19 December 2005

Terrorism and Murder in Canada and Britain: why no public investigations?

Not all suicide bombers are the same, but we did have such people in England, their roots being in Islam. That they were British citizens made matters more difficult to understand, than if they were from outside Britain. I can’t say if they all felt the same about it, but one possibility was that some of them didn’t feel a part of Britain, their values being different - their attitudes towards women, sexual freedom, etc., and on the other side, the attitudes of the British towards them - excluding them from participating fully. Briefly there had been mention of referring to them as Asian-Brits (as they would in the US use the term African-American to combine two nationalites or racial identities) but I haven’t heard more about it. I gather they found meaning in their religion.

Recently a young black man, Anthony Walker, was murdered - an axe landed in his head, in England. It was stated repeatedly by his family and the police that he was killed because of the colour of his skin, in which case I would suggest that anyone wearing black had better be extremely careful in that neighbourhood, since there are possibly quite a few people around who don’t like the colour black, or dark brown, and as we can see, reactions can be fierce.

There seems to be little effort to get to root causes, and while there may be little connection between suicide bombers and that individual killing, in each case, as far as I can see, no investigations were made into the real reasons these situations came about. In the first, re the suicide bombers, the police have announced that no investigation will be carried out into how it all happened. In the second, the fact that this young black man ‘had it all,’ from the appearance of things, including a white girlfriend, weren’t seen as relevant. It was just the colour of his skin that counted. So as long as things continue in this manner, with no investigations into the root causes, nothing will change.

Someone has asked, Why aren’t they being listened to before such things happen? Well, the same thing happened with Marc Lepine, who has been called by at least one person as Canada’s first Muslim terrorist. But it was a class issue too, and Lepine had his ambitions thwarted probably because he didn’t have the right support (proper family background, for one thing). There was nowhere for him to turn. If he had been middle class he probably would have had more support. Also, he was trained in the sciences and wouldn’t have had an understanding of the social forces that acted against him. He held Muslim ideals, but women of the day (1989) were just seeking out their own power (to decide over abortion for instance), so it was probably difficult for him to meet the traditional girl of his dreams. Lepine didn’t matter because there are likely quite a few like him, seeking to go farther in life, career-wise. That he was so frustrated that he decided to shoot women in the engineering school in Montreal is exceptional, but if he really were that capable, and he knew it, and he wanted to get his point across, how could he have done it. The police there prematurely ended their investigation too.

People and governments wonder how to stop terrorism and seemingly senseless murders. Preventing investigations from taking place is hardly the way to go about it. That should be a first step. Making that knowledge available to ordinary people is a second step. Encouraging them to use more up-to-date ways of interpreting such knowledge, so they are better able to comprehend the world around them, would be a third. Instead of relying on the government to stop terrorism and horrendous acts of violence, the people could do more on their part, not by using force but by beginning with the fundamental issues, which seem not to be understood.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Terrorism and Murder in Canada and Britain: why no public investigations? I very much fear that it is not in the interests of either Bush or Blair to "stop" terrorism. A terrified nation is far easier to control and impose measures like ID cards on.John de Menenzies was mowed down in cold blood and as i write this another man is in hospital with a police bullet in him, as yet nothing has been found in his home.