Two weeks ago, two of my fans, a young teacher based in Kyengera-Wakiso district first thanked me and implored me to write about the on-going bombings in Kampala and the suburbs and a Ugandan female Ms. Betty Wekou living in North America, member of NAMCA (North American Masaba Cultural Association) asked for whom do I write and added if she could publish my pieces in that region. It was very satisfying.
In his farewell address 1796, President George Washington warned against doing what the United States has done and continue to do in the Middle East. He admonished the young Republicans to be neutral and “to observe good faith and justice towards all Nations”, cultivating peace and harmony with each other. He said the US should avoid permanent inveterate antipathies towards some Nations and a passionate attachment to others, “such attachments” he went on “engender a variety of evils and lead to the illusion of an imaginary common interests in cases where no real common interests exist, and by the latter, without adequate inducement or justification.” If any lessons are to be learnt from history, it is worth remembering Washington’s statement including us in Uganda.
Terrorism has got problems of definitions. There is no agreed definition because the term terrorism has become pejorative. It is the actual or threatened use of violence for religious, political, social or any other goal, directed not only, against victims themselves but also against the larger related group(s) of a scope often transcending National boundaries. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of the US defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or properties to intimidate or coerce government(s), the civilian population or any other segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Derived from the Greek word meaning “to tremble” terrorism is virtually as old as humanity. It has been recurrent throughout history. The secret societies found in some tribal cultures maintained their status through TERROR.
Terrorism is by no means unique to Muslims or Arabs. In the 12th century AD, an Ismaili sect of Shiite Muslims conducted terrorist campaigns against Sunni Muslims. In Northern Ireland, Protestants and Catholics groups terrorised each other after the Reformation. In the 18th and 19th centuries, systematic terrorism received impetus in the wake of the French Revolution. In the USA, the Ku Klax Khan was set up after the defeat of the confederacy in the American Civil War to terrorised Slaves and representatives of the Reconstruction Administration by the Federal Government. The Russian Revolutionary movement before World War 1 had a strong terrorist element. In the 20th Century, groups such as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) often carried out their terrorist activities beyond the boundaries of individual countries with the occasional support by Bulgaria and Italy under the Fascist Benito Mussolini. This kind of state-sponsored terrorism led to the assassination of Francis Ferdinand of Sarajevo in 1914 precipitating World War 1.
When the British rule was coming to an end in Palestine, both the Arabs and the Jews practiced terrorism not only against one another but also against the British. The Jewish terrorists killed 338 Britons in Palestine during the 1940s. They blew up King David Hotel, the British headquarters in Jerusalem in 1946 killing 91 people and perfected the lethal Letter bomb. This later became a favorite weapon for Arab terrorists. In early 1960s, the unresolved Middle East conflict between the Arab nations and Israel led to several wars in the region with the Black September and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist arm/group conducting commando terrorist operations both in Israel and in other Countries. In 1983 Lockerbie incident in which Pan American flight 103 was blown up in the air killing 259 people which led to what became repetitive showdowns in modern history. North Korean bombing in Rangoon in the same year resulted into the death of 4 Cabinet Ministers and 13 other Koreans. This was followed by the bombing of the South Korean passenger airline jet in 1987 by North Korean operatives. The simultaneous Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam bombings on 1st August, 1998 characterised typical terrorist attacks followed by the 11th September, 2001 Twin Towers’ bombing in New York City, USA and the 28th November, 2003 New Paradise Hotel bombing in Mombasa, Kenya. According to Mahatma Gandhi, the root of violence is “wealth without work, politics without principles, pleasure without conscious, commerce without morality, knowledge without character, science without humanity and worship without sacrifice” and Buddha said “Teach these triple truth to all: A Generous Heart, Kind Speech and a Life of Service and Compassion are the things which renew humanity.” Is the modern world Uganda inclusive ready to embrace these virtues for our common good and prosperity. The threat of corruption is actually another act of terrorism that is never viewed as such yet it is poised to decimate the populations of the African continent.
Let all countries make it clear that all acts of terrorism are indeed illegitimate and let this include Slavery, Piracy, Genocide, the high death toll resulting from road daily accidents which occur as a result of poor state of road surfaces yet the cost of a kilometer is very high, those who procure sub-standard or expired drugs or in worst case scenarios fail to procure expected government stores at all through diversion of the budgeted finances and unethical engineers who allow buildings to collapse and vehicle breakdown that murder innocent persons. These are neither Muslims nor Arabs but are all terrorists.
There is a little bird called Kanyamunyu in Nkore (no pun intended to Mathew Kanyamunyu please), Nnamunyu among the Baganda or Magpie by the English. Where as I like the black and white bird, I can’t say the same on it’s persistent intimidation to her chicks as it instils fear to draw blood.
Nabende S.P Wamoto (0776658433/0752658433)