Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Root causes

Bali’s second bomb blast was almost 3 years to a day from the first tragedy. My family and I have shopped in Kuta and dined at Jimbaran, and I feel pained by the senseless slaughter of innocents. As always, denunciation of terror bombings were politely offered topped up with politically correct calls to investigate ‘root causes.’ Malaysia’s PM Pak Lah joins the chorus:
"A sense of being marginalized, a sense of alienation is one of the root causes that can bring about the kind of reaction which can also be terrorism,'' Abdullah said. "People want to be recognized, people want to say they want to have a share, they want it and if they cannot get anywhere, they will resort to the kind of action that people say is undesirable."

"These deprived, alienated people, with no opportunities for effective participation, can become the Trojan horse for others with other kinds of agenda,'' he said. "They will be exposed to other people who will want to champion their cause but really have a different agenda."
Sure, look for root causes, but what comes next?

There are marginalized people everywhere, but until recently, no one in his right mind saw suicide bombings as a political solution. What if these root causes were driven by an ideology that sought world dominion? What if these atrocities were framed by a warped sense of race and religion? What ‘different agenda’ might it be that fails articulation? What do politicians mean when they speak of addressing root causes?

After World War I, the Germans also felt very much like the deprived and alienated our politicians refer to. A failed artist tapped into the nation’s humiliation following the Treaty of Versailles 1919, the Great Depression, among other reasons, and promised a restoration of national pride in a glorious Third Reich. In a few short years, over 50 million would be killed in a global conflict that was the Second World War.

Hitler’s perverted dream of Aryan purity led to the systematic extermination of thousands of Gypsies, homosexuals, and 6 million Jews. Jews were first blamed for Germany’s economic hardship, and deliberately vilified as human vermin, carriers of disease, and seeds of corruption. After this, the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Dachau were not only understandable but a logical conclusion to twisted ambition.













It’s possible that the then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain ‘understood’ the root causes behind Hitler’s rise to power. You could say Chamberlain was betrayed by his overestimation of human decency (and underestimation of the human heart’s depravity). His naïve pursuit of diplomacy and appeasement merely invited the invasion of
Poland, and forever earned him a place in history’s hall of shame as the leader who signed a resolution with Hitler and made premature boast of "peace for our time." You do not negotiate with prophets of terror. You do not make concessions to perpetrators of evil.

All this talk about root causes is not likely to put an end to suicide bombings. In an age as muddled as the one we are in today, I fear history is set to repeat itself.

4 comments:

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Bob K said...

An interesting take on the situation and glad to see you blogging again.

On a related note, do you think it would be a good idea to disable anonymous commenting ;)

David BC Tan said...

you're probably right. too much spam; too many 'good man gone wild' and like you, i don't agree with policing and lodging police reports :-)

Bob K said...

We really oughta meet up sometime .. I could use some tips on considering homeschooling for my kid :)