Columns 29.3.2016 10:08 am

Brussels shows the problems of the West

Sibusiso Mkhwanazi

Sibusiso Mkhwanazi

In an advanced society such as Europe, you can find yourself being bombed at any time

BREAKING NEWS. Those two words next to each other are almost always in capital letters, and they are almost always followed by devastating revelations, such as the loss of life. We experienced this last week when Brussels airport was bombed, and during the Lahore Easter terror attacks.

During a work event, I happened to be in Germany when the Brussels airport was bombed, and, Belgium being neighbours with the Germans, it was unnerving.

Someone even asked which was worse: living in an advanced society such as Europe, where you can find yourself being bombed at any time; or being part of the African landscape, where we know exactly what our problems are.

Just like no one knows which came first between the chicken and the egg, no one knows for certain when the West and East started being at loggerheads, and when innocent civilians became part of the war. The most unfortunate part of all of this is that both sides are wrong and are not willing to admit it. The problem with that approach is that it will never end.

As I write this, Belgian police are going about with retaliatory raids, in the name of justice. They are looking for those who committed the atrocities in their city, and they will find them. The question then becomes: what do they do to the men they find, and how do they do it?

How do you reckon information is “extracted” from these individuals? I can tell you now that they definitely do not tickle the answers out of them.

On the other side of the scale, this fuels a fire that has been raging for a very long time. These are people who believe so strongly that they are willing to kill not only themselves, but those around them as well.

Just when we thought it was as bad as it gets, periphery and less visible wars are also raging. Muslims are being stigmatised, just for being Muslims. They are not the ones who bombed civilians in Brussels, nor did they attack the citizens of Pakistan. But yet, on buses, planes, taxis and everywhere, they are looked at like criminals.

At the same time, the West is seen as a collective monster that is bullying “lesser” nations. This is all while some of the loudest anti-terror protagonists are from the West. It is one big mess.

The problem with a mess is that it plays right into the hands of those who want people to turn on each other. Let us not allow them to. Whether they are from the East or West or any other cardinal point.

 

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