Saturday, October 01, 2005

Can anything stop terrorism?

During the worst work week of my life, a stray thought or two has wandered towards holiday - and Bali. I've often thought that the safest place must be one that has recently been hit by terrorism. Lightning striking twice and things.

So today's blast is all the more shocking to me.

I worked in Jakarta a few years ago and was stuck in traffic thinking that the world's fourth most populous nation was the number one for traffic jams - not realsing that the reason was a bomb only a block or two away. Shortly thereafter there was the enormous bomb at the hotel I had most of my meetings at (after I left) and then the bomb in Bali.

Terrorism knows no logic. Indonesia needs development - you have no idea of the poverty there. It is in your face all the time. Their urban development means that you have skyscrapers next to squatter camps. The 1997 Asian crisis meant that there was not even money to dismantle cranes - 40 storey high towering cranes stood rusting years later. Yet the threat of terrorism will mean that tourists and business will be lost.


ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

The aim of terrorists is to strike fear and teror into the hearts of as many ppl as possible. The greater the human carnage, the stronger the "message" and the greater the effect.
Indoensia, being the fourth most populous nation therefore fits the bill.
If GW could win an election on fear, terrorists could use it as effectively to get across what they believe their "message" to the world is.

It is the question said...

The problem is that the "message" is so lost in layers of history, experience, language, etc, that the fear itself become the message. When that happens, the spiral becomes impossible to stop.

I fully understand the motivation of a suicide bomber from the West Bank who lost his entire family in a Isreali "pre-emptive" strike gone wrong. How do you stop that cycle?

The cycle becomes worse when "groupings" can be identified by race, religion, etc. Due to the sheer size of the "Moslem vs West" groupings, it is difficult to see how to break the cycle.