Age of patriots or terrorists?

President Yoweri Museveni

President Yoweri Museveni

The pairs are two of a contrasting kind with dissimilar purposes, perceptions and plans and apart from being at each other’s extreme wits, both operate at the optimal level to achieve their ‘set-goals’!. For the world at large, particularly those who are at the benefiting/receiving end, while one energises, the other dissipates. At their outset, both feed on the emotional wave of their target audience and it is in the end that reality is distinctly different from wishful thinking.

For some, a patriot is that individual who has decidedly sacrificed all else for the sake of the greater number of his/her fellow citizens by aligning with the collective aspirations, consensual agreements and zealous mutuality…on peaceful coexistence, agreeable partnership or disagreeable harmony.

For others, a terrorist, as the nomenclature aptly suggests, is one who resorts to coercive—usually violent—means to get things done. As far as a terrorist is concerned, there is just one track to issues and, by implication, compulsion at any cost as against exploratory negotiations.

By human instincts, everyone is primarily egocentric, even at that variance, abounding environmental realities and societal necessities often dictate the twist or turn of typical dimensions of patriotism or terrorism. For instance, the zeal by which the average American, European or Israeli would fiercely defend his/her nation may be so different from that of an African’s lackadaisical or empty way of call to national service. Maybe this is so as each nation reaps what it sows into the life and well-being of its citizens and residents (especially during peaceful times or period of needs).

Imperative perhaps is the need to identify the what, why, when, where and how of terrorism and what exactly does it feed on? The truth is that every individual has that latent possibility/uncurbed tendency towards terrorism—in norm or action. Take the testing case of a baby/growing child who, on being denied prompt attention, naggingly screams thereby ‘terrorising’ its care giver! Pray, is such a child not a ‘terrorist at that point in time’?

In certain specific ways, terrorism manifests on the home front cum family setting when disharmony, incessant disputes and bodily abuse are the prevailing (dis)order. On total sum, save for the casualties and use of lethal weapons on the battlefields, the occurrences and recurring frequencies of terrorism outside what humanity has stymied as terrorism are over and above all else.

Coming to the political vis-à-vis international setting, it is in this arena of institutionalised intrigues, ceaseless ploys and induced warfare that the evil designs and compounded consequences of terrorism are more felt.

In the political parlance is the groundswell of violation of human rights, illegality, and official recklessness, impunity on the one hand and with the simultaneous effects of discriminatory injustice, tyrannical oppression, endless destruction of lives and material wastages on the other. On this disconnecting note, humanity is indeed stuck in the webs of violence of all sorts…at all times and in all places without exception.

By logical expansion, individuals who often regarded themselves as patriots cum freedom fighters might have been perceived as terrorists and instances like these were so common in the outgone 20th century in the typical tribe of Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and…Saddam Hussein, Muammer Qadaffi, Jonas Savimbi to mention a few ones. Even in this identifiable corps, times and seasons dictated who were indeed patriots or terrorists as this was convincingly confirmed in the deep recess of people’s fond memory of those who really withstood the test and rigour so resolutely.

Closely knit to the political frontier are the resultant assaults of religious bigotry and hell-propelling terror attacks and in their conform-or-be-killed rabidity, they virulently resorted to all measure of action to achieve their ill-purposed intentions. So erroneous are this avoidable species that spiritualizing everything human and otherwise is to them the end of all issues. So wrong and so misguided.

Next is the dangerous precipice that the entire world’s security system has been hurled. For instance, the September 11, 2001 devastating terror attack (s) on the United States(U.S.) has since shaken off humanity from an hitherto false-belief of invincibility and impregnable military system in any part of the universe. Taking a societal perspective, nothing good can be enduring in a place where terrorism strives…unchecked and thereby left to its own devious devices as well as holding all to ransom, rascality and deathly destructions.

Quintessentially, be it on the local, national or international reckoning, terrorism is a ravaging vice that mankind can do without. If anything, this evil of all ages bared its antics in an economic sense in some era gone bye when colonialism, imperialism and subjugation of weak nations by stronger ones were prevalent.

