aggression against humanity per se. The sickening suicide attacks in the Peshawar church that claimed over 78 lives, and the three-day-long gun fight that left 62 people dead, 63 missing and over 200 injured in Westgate mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, point towards the swelling surge of terror that targets anyone who doesn’t adhere to the hardline precepts of Islamic fundamentalism, in its various manifestations. While the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the Pakistan blasts targeting the Christians attending Sunday mass at the historic All Saints Church at Kohati Gate and members of the much-persecuted minority religion, a terrorist group al-Shabab has been behind the protracted gun battle that is being touted at Kenya’s 26/11, bearing uncanny similarities with the Mumbai attacks about five years back. Evidently, as the masterminds of these two different but coincidental terror attacks bask in the glory of seeing innocents killed, governments rocked and security jeopardised, what needs to be taken home is the fact that beyond the media frenzy surrounding the bloody weekend, we need a completely different approach to fight the global war against terror.
It’s clear that what needs to be fortified are intelligence networks and circuits of information so that real time sharing becomes the norm and these strikes be averted. Moreover, simply condemning the attacks in newspapers, TV or the social media would amount to nothing if national security isn’t bolstered through better preparedness. What we see instead is a world-wide targeting of people belonging to a certain religious belief, and a systematic racialising of the war on terror. If the attacks in the Pakistani and Kenyan soils are anything to go by, it is obvious that people with a particular skin colour or religious denomination are also equally the victims of global terror. For a change, we can pay heed to Barack Obama, when he says we mustn’t allow these attacks to become ‘routine tragedies.’