I was looking for a certain C# related post when I came across the blog of a fellow developer. The last post at the time I visited talked about the attack against the twin towers (the 9-11 attack). I’m copying the post word-for-word so that my thoughts about it can make sense (f you’d rather read it in its original location, make the jump to the original post):
On September 11, 2001, fanatic Islamist extremists declared war on America.
They are still out there. They are determined to kill Americans. The rationale is not important when you are dealing with maniacs. There is only one choice: Eliminate them, so that they can never do it again.
ServicePeople: Your service to the United States is deeply appreciated. We owe you a deep debt of gratitude for your selfless dedication to protecting everything we believe in – freedom, liberty, and life. We won’t forget the sacrifices you and your families have made in defense of the American way.
First of all, let me say that I have already shared my point of view on the original and retaliation attacks in my first part of Life in Misanthropia: [1.the.Misanthrope:the.Paradox]
Having said that and while I was not certain that my point of view would be appreciated as a comment to the original blog post, I do feel that I have to react to the aforementioned instigation to terminate the fanatics.
First off, let me share my condolences with all who have lost their loved ones. Even if it’s been years since the attack, these people will never cease suffering.
Having said that and, although I do understand that pain ignites vengeance, I need to point out the obvious. Well, on one hand, you can never eradicate fanatics. The belief in an idea (be it right or wrong) cannot (or, will not) cease to exist by terminating the believers. An idea, a belief, will always be there and like a virus, it will always, certainly expand and develop into an ideal, conquer more minds, supported by events that might force individuals to extremes and at some point, materialise in the form of an attack or whatever else the fanatic sees fit.
Granted, you can minimise those affected by the belief but still, in time, the believers will once again be too many and if the belief is strong enough, more fanatics will be bred.
On the other hand, vengeance will only mean more violence and since there will always be survivors of an attempt to eliminate those fanatics, the only outcome from such an attempt will be the multiplication and exaggeration of both the number of believers and the strength of the ideal itself.
I could actually even argue that such an attempt would not only fail to provide the results you’re looking for (actually, the results almost everyone is looking for) but in the contrary, provide more global sympathy for the victims of the attack that is being proposed in the original post.
However awful and sick-minded this might sound, the 9-11 attack resulted in the US gaining massive support in the global community. This support has never been towards the retaliation attack. It has been, and still is, sincere sympathy that in a global community that breeds a tremendous population of anti-Americans, should be appreciated as world-changing.
To sum it up, the only way to reach -one day- a global community where one will not actively seek to hurt the other, is probably by shifting priorities.
You will have to agree that all those anti-Americans cannot only be falsely guided by their jealousy for the splendour of the US. There have probably been times when that country has stricken pain and fear into the hearts of populations that did not deserve it. Can you truly find a valid, sensible excuse for the horrors that still linger since the drop of the Little Boy?
I’m not making excuses for the initial attack. I’m just saying that if everyone took a moment to evaluate ourselves -truly!- and if education was shared among western and eastern civilisations alike and lastly, if poverty was eliminated by those who simply can’t keep up with the advancements of the western world, maybe, just maybe, then and only then, will a peaceful community bloom. In any other case, and under any other prism, there will always be someone wanting to hurt someone and in most cases, unfortunately, there will always be ways to do just that.
The same individual who wrote the quoted post that I’m answering to, also has a blog post about how developers and gurus need to stop criticising others and start acting more like mentors. That side of the blogger alone, highlights that he is not a single-minded person unable to appreciate the importance and strength of guidance. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, he fails to realise that the very same attitude should guide any resolution of the problem we’re discussing here.
Taking one of those people who are still young and do not probably know why they hate the US (they just do since they’re growing up in an environment where everyone hates the US) and educating him/her and showing him/her how life can be without hatred, that’s the only way you can sensibly expect to work for a world without fanatics. Obviously, no-one can take all the children of the world and educate them in what they believe is right. Let alone the fact that what we believe is right might actually be utterly wrong, it is also practically impossible to achieve such a project. However, I am not ready to believe that a country that can singlehandedly eliminate entire populations, with the sole biased and unfounded excuse of the “probable possession of weapons of mass destruction”, can not find a way to spread education and better living conditions for those under the lower limits of poverty.
Truth be told, if we really want to terminate this plague, we should first make sure we’re not fanatics ourselves. The original blogger says, and I quote: “the rationale is not important when you are dealing with maniacs. There is only one choice: Eliminate them, so that they can never do it again”.
Can he really not clearly see that this is the very basis of an unclear mind guided by pain/hate/etc..
Is it in any way possible that he is willing to excuse the removal of rationale (I don’t even see why we’re having this discussion if that holds true) when the issue he, himself, brought up is actually the existence of people who act based on motives other than rational.
There has also been a couple of inaccuracies in the original post.
First, The fanatics never declared war on America. What actually happened is some terrorists wanted to flame their egos and that’s just what they did. America declared war on them afterwards. Coming to think about it, the terrorists were individuals spreading terror. A country that declares war on an entire population only because individuals within that population hurt its image (cause honestly, I don’t believe that the war was declared to make the families of the victims feel better… there’s no logic in that) is simply impossible to excuse. Having the power to eradicate an entire country does neither give your the right to do it nor does it excuse you for having already done it. It was a matter of prestige and obviously that part has been rectified. Unfortunately, all the other plagues that it brought about are still here.
Second, when giving out thanks and gratitude to the people serving in defence of the American way, it would be wise to keep in mind that attacking a foreign country cannot be equalised with defending one’s own. It’s two entirely different concepts. I cannot defend myself by killing you and your family. If I’m afraid that you might hurt me, I should either find a way to resolve that fear or learn to live with that fear. Killing you would just be murder. Nothing more, certainly nothing less. If I went on and killed you, I should (and obviously would) be tried and sentenced. The US tried and sentenced an entire population, executed it against the voices of millions and the country’s image has been restored.
I most honestly do not believe that those within the twin towers, (God rest their souls, if there’s such a thing as God -although, if there really is a God he/she should know that he/she is the reason for all this bloodshed) would like to know that their deaths has been the excuse to kill so many more. I even don’t think that the killing of so many made anyone feel any better. Well, apart from the fanatic nationalist zealots of course. They certainly have something to brag about.
If we are really looking to terminate all the violence in the world, we should plot the death of every living organism on the planet -ourselves included. If we’re looking to terminate all the violence among the living beings that possess the ability to think, we should find a way to kill every single human being -ourselves included. In my Life in Misanthropia that is the only sustainable solution that I propose.
However, if we’re looking to create a harmonic platform based on which we will be able to enjoy life as part of a greater community, we should seriously start pondering of ways to promote education and better living conditions for those who either envy us, or hate us for what we have been in the past.
Filling our heads with patriotic ideals does not erase the mistakes that plague our history. First we need to remedy our past, then we should work on healing those we have hurt and last, in the very end, we should ask of people to be just as good as we will have been. For that good, we simply are not yet.