NEWS & VIEWS
SEVEN people were killed and fifty injured in a terrorist rampage at two central London landmarks — streets outside London Bridge train station and Borough Market. A van driver drove the vehicle into a crowd on the bridge at high speed; and the three men attacked people with knives at nearby Borough Market. However, three attackers were shot dead by police in the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market. One must condemn the killing of innocent people by the terrorists anywhere in the world; but the fact remains that the losses suffered by the US and western countries are a very small fraction of the deaths in Muslim countries. Pakistan has lost more than 50000 people and 5000 personnel of law enforcing agencies. Yet, during the Arab-Islamic-American summit, President Donald Trump referred to Afghanistan and India etc., as countries who suffered most from terror acts, skipping the name of Pakistan.
Although no justification can be given for vile acts of the terrorists, but one has to admit that the present turmoil in the world is due to the imperialistic polices of the US and the West. After the 2nd World War, many countries got rid of the colonialism but were subjected to neo-colonialism; and the former colonists wield enormous influence in those countries. The US and the West continue with the policy of regime change, which has resulted in chaos, anarchy and civil war in quite a few countries. According to a report, US-backed Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) began operation the other day to capture IS bastion Raqa with a view to having a foothold to ultimately pose a palpable threat to the Syrian government forces. SDF spokesman said that it received weapons and advanced equipment from the international coalition as a part of preparations for the launch of the battle for Raqa.
It means that no lessons have been learnt from Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya where the situation is much worse than the time when ruled by the dictators. In August 2016, a French-Tunisian had driven a lorry at high speed into a crowd celebrating the country’s national holiday and enjoying the Bastille Day fireworks along the Promenade des Anglais seafront in French city of Nice, killing 84 people injuring more than 100. Police shot and killed the driver. The then French President Francois Hollande in an address to the nation had said: “Nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism. We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria. We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil.” The attack was blowback of the role of the US supported by France and United Kingdom in destabilizing the countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria etc.
After an attack on ‘magazine’ in Paris on January 07 2015, former US congressman Ron Paul had said that the shooting attack in Paris was the direct result of interventionist policies of the Western countries, including France. In an interview with NewsMax, Paul had condemned the attack on a magazine that left 12 people dead.” He explained that the French government’s policies to intervene in the affairs of other countries like Libya and earlier Algeria caused these kinds of attacks. Since the crisis emerged in Syria, France had taken a clear position of supporting rebels of Bashar Al-Assad’s government. In 2012, the United Kingdom also joined hands with France to create a unified opposition organization, who had blamed the country’s leader and his forces for killing scores of innocent people, including entire families. On the other hand, Al-Assad blamed the violence on terrorists.
Then French President François Hollande had announced that it would support the new coalition and would even consider arming the opposition to hasten the end of the war. This decision had annoyed rather provoked the supporters of Assad government in particular and Muslims in general. However, America had refused to provide air cover to the Syrian opposition fighters because of the IS factor, which had benefited most from the ongoing war between the Assad forces and opposition forces by dominating the scene. For some time, France and UK have been conducting air strikes on the IS territory, when it was not known if the attacker had IS connection. The question however is why the attacker chose July 14 – the day when in 1789 Bastille fell before the onslaught of the enraged people of Paris. The hungry Parisians, who had suffered from bad harvest, attacked the Bastille prison for political prisoners.
In 1776, before the French Revolution, there was American Revolution – change from the condition of British colonies to national independence declared by the thirteen states of the American Union. The second para of the declaration started with these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. These words had profound influence over the French and the people throughout the world at large. However, most US presidents negated the principles upheld by the founding fathers; and barring a few honourable exceptions, they continued to ride a rough shod over the Third World countries that have been rechristened as developing countries. Americans must accept the unalienable rights of the people of other countries, and allow them to live according to their faith and culture.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.