EDITORIAL – One fool makes too many
TWO EXTREME EVENTS occurred recently for obviously different reasons. First, the tragedy in Norway shows that there is really no distinction between terrorism and fanaticism, whether in politics, race or religion.
The incident in which a seemingly ordinary man went on a shooting spree, killing more than 90 people at a youth summer camp of the ruling political party, is shocking in any language.
Norway is considered a quiet, peaceful, politically-neutral country.
Though the perpetrator may be considered a pathological lunatic by many, his calm and calculated demeanour during his arrest and arraignment in court on Monday disabused any notion of lunacy during the worst mass murder in Norway’s peace time.
The fact that the random and reckless shooting came immediately after a bomb blast that devastated a prime government building, which houses the prime minister’s office, has come as a challenge for the authorities to dig deep into the undercurrents behind these attacks.
The drama on the scenic island, though an isolated incident, has to be evaluated on a broader canvas. The Oslo incident very much seems to have the hallmarks of a terrorist network.
There are many lessons for us in Barbados and the wider Caribbean.
We have to watch for the copycat mentality as we are seeing beheadings now in Jamaica.
Many people might suggest that politics and state of mind have much more to do with such incidents of mayhem and barbarism than religious or other belief.
All said and done, the fact that Norway had to face such a grim tragedy, notwithstanding its generous welfare state, is indeed a horrible proposition.
The other event is the news that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his first television interview to an Arab news channel, has done a classic volte-face. He sent out a strong message that he is laying wide open the door for negotiations (with the Palestinian Authority) on “everything”, “everywhere . . . even in Ramallah”.
Though on the surface this would be considered good news indeed for peace in the Middle East, many analysts in the region are questioning the timing after all the efforts over the past 30 years that have come to nought.
An obvious interpretation is the checkmating of the Palestinians statehood initiative at the United Nations this September. By reopening the possibility of negotiations, Netanyahu is hoping to derail the move by the Palestinian Authority to declare statehood to the General Assembly.
Though symbolic, the move will put enormous pressure on Israel to give in to the overwhelming international position on the issue. Of course, the United States will veto any such move in the Security Council.