Dr. Asangba Tzüdir
The world witnessed something horrific this Easter. While the Christian community rejoiced the resurrection of Christ, Sri Lanka was struck by terrorists leaving about 290 deaths and many injured. Who would have imagined that such a magnitude of terror would happen in the Church on Easter morning. Neither will those staying in the targeted hotels and especially those worshipping in the three targeted Churches — St. Anthony’s; St. Sebastian; and Zion would have imagined that Easter would be their funeral. Easter, a day of rejoicing turned into a bloody Easter for Sri Lanka. It has also reawakened the horrors of the bloody civil war which was prevalent ten years ago in their country.
The terrorist attack has brought the humanity the world over especially the Christian community into a state of mourning and sorrow. There were speculations that the Easter Sunday atrocities may have an International terror link, and two days after the attack, the Islamic State have claimed responsibility. Such inhuman acts by non-state actors to attain political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation have further gained maximum global attention. Considering the ‘targeted’ terror on tourists and religious minority groups, the time, place, the killings and the destruction, it has created such a psychological impact that, a permanent fear psychosis is injected.
The Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Reforms and public distribution Harsha De Silva speaking to CNN, said that US and Indian Intelligence agencies had warned the Sri Lankan government of imminent attacks. This was reported in the CNN World where the Minister said that the Sri Lankan government “did receive information from overseas that something terrible was to happen” and added that “it wasn’t a failure of the intelligence apparatus” but “a failure of implementing” an appropriate response. But considering the ‘information’ that something terrible was to happen’ and the degree of atrocity that eventually took place during Easter mass was not just terrible but a horrifying unspeakable tragedy, and that those especially at the helm of affairs would have not imagined such an eventuality despite the ‘information.’
Concern about terrorism varies significantly around the world with the highest levels that have experienced terrorism is found in the Middle East, South Asia, and Western Europe. Likewise, the feelings and response towards acts of terrorism also varies but on the whole, large majorities around the world think that the UN Security Council should have the right to authorize military force to stop a country from supporting terrorist groups. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy on 8 September 2006 where the member states agreed to a common strategic and operational approach to fight terrorism, and the strategies are reviewed every two years. But post this, 9/11 happened and it became a permanent marker for global terrorism. The fourth review happened in June, 2014 and came up with 4 pillars which included addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, measures to prevent and combat terrorism, to build state’s capacity and to strengthen the role of UN, and measures to ensure respect for human rights for all, and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.
Even with these resolutions, terrorism has been on the rise and post 9/11 has been concentrated in predominantly Muslim countries as a result of radical Islamic ideologies and sectarian violence. Considering the fact that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to International peace and security, and with the trends of terrorism happening on various lines, the latest Bloody Easter targeting tourists and religious groups, it is only logical to conclude that chaos and durable disorder that follow in the wake of terrorist attacks provide strong incentives for societies to adopt practical strategies and policies for countering terrorism on a global scale.
While few individuals and groups or communities have preferred and still prefer to live in chaos and violence by committing various acts of terrorism, the Bloody Easter Sunday is a manifestation of such ill-feelings. The global trend of terrorism may show a decline, but prediction on future acts of terrorism will always stand precarious. As such it is only advisable for tightening security at all times considering the perceived danger of global terror. For now this Bloody Easter Sunday has reawakened the horrors of terror.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.)