Our response to the Brussels bombings requires patience and restraint by Simon Jenkins
The purpose of terrorism is not to destroy or kill. It is to pursue a political cause through the massive publicity that is attached to terrifying incidents. Today’s bombs in Brussels, apparently related to the attacks in Paris last year and the capture of Salah Abdeslam last Friday, are patently intended to do just that. Merely killing passers-by serves no warlike purpose in itself. The explosive force derives from our reaction to it, from the public attention awarded to it and from the response of the political community. Publicity and response are the terrorists’ “useful idiocies”.
What is not stupid is seeking to alleviate, or not aggravate, the rage that gives rise to acts of terror, and then to diminish the potency of the incident itself. The first requires a wiser foreign policy than most western nations have shown towards the Muslim world over the past decade. The second is even harder to achieve. It demands patience and restraint in publicising terrorist incidents and in responding to them.
More serious, the intention of the terrorist is clearly to shut down western society, to show liberal democracy to be a sham and to invoke the persecution of Muslims. Yet that is the invariable response of the security industry to these incidents. Convinced of its potency, it dare not admit there are some things against which it cannot protect us.
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"Il devient absolument urgent de mettre un terme à cette injustice. Il y a un manque de connaissances et de recherches. Il faut donc promouvoir le recueil de témoignages, mais aussi construire des mémoriaux, organiser des expositions..." - @BenjaminAbtan