Illustration: Venla Valve
Columnist (Our World)
He was the brain behind hijacking and coordinating four suicide attacks on one of the most powerful nations of the world. He defied the strong security system, manipulated young minds to carry out his operation and was accountable for the lives of thousands. It took the U.S a decade before they could track him and destroy his power.
The other one had his mind twisted to believe that he can serve his country only by killing innocent citizens of the enemy country. Trained to ‘kill to the last breath’, he was handed a gun and was armed with ammunition and sent on a mission to slaughter innocent lives. At the tender age of 21, he was promised that if he carried out the mission successfully, his family would be rewarded with money that would help them sustain amidst poverty. He was executed recently.
While the first story is that of al-Qaeda’s leader Osama Bin Laden, the latter one is of Ajmal Qasab — the young boy who was captured for slaughtering the citizens of Mumbai, India on 26/11. These are just two recent cases of death sentences.
Celebrations broke out in different parts of the countries during both instances and in both circumstances. While majority of the citizens were a part of the merriment, there were a few who found this revelry upsetting. They were not against the termination of the lives of these men behind mass killing. They agree that capital punishment was required in both cases to serve as a warning, but the celebrations did not serve as anything. Their belief — an eye for an eye might just make the whole world blind.
A man is shot in his head during combat; the other one is hanged after an irked nation patiently waits for his execution, and miles away as the news of their deaths reaches the hopeful ears, everyone erupts in joy. Was justice served to some extent to the victims and their families? Yes. Did it call for a celebration? Maybe not. This barbaric reaction to the news was upsetting for many. We are not saying that it would be wrong to execute them. They had to be executed to provide some sort of closure to the ones who bore the direct impact of the operations carried out by these terrorists. But what’s disturbing is that people were celebrating the death of a human. Is it justified to rejoice in the death of someone, even if he is your nemesis? If you return hate with hate it will simply multiply the detestation running in the veins of our society. It will augment the darkness pertaining in the world. Drive away the darkness by providing light, not by blowing out more candles.
Sadly what we see today is that this hatred felt towards the faces of terrorism is increased by ten-fold when citizens are exposed to videos of the execution. We fail to understand why is it crucial for a country or for the media to show the last minutes of any person to the masses. This further anguishes the crowd.
Today when you execute someone for the crimes he or she has committed, you are in no way wiping off what they have done. You are merely happy with the death of the sinner, but do you realise that it doesn’t in any way mean that it is the end of the sin they have committed? Our society’s fight is not against one person; it was not only against Osama or Saddam or Kasab. Our fight is against the core problem of terrorism. We are not ignorant fools to believe that the end of one part is the end of terrorism as a whole. Hours after the execution of these threats, U.S received warnings; the capital of India was in high alert. Even amidst all this celebration, we were at threat.
It is important for us to realise as a society that just cutting off little weeds is not going to help. We need to go the root and eradicate the problems. Merely eliminating it from the surface will only give us temporary satisfaction. The same would resurface after a period of time. It’s like a vicious circle.
The happiness that you derive is momentary. Accept it or not, everyone who was out in streets was there because he or she felt that the nation had achieved vengeance. We got our revenge. But while you are meeting up and clinking glasses to mark the end of a terrorist, do you realise that the threat of violence committed by such individuals has not expired with the termination of one life? The person is dead but not terrorism. It hasn’t stopped others from bombing cities. Do you still not hear about the assassinations and attempt violence in different parts of the world?
Celebrate, but do it when we finally conquer evil. It is true that the world is with one less threat but we still haven’t dismissed it completely. We’ll truly celebrate only once we put a complete end to this chapter in our lives.