Us and them
Sir — There was a time when India and Pakistan played each other in cricket a little more frequently than they do now, and India lost with great regularity. A theory had gained currency around this time — that beef-eating races possess greater killer instinct than the beef-shunning ones. Bal Thackeray has merely added a corollary to the old and rather faulty axiom (“Thackeray snub”, Oct 17), by exhorting Hindus to form suicide squads in the manner of the fidayeen to combat the latter’s attacks. If indeed racial or regional traits could be so easily transferred, one man would long since have become a clone of the next man. But Thackeray and that great Hindu family, the sangh parivar, he belongs to, have always believed in the power of homogenization. Thankfully, most of their attempts have been thwarted. The silver lining here is that an elder member of the family, the Bharatiya Janata Party, disagrees with Thackeray, and thinks that terrorism cannot be countered thus.
Shahana Kanjilal, Calcutta
Sir — I think the recent bomb blasts in Vantaa in Finland and in Bali call for some serious introspection on the part of rational, broad-minded, tolerant Muslims across the world (“Terror explodes on paradise”, Oct 14).
With each such attack, more and more people round the globe are perceiving Islam as a religion that fans the killer instinct and spreads terror and destruction. The recent remarks by Jerry Falwell, an American priest, against Prophet Mohammed could be regarded as evidence of this. Almost every Muslim is suspected of having terrorist links, so much so that in the West a person bearing a Muslim name is often subjected to much harassment.
It is not possible to ignore altogether this collective perception. It is true that Islamic religious leaders have not registered a strong enough protest against the activities of organizations and groups like the al Qaida and the taliban, who think that all that is non-Islamic must cease to exist.
At the same time, it is insane to think that all Muslims are fanatics. There are millions of peace-loving people around the world who are as devout followers of Prophet Mohammad as are the taliban. They must come together in an exercise of damage control now.
Sumohon Matilal, Calcutta
Sir — The latest terrorist attack in Bali, Indonesia, clearly demonstrates the fact that terrorists do not have any religion. Indonesia has been recovering from a huge economic crisis for some time, and was relying heavily on foreign investment to come out of it. The terrorists did not spare a thought about the adverse effect of the attack on the country which has one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. The attacks will have a two-fold effect on the Indonesian economy: first, the flow of foreign investment into the country will be stemmed for some time, and second, with most of those killed being tourists, the tourist crowd will think twice before deciding to chose Indonesia as a vacation destination. Consequently, the tourism industry will suffer terrible losses.
Mohammed Asif Iqbal, Calcutta
Sir — For those who thought that after the September 11 attacks on the United States of America, terrorist groups had slowed down their activities in the international arena, the bomb blast in a nightclub in Bali should serve as a warning. The US, which was at the receiving end of the September 11 attacks and launched a global war on terrorism soon after, should learn to treat terrorist attacks on its soil and in foreign lands, including cross-border terrorist activists, using the same yardstick. Not to mention that it would help if the United Nations extends its support to the cause by convincing the US to look at terrorism as a global problem and not as something that affects only American nationals.
R. Sekar, Angul
Sir — After the bomb blasts in Bali that killed over 180 people, mainly Australian tourists, the question that needs to be asked is how George W. Bush’s proposed aggression against Iraq will prevent similar attacks in the future. Bush and his fellow warmongers need to explain to the world how they intend to promote world peace by making another war. Their Iraqi operations will only encourage anti-American and anti-West sentiments. With the US’s unashamed backing of the genocidal Ariel Sharon and an almost colonial plan of taking over Iraq and installing a puppet regime, it is easy to see that the Americans will be reaping the bitter harvest of their actions for decades to come.
B. Purkayastha, Shillong
Sir — The terrorist attack on tourists in Bali was clearly an act of defiance against the Western powers in general and the US in particular. It has made the composition of the two sides involved in the war against terrorism clearer; diplomatic Christian-majority countries on one side, and fanatic and arrogant Muslim organizations and countries on the other.
Neither of these two is entirely on the right. One must understand from the increasing involvement of Muslims in terrorist acts on Western soil that their anger and frustration with the non-Muslim sections of the world have brimmed over. It is time to tread carefully because the issues involved are indeed very sensitive. Combative measures such as the ones that the US is contemplating will only make matters worse.
Rajeev Bagra, Rishra
Sir — I am a Colombian living in the US and have got to know The Telegraph through my Indian friends. I was surprised that K.P. Nayar, in his report, “Superpower under sniper siege” (Oct 18), gave misleading information about Colombia. First of all, Medellin is not a province, it is one of Colombia’s main cities. It is not run by drug cartels either. In fact, the Colombian government is doing a splendid job of fighting against drugs.
Jorge Plaza, Arkansas, US