Monday, 19 November 2012

A Bomb for an Eye

Imagine a group of superpowers (USA, China, Russia, and the European Union [without the withdrawn UK]) agreeing amongst themselves that the Celtic tribes wrongly pushed out of their ancestral homes in England centuries ago by waves of Anglo-Saxons, should now return.

The Celts would take control of all English territories, while the native English who have settled there for over a thousand years would be rounded up and sent to a series of camps in the Midlands and a narrow strip of land by the North Sea. Some of the English managed to escape to the continent or America, but soon no one wants to take any more English refugees, who begin to see no prospect but indefinite confinement.

Many amongst the English plea with the outside world to end the injustice inflicted on them. Whatever wrongs were previously done to the Celtic people, they argue, could not be made right by depriving the English of their land here and now. But no one would listen, and soon some militant extremists decide to vent their anger by seeking to hurt the Celts. They throw stones at them. From time to time, they hurl explosives at them.

But every time a single Celt is killed, the Celtic army which now occupies England does not just hit back at the terrorists responsible, it sends in tanks and fires missiles to blast ‘targets’, killing scores of civilians, many children included, who have had nothing to do with attacks on the Celts.

The group of superpowers declare that both the Celts and the English should seek to work things out peacefully, though in the meantime the Celts are entitled to defend themselves against any threat.

Let us be thankful that the animosity between Celts and English that caused so much bloodshed centuries ago has not resulted in the mad scenario depicted above. But the madness of bombing innocent families in retaliation for terrorist killing is all too real in our world today.

Of course, any terrorist attack which maims or kills is to be condemned. Just as any forcible removal of a people from their homes to indefinite confinement is to be condemned. Above all, the massacre of defenceless people, wherever it may take place, must be condemned. In Libya and Syria, the ruling regimes’ ruthless use of force in killing civilians in retaliation against the violence of insurgents was widely condemned, backed by international focus on how to prevent any more slaughtering of civilians. There is no reason why the same should not apply across the Middle East.