While some homegrown terrorists like the Unabomber or Timothy McVeight targeted government officers or employees, they went through convoluted verbal gymnastics to make their target fit the profile of a valid war target. The Federal Building in Oklahoma City was seen by McVeight as representing the Government he wished to overthrow. What has been happening lately is that terrorist do not feel the need to justify their selection of targets. Dolphinarium Discoteque in Tel-Aviv; 31 teenagers killed while dancing...”So what? In a few years they would have become Israeli soldiers” was one of the responses I heard at that time. September 11, 2001 didn't even merit an attempt of justification because the perpetrators believed that their selection of the target was self-explanatory...Today, terrorists strike anywhere they feel like and don't feel they need to explain themselves. Achieving your goals by bullying, attacking and killing is apparently now “politically acceptable” in many circles. Machiavelli would be proud!
Three thousand people were running a marathon in Boston marking Patriot Day; three died and over 170 were wounded. A day which should have been one of celebration, became one of terror and mourning. The goal of the Chechen terrorists? Still unclear. It has been reported, however, that Al Qaeda has been recruiting and training Chechen operatives – so chances are there might be some connection.
I recently found by accident a website of a group claiming to be “Muslims for Islam”. Their vision? - to reclaim Islam and revive the beautiful practices that existed before their religion was hijacked by extremists...in the end of the XVIII Century! They denounce terrorism perpetrated in the name of Islam and openly call it “unislamic”. Why is it that those voices are never heard as part of the mainstream Muslim reactions to terrorist attacks perpetrated “in the name of the Qur'an”? Why do Muslims who feel the same way as those who write on the website feel the need to remain anonymous and keep a low profile? The answer is simple: they value their lives! They prefer to spend their time with one wife in this world than with 100 virgins in the world to come. They prefer to talk to others rather than blowing them up. They prefer to find compromise rather than impose their views on others. And that makes them dangerous...to the ruling elites of the Arab World and their allies. Whether we are talking of the secular dictators overthrown by the “Arab Spring” or the leaders who emerged from that revolutionary movement, the governing elites of the Arab world still define power as the ability to impose their point of view on others. They define democracy as winning the election and use their power to suppress dissidents. The idea of a rule by majority that also respects the rights of the minority is, apparently, beyond their comprehension. Elections are seen not as a way to define a common ground, but as a way of gaining the right to be the rooster in the hen house.
Two Chechens went to the Boston Marathon and left behind a trail of blood and tears. Three families are mourning their dead. Over 170 families are praying for the recovery of their loved ones or planning for a future where walking, or using your hands, is no longer something to be taken for granted. The goal of terrorism is not a political one, but a dark one: to take control, to impose the will, to force others to defer.
At the end of the XIX Century scientists were convinced that Humanity was on its way to an ever improved society. Through the XX Century we saw Colonial powers granting freedom to their colonies, women asserting their role in society, descendants of slaves gaining their Civil Rights and more. Are we going to allow these new warlords of the XXI Century to set the clock back?