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Opinion - Terrorism
Columns - Offhand
World and 9/11

There will be no time when memories of 9/11 will cease to be an indelible part of the history of humankind. The sheer scale of the destruction and the ingenuity with which it was wrought have no parallel. So also the heroism of the passengers who hijacked the plane from the hijackers and deliberately chose a fiery end for themselves rather than let it strike whatever target — the Capitol, the White House — the jehadis had in mind. 9/11 will forever be part of the lives of those who watched on that fateful morning the collapse in a couple of minutes of two mammoth towers and the smouldering heap to which a part of Pentagon, representing the might of militarily the most powerful nation, had been reduced.

We often berate the US for what appears to us as its obsession with Islamic terror and the grim reprisals with which it is countering it by throwing overboard the time-honoured safeguards of Bill of rights and its own reputation as a nation committed to the rule of law. We must at the same time remember that no nation has so readily taken upon itself the mission of sweeping the world clean of all vestiges of terrorism, whatever be the cost in terms of lives and resources. If the outgrowths of jehadis and their capabilities of inflicting further horrors are under control, it is because they, and their supporters among some misguided nations, are aware that the US will give them no quarter, and deal with them ruthlessly wherever found.

To that extent, the world has been made safer, but vengeful retribution alone cannot be a substitute for a more durable policy aimed at a new world order of goodwill and harmony. Whatever the visceral reaction of hostility roused by jehadis, it is simply impractical to think of uprooting the ugly phenomenon by the use of force alone. World's religions are going to be eternally with us and nations will have to live with them based on principles of humanity and mutual respect. Therein lies the hope for the future.

B. S. RAGHAVAN

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