Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nigerian Terrorism

In the arcane,subterranean,murky,and hard to define, world of politics,and diplomacy,the lines are blurred when it comes to defining anything. Take terrorism,for instance,one man's definition of terrorism ,is another man's definition of a freedom fighter,or patriot.
And both definitions are correct. Father time,is the ultimate judge of who exactly was what.

The international news channels,as usual,have been bombarding us with news of the latest attempt by Al Qaeda to cause chaos in the West.

So what exactly is terrorism? There is no universally accepted definition of terrorism. It is terrorism if you are on the receiving end,but something else,if it benefits you!According to one definition,it is the systematic use of terror to coerce,or force people,or an individual,to do something. Terror,is fear. So terrorism is the use of fear,to achieve an aim. Israel call Hamas,and Hizbullah, two Islamic organizations,terror groups,but to the people of the West Bank,and Lebanon,they are the only way they can fight what they see as Israeli oppression.

So who is a terrorist? When does a person become a terrorist? The crazy thing about the world we live in,is that the same individual,or group,could be labelled as a terrorist,or a freedom fighter,by the same source,at different times,under different circumstances.

The most famous terrorist ever,is Osama Bin Laden. We all know him as America's greatest enemy;but what many people do not know,is that Osama Bin Laden,was created by America! America armed him to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan! Then,he was a freedom fighter to America,and a bulwark against terrorism.

But the problem with a man who has been taught to use the gun,is that he does not unlearn that skill,and no longer trusts alternative means of dispute resolution! The way of the gun is faster,and produces better results for the man shooting the gun?

So how does this concern Nigeria? Where do we feature in the whole equation of terrorism?

Very much,I must sadly confess! Like Osama Bin Laden,Henry Okah,and many of the militants we currently contend with,were once hailed by people in the top echelons of government today,as freedom fighters! The numerous revelations coming out now,show how complicit our politicians are with them.It is convenient,and fashionable now to pillory these individuals,and subject them to public opprobrium, but the fact remains,they were created by people in government to fight personal wars.

Terrorism,or should we call it nationalism? Take your pick,has the same progression everywhere. It does not matter the culture,or the period,or the conflict responsible for it.

When people "make peaceful change impossible,they make the violent inevitable",in addition,when disputes are not resolved in a peaceful,and mutually satisfactory manner,it forms the nucleus for terrorism to grow from the resultant malcontent.

Furthermore,when people refuse to abide by laid down rules governing a process like an election,or the sharing of a nation's resources,the results,could form the basis upon which terrorist acts are committed. Lastly,but by no means the least,is when young unemployed people are armed by powerful individuals to fight a personal war,the cessation of that personal conflict,does not necessarily mean the end of armed conflict in that area.

All the necessary conditions mentioned above are ongoing,prevalent,and preponderant, in Nigeria today.

The militants,another word for terrorists,in the Niger Delta of Nigeria,were created by politicians to fight political opponents. When the politicians abandoned the boys on the attainment of their own objectives,the boys decided to work for themselves by terrorizing Nigeria's economic interests. It is easier to placate an "economic terrorist",than one who is fighting on the basis of an ideological injustice! You just give him money!

So far,what we have dealt with,are people who want money. When the general elections are conducted next year,if we do not conduct them in a transparent,and equitable fashion,we may end up with our own ideological terrorists! This is the type the British government has struggled with in Northern Island
for centuries. At the end of the day,they discovered that the only way to eradicate them,was not by force of arms,but through dialogue.

We are not prepared for this type of terrorist,but the conditions are perfect for his emergence! It is only when people subjugate the attainment of their own personal interests under the overriding attainment of national interest,that we will survive as a nation. This was what Al Gore,the democratic candidate did in America,when he refused to pursue a court case that would have hobbled America.Is it possible,for our politicians to rise to this rarefied height of patriotism? Or will they end up becoming terrorists,who inflict terror on Nigeria.

The truth is,at the end of the day,one man's terrorist,is another man's patriot,or freedom fighter!


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