Last week, the world watched in shock and horror as it was told the story of a lone gunman massacring over 90 people in Oslo, the Norwegian capital. It was the first taste of terror for the usually peaceful Scandinavian nation.
The attack was a dastardly one and needs to be condemned vehemently. Nevertheless, we in Sri Lanka could perhaps be pardoned if we felt a sense of déjà vu in all this: a sudden terrorist attack, bomb explosions in the city and scores of innocent people, alive one instant, dead in the next.
We have been through this scenario a countless number of times in the past 30 years. It subsided only with the comprehensive defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the end of the war in May 2009.
The story behind the Oslo massacre is intriguing. The main suspect confessed to a right wing ideology and claims he feared Europe –and in particular, his government –was not doing enough to curb the influence of Islam in the region.
It was initially believed he acted alone, but there is now a suggestion that others may have shared his views and that the attack may not be an entirely unilateral act. Regardless of the real reason, it should make the West – the United States and Europe – review its stance vis-à-vis terrorism.
The Oslo attack evoked a wave of universal condemnation of terrorism. There was the spectacle of the ‘usual suspects,’ the Western bloc of nations, repeating their commitment to defeat terrorism. However, the actions of these countries raise questions as to whether they were sincere in their words.
In the days of the Cold War between the United States and Russia, the global balance of power was radically different and whatever the West did was countered by the Eastern bloc. However, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States has taken on the mantle of the single super power.
As a result, in recent years the United States and its western allies have taken upon themselves the role of being the global policemen. They define what terrorism is and then proclaim that they are entitled to do whatever that is needed to eradicate terrorism.
It does not matter to them that at times, under the guise of ‘liberating’ countries from so-called ‘terrorism’, they themselves engage in countless acts of terror which are dismissed as mere collateral damage. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are cases in point.
However, when other nations such as Sri Lanka wage their own war against terror, these high priests of human rights are offended. Then they label these countries as ‘failed’ states and resort to intimidation to try and browbeat them into submission.
An example of this was evident – also last week – when the United States slapped an aid ban on Sri Lanka. This was because, the US said, Sri Lanka failed to show sufficient accountability in responding to the allegations of war crimes towards the end of the Eelam war.
Perhaps not by co-incidence, this came shortly after a visit by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to neighbouring Tamil Nadu where she met newly elected Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram who in fact called upon the Indian central government to impose economic sanctions on Colombo.
These events indicate that there is a powerful bloc of countries and organisations whose intention is to arraign Sri Lanka. What this group does not realise is that they are egged on by none other than the LTTE by proxy, the so-called Tamil Diaspora, or the LTTE rump.
The Oslo incident should serve as a warning to them that there is little rhyme or reason in the doctrine of terrorism. Therefore, those who encourage sympathisers of terrorism, even in the guise of promoting human rights, do so at their own peril.
Norway in fact was one nation that was found culpable on that score in their dealings with regard to the Sri Lankan conflict. Indeed, before last week’s events, most Sri Lankans regarded Norway merely as the country which brokered the ill-fated Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) with the Tigers.
Initially at least, the intentions of that nation may have been genuine but as the LTTE exploited all the possible loopholes, it became increasingly clear that Norway was partisan in this exercise. We hate to say ‘we told you so’ but now, Norway has got a taste of what it means to be crippled by terrorism.
Given their devious agendas for regime change throughout the globe, it is unlikely that last week’s events would cause western nations to change course. Nevertheless, it is an eye opener as to how cruel terrorism can be and also as to why it should be eliminated at all cost.
As Sri Lankans, we must ensure that we take steps to ensure that terrorism does not thrive on our soil again and we must do so despite all the hectoring from those in the international community who are so blind that they do not see that they are nurturing little monsters of terror in their own backyards.