Extremism and Counter-extremism…. Whatever happened to moderation? Part II

In extremism and counter-extremism, Islam on February 25, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Linked to Part I.

How come the foremost reactions to extremism are often extremist?

The reasons for counter-extremists being as much extreme  as the so-called extremists are primarily the same as in the case of the latter: unjust and indiscriminate killing! You could even  skip reading this section as the facts reported below that I use as my example are well-known.

1. The US War on Terror

The US War on Terror waged in Iraq, Afghanistan and in the northern areas of Pakistan, is also guilty of a considerable wastage of innocent civilian life. In a report released in late 2007 by the British poll group Opinion Research Business (ORB), over one million Iraqi civilians have died between March 2003 and August 2007.  An earlier study by Dr. Les Roberts estimated the number of civilian deaths between January 1, 2002 and March 18 2003 at over 100,000. A research published in Lancet in October 2006 had concluded that at least a third of such killings were attributable to direct action by US. forces.The losses encompass Iraqi children, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, cab drivers, clerics, schoolteachers, factory workers, policemen, poets, healthcare workers, day care providers, construction workers, babysitters, musicians, bakers, restaurant workers and many more, the ORB stated. The rate of civilian death is estimated to be above 10,000 per month.

The situation has been not less inhuman in Afghanistan. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) documents various instances of killing of innocent Afghanis in bombs or helicopter strikes or in face-to-face encounters by US soldiers. A panel of eminent judges and lawyers, organized by the International Commission of Jurists, recently reminded us all that the U.S. War on Terror had caused “immense damage in the last seven years to a previously shared international consensus on the framework underlying both human rights and humanitarian law” (read here). Even certain “governments in other parts of the world are justifying their own wrongdoing by comparisons with the United States”!

While there’s talk of ‘change’ in Obama’s policy towards Iraq and Afghanistan, the tribal areas of Pakistan continue to suffer in the name of this War on Terror. One of the earliest missile strikes by the US was in June 2004 killing Nek Mohammad a Taliban leader who had recently signed a peace deal with the Government of Pakistan (Refer here). In the second week of January, 2006, a missile strike had killed 18 civilians of which five were children (Refer here). A missile strike in a religious school in Bajaur on  30th October, 2006 had killed 83 individuals, most of them students (Refer here).  On 8 September 2008, 23 people were killed in another such strike including 8  children in North Waziristan (Refer here).

There had been hopes that Obama’s alleged change of policy would be reflected in Pakistan. So far they have been answered with four attacks with a total death toll of 50 (refer here) and with the express permission by Obama to CIA for further extrajudicial killings (Refer here).

2. Gaza War

Israel’s recent bloody assault on the highly vulnerable Gaza strip had been done with the pretext of ending for good the firing of rockets by Hamas. On the other hand, the rockets had been stimulated when the Israel-Gazan cease-fire ended on December 19 when Israeli commandos raided a tunnel and killed a group of Hamas fighters. According to an analyst, Dennis Rahkonen, who writes for the Online Journal, “they’re little more than slingshots against Israel’s incredible military might, and they’re used out of desperation by Palestinians who’ve never been accorded the democratic space within which to gain redress of their eminently just grievances”. The missiles can’t even crack the pavement on which they may chance to fall, as the following picture shows:

the truth behind hamas rockets

the truth behind hamas rockets

Over a span of eight years, Hamas has allegedly fired more than 8,ooo of these rockets leading to a total death toll of 20 deaths! (read here). The Israely army killed more than thirteen hundred Palestinians, shamelessly attacking points on the exposed Gaza strip that were saturated with civilian population – a story there’s no need to retell.

Read the final Part III  here.

Possibly related in this blog:

Protest on the Israel Day of Science


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