Monday, August 27, 2007

Formation of vigilante or chauvinistic ethnic or religious defense forces is wholly opposed to the principles of any civil society

Re: Hyderabad Bombing kills at least 42 (Washington Post)
by Rich on Sun 26 Aug 2007 09:26 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Rakesh, I wanted to get back to your earlier question you raised, about defending oneself and family against jihadi violence. My response had been preempted by the other tangents the conversation went off on, but the bombing in Hyderabad provide another intro to the topic. Your comments are heartfelt and appear to be posing questions at several levels, namely how to deal with "Jihadi" attacks at the social organization of either the nation, community and family.
I guess the first thing is to understand why some people would want resort to violence in the first place. What grievance do they have? Have they suffered an injustice, or are they merely criminal elements being spurred on by either gangsters or politicians trying to stake out a territory by politics of exclusion and hate. I personally think that much of what passes for Jihadism is the result of mere criminal behavior spurred on by “mob bosses” who can just as easily be Imams or Priests, as actual mafia figures. But then again I label Jihadism as any religious fundamentalist movement that resort to violence to further their territorial claims, and include all religions as having fanatics that can fall under this category.
I think any one who is trying to develop an integral practice or aspire for integral knowledge would incorporate systems thinking into their reflections. If one understand the premises of systems theory one sees that there are no simple cause and effect explanations to complex matters of social psychology.
For instance in the United States after September 11th there was a huge national question which was asked namely; why do they hate us? Of course the fact that the USA had overthrown the government in Iran, and installed a dictator in the Shah, has supported the dictatorships as well as the oligarchies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordon, and additionally has for forty years expressed their unwavering support for the illegal Israeli occupation and forced apartheid of the Palestinians, was lost on the average American, who generally do not take an interest in foreign affairs unless if circumstances preempt their favorite TV programing. Of course understanding the reasons for violence still don't justify the attacks, which like any violent action in which innocent people are killed or injured needs to be condemned and prosecuted. So how to respond to these jihadi actions?
Regards the response to jihadi terrorism national level, I think the criminal behavior of the Bush administration and United States has shown us all, the way not to respond. e.g. with a full scale war. Although, I believe a nation would be justified prosecuting by whatever means necessary the perpetrators of the act of terrors as well as their sponsors
At the community level, I guess if one lives in a secular democratic society, one then depends on the "Rule of Law" to deal with the perpetrators of attacks. That means one relies on the police, and not on vigilante groups to defend oneself. The formation of vigilante or chauvinistic ethnic or religious defense forces is wholly opposed to the principles of any civil society, and usually result in even greater cycles of violence and revenge
However, if someone attacks ones family and no police are there to assist, well then I would quote Malcolm X the African American leader of the 1960s, when asked if he would take up self-defense, against white racist groups that were lynching black men, and fire bombing the homes of African American families, he said: "I dont call that self-defense, I call that intelligence."
And although my initiation into the world of ethics and social morality was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King an avowed pacifist, and I strongly feel that non-violent resistance is the best from of resisting oppression and occupation, in the context in which his statement was made I do agree with Malcolm.

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