Europe under siege


Week after week, Europe seems to be encountering terrorist attacks.

I would not be surprised if European Union decides to close its borders against any immigration, and tightens the country borders vigorously in the coming months. May be it is time for Europe to adopt and implement some of the national security initiatives which have secured the U.S. borders more or less effectively against foreign threats.

France has suffered the most with three serious attacks in the past 18 months. Now comes Munich, considered to be generally safe. Germany has been the most lenient country in Europe when it comes to receiving and handling immigrants. Now it has to rethink. France has already assumed emergency powers of search and arrest.

One could not have imagined that European countries would come under terrorist attacks, as here was a collection of countries that became more welcoming of immigrants (unfortunately terrorists are hidden amongst the flow of immigrants) and have treated their foreign-born population more or less well. However, now it has become amply clear to the governments of the Netherlands, France, Germany, and other countries that their laissez faire approach to security, investigation, and law enforcement would no longer continue to work.

I am a supporter of ruthless law enforcement actions when faced with terrorism. I believe that India has become a good example of not willing to accept usual practices in law enforcement in various parts of the country, surely against the Maoist insurgents in the North East and Jammu & Kashmir militants in the North. It cannot be business as usual when the country is under constant attack and normal business activities have to be suspended and the normal life of law-abiding citizens is being threatened. One would need a lot of steely nerves when it comes to handling home-grown terrorism, and part of Europe’s problems is that it does not have a strategy to deal with that threat.

All citizens are unfortunately NOT equal, and it is critical for governments to monitor ALL citizens and all immigrants today, irrespective of race, religion, ethnic origin or gender. All tourists have to be monitored as well. This would necessitate complete control over airwaves, and full coverage of the country with eavesdropping and monitoring technologies. There is no choice, as the first priority of ANY government is to save the lives of its law-abiding citizens.

If such actions threaten human right activists, so be it. Human rights have to wait longer to attain their fulfillment when more serious and threatening priorities take over. I agree it would require a well-meaning government not to start trampling on human rights of ordinary citizens. The example being set by a democratic government in Turkey is not a good one, but let us remember that Turkey is acting against coup plotters and not terrorists. May be both categories are the same in the eyes of a government, but Turkey has all but ensured that it would not get admittance into the European Union. But that is exactly the point. The European Union needs to review its charter of Human Rights. Not all is well with Europe, and it is high time the EU starts paying attention and committing resources towards its home-grown terrorism threat. It would certainly mean that the EU has to take bold, tough and aggressive actions – may not all in line with its ideals and principles.

Terrorism is a present danger and will continue in all parts of the world if governments do not collaborate and take collective action against is insidious threat to civilization. Let us forget about attributing reasons for the growth in terrorism. There are no good or bad terrorists – ALL terrorists are just bad. No religion permits carnage against innocent civilians and children. No government should also authorize attacks against civilians.

People like us should send our suggestions to our governments or to the United Nations. There should be vigorous action and support for eliminating (may not be entirely possible however) or at least reducing the threat of terrorism, and that would also mean entirely removing access to weapons for the common man on the street. We should all accept more limits on our personal freedoms, to ensure the safety of ourselves and our fellow human beings.

Radical, but required necessity in today’s world. Europe needs to do its bit, to save Europeans, and preserve their values for the future.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

24th July 2016

 

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