Till date, nations like those located in the so-called third or shall we say, developing world of Africa, Latin America and far-flung Asia are yet to recover from such plundering practices and attendant dislocations. Inversely, that could be said to be a period of terrorism by covert and other means!

From experiential hindsight, if there is any man-made creation (a coincidental product of the above-mentioned subjugating era) that has been so twisted and derailed from its initial purpose and all-time manifestations, it is this inevitable possession of man called money. Originally, its usages were to serve; as a medium of exchange, store of values and unit of account.

However, these have severely been abused by the ultra-powerful and criminally rich on a global scale. Take Osama bin Laden (a thoroughbred Saudi from a wealthy background) who was the arrowhead of the ‘9/11’ attacks on the U.S. in 2001 or several other sponsors of terrorism for one or another unjustifiable excuse. Before Osama finally met his destructive end in May 2011, virtually all advertised terrorist groups and militant gatherings paid obeisance to his al-Qaeda organisation in the course of their global networks.

Or, the sordid cases of drug and oil barons in international crime cartels and related syndicates in Latin America and Mideast respectively that are continually worsening. In the litany of so silly and illogical reasons is their misplaced disaffection with the existing order, personality feuds, cronyism or institutionalised interests and sheer egocentric issues. In fact, the dislocating effects of the transnational collaboration of undisguised kleptomania of the Mobutu Zese-Zekos, Samuel Does, and Sani Abachas on their nations-at-large are still adversely felt.

Also still in ‘institutionalised operations cum terrorism-by-other-means’ are the refuse-to-honourably-exit band of tenacious power tyrants like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (since 1980), Paul Biya of Cameroon (1982), Yoweri Museveni of Uganda (1986) and other ‘terrorising patriots’ who have quite seamlessly substituted their disposable interests with those of their nations’ destinies!

By a straight deduction, terrorism can only fly to its intended height or mileage of operation based on the wings of available money, while virtually all other things are secondary. No matter how fiery a militants’ doctrine is without the needed funding; its extensive execution may just be sloganeering at length.
Perhaps this was one main factor that propelled the late Margaret Thatcher during her premiership reign to daringly deoxygenate the Irish Army (fighting for Northern Ireland autonomy) by denying them not only the air of publicity in Britain, but similarly needed funds both within the British borders and outside, particularly in its sphere of influence.

Nonetheless, one exception to the then London-driven campaign was Qadaffi of Libya who fed the resistant group with a large generosity of fund. It was on sundry issues like this typical defiance of Qadaffi that made the capitalist hegemony of Ronald Reagan and his ideological soul mate, Thatcher, to demonise the Libyan leader as an international pariah of sort.

Concerning our modern era, economic terrorism is easily noticeable in the intrigues of economic and trading blocs, multilateral bodies and, of course, the powerful but few nations and highly heeled personages discreetly induce these. To wit, the domineering duo of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, also known as World Bank) are readily used as often as they deem fit.

Just like every other thing, the greed of human nature, underlain by selfish interests predominates and inherently hidden in the operational dynamics of these virtual bodies are covert favoritism. For instance, a nation that is on ‘good and friendly note’ with the Western World and the so-called Group of Seven is almost always sure of being certified for any sought-IMF/IBRD largesse!

Upon the cul-de-sac that terrorism has sentenced the entire humanity exist the vicious cycle of religious extremism, avoidable miseries of lack and deprivation, incremental decline in standards of living, unquantifiable mortality rates and … a general state of insecurity. It is as if man in totality has collapsed to that once-reputed state of nature where life was said to be so nasty, brutish, short, precarious and deathly-driven.

As earlier elucidated, every individual irrespective of age, creed, race, status or nationality is apparently susceptible to some degree of terrorism or an atomized drop of violence. What really differentiates the degree is how one is regulated by the virtues of say; altruism, fellow-feeling, character, integrity, consciousness and good neighborliness. On this clear note and era of anything-goes siege, is this age more of patriots and less of terrorists or otherwise? Quite audibly, like that songbird says; the answer blows in the wind!

Omolade (gokeomolade@hotmail.com)



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