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Wake up Pakistan ! Presently the Muslim societies are in a state of ideological confusion and flux. Materialism, terrorism,...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Terror is bound to be defeated: A Historic Reality

In Pakistan, we confront the  terrorism. Knowing that their goals cannot be achieved through popular support, they resort to violence as a means to weaken the government and its agencies. The result is that innocent lives are lost in near-daily incidents of bomb explosions and attacks.

Acts of violence can create anarchy and disorder in the society but they cannot change the regime.

Historical studies show that terrorist groups have power and energy only for a limited period of time until their resources are exhausted and they have no option but to abandon violence and turn to negotiations. This happened in case of the IRA and Basque separatist movements.

In Pakistan, the terrorists must face the defeat. Sooner or later they must negotiate for a settlement. The question is when that moment will come, and at what cost. Let's look at the history in brief:

There are many examples in history where dictatorial and revolutionary governments have used terror to eliminate opponents and to establish an unchallenged rule of an individual or a group of radicals. In the case of resistance movements, nationalist terror becomes a tool to expel occupying foreign powers and to liberate the country.

There is a third category of terrorism, where disgruntled and dissatisfied groups, having lost all hopes of changing the system through legal and constitutional means, attempt to destroy the administrative set up and make governance impossible. The state and its institutions become sabotaged and the result is disorder and chaos.

In 1793, the French revolution turned into a reign of terror when its moderate period came to an end. France was governed by the Committee of Public Safety, and Danton and Robespierre were influential members.

The radical group known as the Jacobins assumed power in order to root out all old traditions and institutions. Since they wanted to transform the society on the basis of revolutionary ideals, and had zero tolerance for opposition or hindrance in the execution of their plan, thousands of people were condemned and sent to the guillotine. For the first time in history, terror became an official government policy, with an aim to use violence in order to achieve a higher political goal.

The terror was legal, having been voted for by the Convention. Nearly 40,000 people were executed including the Jacobin leaders who were at forefront of the revolution. It is said that the revolution devours its own children, hence Danton and Robespierre, the radical leaders were condemned and guillotined. Though the reign of terror ended, it weakened the Jacobins and radical elements.

Soon began a counter revolution. Tired and exhausted from the reign of terror, the wheel now spun in a different direction. Young people from wealthy backgrounds, known as the gilded youth, led a movement and began to destroy all symbols and traces of the revolution. They attacked the Jacobin clubs, disrupted their meetings, and terrorised the former leaders of the revolution.

They destroyed the memorial of Jean Paul Marat, one of the most outspoken leaders of the French Revolution who was killed by Charlotte Corday, the daughter of an impoverished aristocrat and an ally of the Girondists. They stormed hotels, coffee houses and restaurants where the radical groups often met.

The Jacobins, who executed their own members, were now a weak party and as a result there was no strong group to left to counter the gilded youth.

We find a similar case in Russia where Stalin’s secret police or the KGB inflicted large-scale purges, terror and forced depopulation on the people of the Soviet Union. Consequently, the foundation of the Russian revolution became weak. The absolute rule of Stalin silenced the intellectuals and creative people in order to provide new ideology to the revolutionary government.

In Nazi Germany, Hitler became so powerful that nobody dared to challenge his authority. The Gestapo arrested and executed all those who opposed the Nazi regime. The result of this terror was that intellectuals, scientists and professionals left Germany to take refuge in other European countries and the USA. The German universities became barren as the intellectual element in the society suffered. Both Russia and Germany confronted state terrorism and ultimately, the whole system collapsed.

In some instances nationalist resistance movements used terror against occupying forces in their country; like the Carbonari in Italy launched a movement against France and Austria.

In Russia, Ireland, Spain and Sri Lanka, extremist groups launched campaigns against their own governments.

In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers who were well-organised and resourceful eventually lost their energy to fight and were defeated by the government forces. In the subcontinent, a terrorist movement began to oust the British colonial powers but was crushed by the government agencies.
By Mubarik Ali:  http://www.dawn.com/news/1046246/past-present-tales-of-terror