The world woke up yesterday Wednesday 7 , 2015 to a heart-rending news of a terrorist massacre. Ten journalists and two police men , reports say , were killed at the offices of a satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France after a prior notice of an impending attack had been issued months before. Could the seriousness of this threat have been downplayed by the slain journalists and police? This is one question that agitates me extremely. The killing of these men by the yet to be identified ‘jihadists movement” is doubtless a crime against humanity. However , it is not under contention that hardliners of different religions would have different views and it is barbaric to resolve any ideological difference by cutting down lives with guns and other dangerous powerful explosives. This if, I dare say , is politically and morally indefensible from any standpoint.
This calls to mind the historic attack on the twin towers – World Trade Centre – in New York , USA on Tuesday , September 11, 2001 , the ongoing fighting by Islamic State militants in Syria , Iraq and Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. Many lives have been lost to terror-linked attacks and still ongoing , in fact they are out to bomb someone , somewhere all in a bid to propagate their retrogressive Islamist ideology. In Nigeria , for instance , over five thousand people have been killed by by the dreaded Islamist sect Boko Haram and no fewer than ten thousand have been slain in Iraq and Syria by the former hence the world must not sit idly and watch the world engulf by terror or else we run the risk of facing an unending circle of tragic destruction.
Over the years we see that countries at the forefront of campaign against terror and repression become target. There is no denying the fact that French intelligence, like their colleagues across Europe, have done their utmost to prepare for the return of the home grown jihadists, who had gone to Syria and Iraq in sympathy with ISIS. On return they were kept tabs on and some of them were arrested; the networks which aided them travel east, we had it on good authority, were dismantled. Wire-tapping was also employed to mop up the last pockets of the returning jihadists. All in all, the French security operatives seem not to have done enough to forestall the attacks that killed no fewer than twelve souls yesterday following an armed invasion of Charlie Hebdo premises in the French capital of Paris.
Could these killings ever be morally justified? It is not in dispute , however , that injustice and brutality we see in the world today call out for response. For many people that means organizing to improve their own lives and those of others through unions, political parties, farm organizations, consumer groups or solidarity movements. This type of self-organization is what the world’s rulers fear most, because it has the potential to create mass movements which can actually reduce or take away their power. Government together with paramilitary terrorism is aimed at repressing these movements.
The French Government , we were told , was informed of this attack by the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a warning which they failed to heed or take seriously. Terrorism is a global problem which requires our collective efforts to fight head on and defeat. Hoarding of information to nip any ill-conceived attack in the bud is an act of terror itself and I think the Kingdom did exceedingly well by sending a warning which the latter did not work with. Doubtless that attack would have been foiled and the lost lives saved.
Similarly the attacks of September 11 in the faraway USA that horrified and frightened many people across the world was an attack on civilization and the killing of these defenceless journalists at a blow on French soil is something near it which is morally bound to increase support for repression and state terror and now is the time to redouble our efforts for peace and social justice, to step up the fight against rogue regimes around the globe exposing liars and criminals in power.
It, therefore, behoves every sane mind to condemn these killings in the strongest terms and expose the callous men behind it with a view to bringing them to justice. One puzzle remains here to be riddled: Even after the jihadists are swooped on in the long run, how does the French Government deal with the terror cells of native Frenchmen? I have a burning desire to know.
Iyoha John Darlington, aka Lington Donovan , a social activist, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin , Italy.