The culture of violence and death is self-defeating

Sunday 31/07/2016

The news has been rather depressing with the scale of violence reaching frightening propor­tions. And then there is Turkey, a country that was on the brink of becoming a fully fledged democracy slowly sliding into the abyss of dictatorship.
One may ask what has Turkey’s worrisome slide from democratic to autocratic rule have to do with the rise of Islamist terrorism? For the moment perhaps nothing but given time and a continued uncertain situation on the ground things can change and they often do. Short of a military coup the situation might only worsen. Oh yes, a coup was tried but failed.
The depressing fact is not so much the number of people killed in possible terrorism-related attacks. It is rather the selection of those killed and the manner in which they were killed. The underlying message that radical Islamists want to send to the West is that nowhere is safe.
The horrifying feats to which jihadist terrorists can lay claim include the killing of a Catholic priest in France and what stands out as the most barbaric action undertaken by the Islamic State (ISIS) is the report from the so-called caliphate of the burning alive of a 2-year-old child along with her parents for attempting to leave a town under its control.
How in the world can one justify such actions?
The sad thing about this violence is that it is gratuitous and serves no real purpose other than to reinforce the determination of the civilised world that such a culture of death and destruction can have no place among the community of nations. It is not the killings of the innocent that will bring about the demise of Western countries and Western civilisation or culture.
In ISIS’s case, the use of violence will only help bring about its demise.
Having been noted in the past for its aberrations that caused human suffering, the self-declared Islamic State has taken the notch up another point or two. There has been the usual or perhaps we should say more than the usual spate of killings.
ISIS has grabbed headlines by investing heavily in propaganda. Its leadership wants to make sure that executions are taped, recorded and filmed.
In Turkey it is another sort of terror that is instilling fear in the hearts of many Turks. Thousands of people are being arrested in Turkey with the excuse by the government of reacting to the failed military coup.
After arresting thousands of military personnel, thousands more from the education field, scores of judges and basically anybody the country’s president wants to remove from the political arena, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now targeting journalists. More than 40 journalists were detained by Turkish police in the wave of arrests following the coup.
Then there is the talk about bringing back the death penalty, something to which the Europeans were quick to react, telling Turkey that such actions would settle the question of it joining the European Union once and for all: it would never be allowed to join the European Union if the death penalty was reinstated. Indeed, reinstating the death penalty would be sentencing to death Turkey’s hope of one day joining Europe.